Good Morning Doctor!
This little book was conceived neither as a medical history nor as a technical discussion of surgery. It is instead a story of people, of friends with whom I have shared joy and sorrow, in short, bits of the day-to-day drama which is the life of a country doctor. Many of the incidents are trivial, in one sense of the word, yet each has had in it something which appealed to me enough to make me remember it as a highlight in my forty-five years as a country doctor.
Friends who were entertained at my telling of these incidents often suggested in recent years that I write them down. But I never had the time to do it for I was much too busy with my practice. I worked hard. I took part in the activities of the state medical society, serving for a year as its president, at the same time continuing my professional business in Waverly. But after my term of office ended, when I expected to have a little more leisure, I found my days just as full. Working long hours, sometimes feverishly to keep pace with the demands which were made upon me, I seemed always to have more ahead than I could ever do.
Then one hot morning in the summer of 1936, after I had completed a trying operation, I collapsed.
There followed hideous months when nothing mattered.
Then, as a man sometime does, I found an interest quite by accident. That interest was the writing of this little book, just as my friends had asked. I mentioned, with some temerity, the idea to Mrs. Rohlf and she encouraged me. But even with her encouragement I doubt if I ever would have more than talk about it if it hadn't been for a country newspaper woman, Dorothy Moeller, who had insisted (like the others) that I write the book but who had added that if I ever did, she would help me.
So we started, I as autobiographer, she as my "ghost." She took down the incidents as I thought of them, edited them, rearranged them, to form this little volume.
That is how this book came to be.
In it I have not embellished the truth. I have set down incidents exactly as they occurred. And while I realize that I, in living them, have had a richer experience than I can ever hope to recreate either by writing or telling, I shall be satisfied if in these printed pages there be found entertainment and, perhaps, inspiration.
William A. Rohlf, MD
Photograph of William A. Rohlf, circa 1910, from the Rathe Family Archive