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Doctor Hoofs It to His Patients

March 03, 1987|SHIRLEY MARLOW

--Dr. David Duncan has a real horse-and-buggy attitude about medicine. Duncan, 40, wanted to avoid the "doctor-in-a-box type places" when he moved to Jenks, Okla., seven years ago. So the family practice physician turned the oldest house on Main Street in the town of 7,800 into an office. Then he bought a horse and buggy. "It was really more of a symbolic gesture than anything else," Duncan said. When weather and patient load permit, Duncan hitches his horse, Tammy, to a surrey he bought from a bankrupt circus and goes on his rounds. "People down here were kind of excited about it," said Emma McLeod, 84, a resident of the Ambassador Manor Nursing Center South. "I used to go courting in a buggy and on horseback with my boyfriend." Duncan sponsors a free Christmas clinic each year and "he's in all the parades," Vice Mayor Dewey Anglin said. A brochure on Jenks has a drawing of a horse and buggy on the cover, and notes the town has a doctor who does things the old-fashioned way.

--Vermont's town reports for 1986 are out. In Athens, the big news is that dog licenses generated $198 for the town, while in Lunenberg, 1,156 books were checked out of the library. The reports are prepared by local authorities for town meetings, where residents grill their officials about town affairs. How else could the residents of Morgan know that Town Clerk Lucille Flynn paid $4.88 for a mop? Or that, according to Chief Jeffrey Berwick, the Peacham Fire Department plans to install a bathroom in the firehouse. The origin of the reports is an 1894 state law asking communities to provide an annual auditor's report. Each report lists the town's assets, payments and liabilities, down to the last dime. The reports have evolved into detailed paintings of the town's problems and accomplishments. For example, the Starksboro report boasts: "The town now owns free and clear the loader, as we made the last payment on this piece of equipment."

--Since his success with the country music group Alabama, singer Randy Owen can afford some luxuries. But two of his most prized possessions--his high school letter jacket and the dinner bell his grandmother rang to summon him for supper--have only sentimental value. The jacket is from the class of '69 but Owen's family couldn't afford to buy him one when he was in school. He finally got it three years ago, thanks to his wife, Kelly. And after Owen's grandmother died, the family could not afford to bid on the dinner bell when it was put up for auction. But Owen's mother eventually repurchased it and gave it to him for Christmas. "Things like that bring you back real fast to who you are and what you came from," Owen said.

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