Gonna Be A Doctor
by Richard Zaner

When I decided to go to graduate school I soon found I had become an outsider in my family.

My mother often told me how odd that was, convinced I would lead a very lonely and useless life. When she told her father, my “Daddy Bill,” an old-time rancher in Arizona, that I was still in school even after I had gone to college, and then mentioned graduate school, he allowed as how I must have something wrong with me, for he had gone no further than the fourth grade, though he admitted he had been kicked out for shaving, or rolling his own smokes, I forget which.

Later, he told his cousin, Pink, also a rancher with a nice spread up on the Blue—the Blue Mountain range in western New Mexico just across the border from the Duncan, Arizona Daddy Bill knew so well, having poked cows his entire life there and earlier, still a young man, in northern Mexico where he learned a lasting vocabulary of cussing and cursing.

On hearing that I was about to get a “doctorate,” Pink remarked, “oh, gonna be doctor is he? He gonna set up practice in Duncan?”


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