You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?
At 83 years of age, I wish my father in-law was alive so I could have talked to him about what I am about to explain. I think it is time to tell the tale of how I met my father in-law who has long since passed.
I was living in a small West Virginia town of less than one-hundred people, where I met my wife Martha Wilson, on an unusual faithful and exciting night after our local high school basketball game. I was a senior and she was a sophomore as we walked along the dirt path. The autumn evening sun lowering into the surrounding mountainside bringing to a close a wonderful evening as we walked towards her home.
Martha’s father was the only doctor within one-hundred and fifty miles of our little town, and he recently opened a new office listing “gynaecology” as part of his practice in a nearby town with less than 50 people. The people in and around the town of his new office have never had a doctor of any type. Heck, the people lived so deep in the woods, sunshine was farmed in by others living in the surrounding area.
Someone in the nearby town was able to define the word gynaecology, and the men of the town were not pleased upon the discovery of the words’ definition. A group of thirty or more men from the nearby town and surrounding country side arrived on the front lawn of the doctor’s home to confront him about the type of medicine he planned to practice on their women folk and young girls.
As we approached her home, we could see the thirty or more men, standing in front of her home holding lighted torches. It took all that I could to prevent Martha from rushing forward towards the crowd in her attempt to protect her father. I suggested that we enter their home from the rear, however once inside I was so nervous I had to use their new indoor bathroom, complete with toilet tissue. It was in the toilet where I came up with a great idea to help her father.
Martha was walking down the stairs from the second level of the home after checking on he mother who was with her two siblings brothers age five and seven. We overheard the sound of a horse-drawn carriage arriving in front of her home with the local constable and a couple of her fathers neighbors who were attempting to quiet and calm the crowd of men.
She wanted me to go out and stand beside her father to help him, now that was a nobel idea, but I am definitely afraid of the torches held in the hands of the crowd of men, so I told her, I have an idea.
I proposed that I wrap her totally in the white toilet paper from the bathroom, and walk her out to the front of the house where the men could see how their women folk would be presented in the doctor’s office.
Now, I must say, the surprised and perplex look on her face was eventually changed when I explained that the men outside, had never seen a bathroom, yet alone toilet paper. Suddenly a sinister smile broke across her face and I began wrapping her 4’10” frame in two rolls of heavy two ply toilet paper.
As I shuffled her through the front door and onto the front porch, the crowd of men quieted and began to bow their heads in reverence. As her father turn to see what the men were looking at, he slightly recognized his daughter, calling to her and began to ask what we were doing? He also noticed, the men were quieted in her presence.
My future father in-law walked towards me asking what was the meaning of this, and who was I?
I stepped closer so the angry men could not her me explain how I walked his daughter home after the high school basketball game, and I know most of the men standing on his front lawn, have never seen and indoor toilet or toilet paper.
As I explained my plan, I watched his angry and stern face, break with a slight grin, as he asked his daughter was she ok? When she said yes, her father said stay where you are and I will take if from here.
Quickly her turned to the crowd of men who were becoming a little restless. He yelled to the crowd pointing to his daughter and explained to the men, that the white paper covering is what their women would be dressed in during any examination.
He pointed to his daughter again asking her to say hello. When she spoke, the group of men, all of whom at this time, stood with their mouths open in complete astonishment, seem to see the white toilet papered teen as a vestal virgin of purity, and this delighted the men into believing that their women folk would be treated likewise.
As the doctor spoke assuring the men, their women folk will be held in high esteem during their visits and his daughter is proof of how delicate they would be treated, the tension in the crowd eased considerably.
The men felt comfortable with the doctors explanation, assured that their women would not be violated, and asked the doctor’s forgiveness for confronting him at his home. The men walked towards their horse-drawn carriages and returned to their homes.
Mr. Wilson promised us both never to speak of what happened that day, and I never understood the reason why until years after his death. Martha told me that it was unprofessional and unethical to lie to the men about how the gynecological examination would take place.
However, it was forty to fifty years before the last women stopped coming to his office dressed in toilet paper.