By Ralphine Major
It was on a Sunday morning at church when she became sick. It had been a difficult pregnancy. The young couple left church and headed up the highway to the doctor’s home.
The year was 1954, and Dr. A. D. Simmons was a young, country doctor. The Grainger County native had a medical clinic in Corryton, Tennessee. But this was Sunday, and the clinic was closed. The couple found the doctor home that Sunday morning. The mother-to-be was having problems keeping food down. As a last resort, Dr. Simmons wanted her to try saltine crackers and buttermilk. If that did not work, he would admit her to the hospital. The doctor’s simple remedy worked. Several months later, I was born.
I was fascinated to hear my mother recall the details of that day in a recent conversation. “I did not hear any children,” she said about that Sunday morning so many years ago. The doctor and his wife, Macel, were parents to four children, the youngest born the same year as me. Dr. Simmons became a household name, but our father called him “Doc.” He was a doctor to so many residents in the Corryton Community. Patients even drove down from Union, Grainger, and Claiborne Counties. Dr. Simmons became our “family doctor” as they were called back then. My grandparents went to him, and my parents went to him. He delivered both me and my brother at the former St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.
This is the first of several columns that will be shared in the coming weeks about Alvis David Simmons—beloved country doctor.