Notes from Dr. Sam

Notes From Dr. Sam

Good Day,

I hope this note finds you well.

Ms. Annette and I will celebrate our fortieth anniversary on November 22nd of 2023. 

We have known each other a lot longer than that. When I started medical school in Little Rock in 1969, she was in pharmacy school. We ran in similar circles but, for the life of us, neither can remember meeting the other in those days. When I moved to Benton in 1977, she was the pharmacist for Saline Memorial Hospital, and for six years we worked together in patient care and on hospital committees. 

In the early 1980’s, my life had gone through a series of significant changes, and she had gone to work for Merch, Sharp and Dome Drug Company. My office was part of her territory and she called on me regularly detailing new drugs. 

One morning as I walked out of an exam room, my nurse said, “The Merck Salesmen in your office.” That brought a smile to my face. I had always enjoyed Annette’s company; she was constantly engaged in travel adventures and was an avid canoeist, camper, and fisherman. 

I stuck my head in the door of the office and asked, “Would you like a cup of coffee?” She replied, “Thanks but no, not this morning.” I went to the lab, poured myself a cup of coffee and returned to the office. 

Soon, she was detailing me on Merck’s latest offering. When she finished her presentation, we began exchanging small talk. Spring canoeing season was fast approaching. (She was the only female I knew who had her own canoe.)

As the conversation was nearing an end, she said, “I am throwing a dinner party at my house two weeks from Friday. I have a good friend, Debbie Hayes, and I would like to invite you to the party as a blind date for Debbie.”

I responded, “To be honest, Annette, I would just as soon go out with you.” 

She smiled and asked, “Are you dating anyone?” I lied and said no. 

I asked, “Are you dating anyone?” She lied and said no.

We both smiled.

I continued, “There is a new movie called Ghandhi with Ben Kingsley I’ve been wanting to see. Would you like to go the movies?”

“Yeah, that would be nice.”

On our first date we admitted our initial indiscretions and agreed to keep dating others; that lasted about two weeks. 

I knew it was serious several weeks later, when I told her I was going to be gone for the weekend. It was early February, and we were going to float the Big Piney River, north of Russellville, to try out some cold-weather gear. Her response was, “Can I go?”

As many of you know, she loves to travel as much as I do, maybe more. We have been together for almost a half century, and I have never heard her back up from an adventure. 

Have a good journey,


Dr. Sam Taggart is a retired doctor/writer/marathon runner who practiced in Benton for 45 years. He recently released For Every Family, A Family Doctor: a history of the modern Family Medicine Movement in Arkansas. His other books include Country Doctors of Arkansas, The Public’s Health, With a Heavy Heart and We All Hear Voices.