Getting a job in the dietary division of Columbia Hospital was a step above for those of us who needed a part-time job in college. If one was successful in being hired there, it was a sure thing until graduation. Then the system was to pass the job on to a friend or classmate who would enjoy working there.
The schedule was perfect for a student, but made it difficult to participate in some activities.
Monthly Doctors’ Suppers were held. Four of us were chosen to stay over to serve. This was considered an honor.
We changed uniforms and served the doctors in residence. Here, the all-white males would ask of us what the best of the meal was and then many times asked if this was the job for our livelihood. The conversations were short and most times encouraging, especially when they found out we were college students. This was not the case with all doctors in residence, but certainly of Dr. Arthur Jenkins.
Norma and Hattie Furgess, Evelyn Grant and I were the chosen four to work the Doctors’ Suppers. We would wonder just how these men would fare in the world as things were changing. “Separate but equal” was being tested in all areas. As in all professions, everyone was not supportive of the change and would not work to make things happen.
One day, while in downtown Beaufort, I spotted this gentleman I had served at Doctors’ Suppers. There were new doctors in town, and I wanted to investigate just how and who was ready to integrate the waiting rooms, a sign of progress.
A new doctor’s office opened on Ribaut Road and many African-Americans began to scout out the waiting rooms as well as the doctors.
In my appointment with Dr. Jenkins, many questions were asked. I wanted to make sure he was the doctor who had done his residency at Columbia Hospital and as we conversed, he remembered me from the suppers. I was happy to unite with him and to share the story with the other three who had served along with me.
I returned to my regular doctor, Sol Neidich. I told him of the new physician in town and of the visit with him. He listened and asked if I was thinking of having my records transferred. “Not at this time” was my answer. The two of us discussed what should be considered if I wanted to change. Dr. Neidich assured me that I would always be a patient of his no matter what decision I made.
Slowly Dr. Jenkins became my doctor. When I was pregnant with our fourth child, he and Mama decided that the due date I had predicted was incorrect. One Saturday morning I went in for my check-up, he said “Well, today is May 1, and this is the due date you said.” To this I replied that he and my mama were wrong. “I usually play golf on Saturdays,” he said, “but today is all yours and I will wait for the call.”
At 6:27 p.m., he delivered our son, Chad.
Dr. Jenkins died Oct. 21 in Raleigh. The reflections given at his memorial services by his son Wade were so much in tune with the kind of man Dr. Jenkins was. He enjoyed living in the Lowcountry. He found what he wanted to do and he did it well. The Lowcountry Medical Center is named in his honor.
Columnist Ervena Faulkner is a Port Royal resident and a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition.
1 16-ounce can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 10-ounce package frozen corn, defrosted
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise into quarters, then sliced crosswise
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover. Cook over high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are hot and flavors are blended, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.
2 10-ounce packages frozen lima beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green peppers, cut into 1/4 -inch strips
1 tablespoon bacon bits
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons minced onion flakes
1 (16-ounces) can tomatoes, chopped, undrained
2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar
Cook beans according to package directions, drain. Place in a 1 1/2- quart casserole dish. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add green peppers and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add peppers to beans and toss until combined.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over beans and peppers. Cover and bake 35 minutes.
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and sliced
2 kiwi fruits, peeled and cubed
1 medium firm banana, sliced
1 cup seedless red grapes
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar
In a bowl, combine the oranges, kiwi, banana and grapes. Divide among 6 serving bowls. Combine yogurt and brown sugar. Dollop over the fruit. Serve immediately.