A number of years ago while I was still teaching in the classroom, I told a colleague of mine I was looking for a new family doctor and asked if she would recommend her physician.
“Oh, yes,” she said. “Dr. Bakula Sheth is my G.P. I’m sure you would like her. She takes time to listen to you. You may have to wait a while sitting in the reception room, but you know once you are in her office she is going to give you her full attention.”
“Bakula Sheth? Do you happen to know what kind of name that is?” I asked, as I am a wordsmith and always curious about new words or names I’ve never heard before.
“She’s originally from India,” my friend told me.
Not long after that I had my first office visit with Dr. Sheth and began a long satisfying doctor/patient relationship. A couple of years ago when she told me she was getting ready to give up her private practice to have more time for travel and her painting, I knew there was a farewell poem inside my head which would soon make its way onto paper.
If you are acquainted with the children’s song REUBEN, REUBEN, I’VE BEEN THINKING, that’s the melody for my little ditty. If not, that’s all right. Just enjoy the lyrics I’ve written without music!
DOCTOR, DOCTOR, I’VE BEEN THINKING . . .
Doctor, Doctor, I’ve been thinking
What a diff’rent world there’d be
If the ones we call physicians
Learned the language Bakalese (BAH kah LEEZ)!
Bakalese is filled with verbals:
List’ning, taking time to care
‘Bout afflictions of your patients,
None too great or small to share.
Those of us who filled your office
Learned the language of your heart,
Never needing a translation,
Understanding from the start.
Bakaland (BAH kah land) is where it started—
Mother tongue whose words we seized.
Now it’s time to praise its message;
Cheers to Doc and Bakalese!
From a singular Bakula (bah KOO lah)
To a plural fam‘ly tree,
That’s the future we envision:
Bakalese spread sea to sea!
Written especially for my Long-time Physician, Dr. Bakula Sheth
Upon Her Retirement from Private Practice
By Connie Carlisle Polley, 2019
A Parody of REUBEN, REUBEN, I’VE BEEN THINKING
By Harry Birch and William Gooch (in Public Domain)