Country Vet Writes of Humorous Experiences

By Dickson, Terry | The Florida Times Union, August 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

Country Vet Writes of Humorous Experiences


Dickson, Terry, The Florida Times Union


John E. McCormack always loved his work. He just hated what he

was called.

"The most common was vetinary," McCormack said. "Others I got

were veteran, venetian, vegetarian, and, this was the worst one,

venereal."

McCormack was actually a veterinarian, working on God's

creatures great and small.

In 1963, after a sort of apprenticeship in Foley, Ala.,

McCormack and his wife, Jan, moved their family to Choctaw

County, Ala., where he opened a practice as a country vet. He

recently retired as professor of veterinary medicine at the

University of Georgia.

Much of McCormack's first year in Foley, at least the funny

parts, are in his book, Fields and Pastures New printed by

Crown Publishers.

The book is filled with characters like Carney Sam Jenkins, the

local taxidermist, who practiced veterinary medicine on the

side, and Joe Bob "Sinkin" Turner, a 6-foot5, 275-pound man who

earned his nickname by fainting at the sight of blood or cow

placenta.

A lot of people didn't think McCormack knew a lot, especially

since his diagnoses went against those of Jenkins, the

professional taxidermist and semipro vet, whose favorite

diagnosis for sick cows was hollow tail. Jenkins treated hollow

tail by slitting the tail open just below the last vertebrae

with a linoleum knife, filling the cavity with salt and pepper

and tying a nice bow around it, McCormack recalled.

The book, which has sold more than 50,000 copies, has done

especially well in Choctaw County.

Clatis Tew, "the world's best pickup truck salesman" by

McCormack's measure, thinks the book was written solely to get

his name in print.

When McCormack returned to Choctaw County on a promotional

tour, he stopped in to see Tew. …

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