Monday, November 24, 2008

How tabloid inspired a country doctor

Dr. Crystal Bailey Gary and her husband Dr. Thomas Gary are family physicians who run the North Georgia Family Medicine center in Blairsville, Georgia. Dr. Crystal is one of those special people, dedicating her life to doing vitally important work and making other people's lives better.

And who'd think she was inspired by tabloid?

Dr. Crystal is the daughter of a legend: cameraman and mentor Lewis Bailey, who's guided the shoots and made the name of many a producer in tabloid television and network news (you'd surprised at how the two intertwine, then again if you read Tabloid Baby, you wouldn't be). Many of those producers knew Crystal back in the day as Lewis' fetching young assistant.

Dr. Crystal writes, and writes quite well, about the roots of her raising on the NGFM site:

"There is something to be said for kids 'from the sticks.' Growing up in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains afforded me opportunities that others might consider obstacles. Life blesses some folks with silver spoons while others it simply blesses. I know that I belong in the latter category.

"The second of five children, I grew up where I was born-- in the tiny town of Young Harris, Georgia. As far as my memory will stretch, I recall that my parents always reinforced with my siblings and me a deep respect for hard work, persistence, and dedication. We balanced our summers working in the garden or water-sealing our driveway with exploring the surrounding woods and creeks. Any given day might find us decked out in makeshift 'jungle attire' which closely resembled my father’s safari hat and faded Muppet-Baby sheets, and armed with nothing more than a pair of trusty contraband scissors to ward off the perils of the forest. If the mountains of North Georgia could talk, they would tell tales of our imaginative exploits that paralleled the equally captivating adventures beamed to us from our analog satellite television receiver.

"In spite of our inherent rural ways, technology like the satellite dish, played a large role in our existence. My father owned a television production business that comprised a camera crew and equipment. I was almost thirteen when I began filling in for sick crew members, working as a sound technician and grip on location for such productions as Entertainment Tonight, 60 Minutes, and Dateline. These experiences exposed me to a world that even the most cosmopolitan person rarely encounters.

"For instance, how many other people can plead guilty to accidentally whacking Patrick Swayze in the head with a boom microphone? It did not take many production shoots with Hard Copy for me to learn that life encompasses a wide variety of people, all of whom have singularly interesting personal stories. I listened to the diversified complaints, questions, and afflictions that dominated the lives of these storytellers. These experiences opened my eyes to the burden that one ailment or worry can create. That knowledge gave direction to my life.

"From an early age I learned to appreciate the uniqueness of each individual. After learning to listen, I became interested in doing more than just lending an ear to these personal life stories-- I wanted to intervene. A profound respect and love for human life drives my desire to help improve the lives of those around me. What better role than 'family doc' enables a person to fulfill this aspiration? Not to mention, something tells me that I might consider staying away from any career choices that involve boom microphones.

"Thus, after twenty-odd years of stumbling through an amalgamation of turnip greens and UHF cables, I can honestly say that I was born to be a family doctor."

1 comment:

Kings Farmer said...

Congrats to the Baileys. I had the pleasure of being around a young--and always Polite-- Crystal as she wielded that big mic, and her Dad's grumbling: "Boom in the Shot!!"
It is no surprise to me that she is a Doctor and a Giver.