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It was in the late 1950s, while having lunch with Martha Donovan, part-owner in the Smith-McKenney Drugstore on Main Street, she said they had good people working for them, but none of the women wanted to work at night or on weekends.
Being single and having a full-time job at Shelby County Trust Bank, I told Martha I would work nights and on weekends. Of course, immediately I had my second job. I will say that the employees were just like family and everyone was so nice. William (Shug) Hickman was one of the pharmacists at the time. I worked there until I married a few years later and really enjoyed meeting all the people in Shelby County.
I can recall after taking one of my children to the emergency room and leaving long after the drugstore had closed, the ER doctor gave us a prescription that needed to be filled that night. I called Shug to see if he would go to the store and fill the prescription so we did not have to go to Louisville to get it filled. He very graciously told me to meet him at the drugstore in about 15 minutes, and he would fill the prescription for me. I was so grateful.
Then Bill Borders came to Smith-McKenney with Shug, and again a doctor prescribed medicine after drugstore hours, and after calling Bill, he met me at the store a few minutes later to fill the prescription. I again was most thankful that I didn’t have to go to Louisville.
I can’t leave Greg Hayes out, because he took over when Shug and Bill left, and believe me, he was called one night after hours and met me at the store to fill a prescription that was ordered late.
Not only have they graciously gone back to fill prescriptions for my family, my husband and granddaughter are allergic to certain medications. Unfortunately, on more than one occasion, their doctors prescribed medicines to which they were allergic, and all three of these pharmacists mentioned above, together with Angela Parrett, asked us to call the doctor because their records indicated they were allergic to medications ordered, and they could not fill them.
If these pharmacists aren’t the best, I really don’t know who could beat them.
I went to get a prescription filled one day, and Greg told me that my insurance would no longer pay for my prescriptions. He said they wanted me to get them through mail order. I asked Greg, what do I do now since I don’t want to get my medications through mail order? Greg said I could call my insurance company and see what they said. While in the drugstore, I called my insurance company and explained that I still wanted to get my prescriptions from Smith-McKenney, and after a lengthy conversation, a woman said if I insisted the company would put my name in the computer to stay with Smith-McKenney.
I told her I was in the store and wanted to know how long it would take to change records in the computer. She did it immediately, and Greg had my prescription filled in a matter of minutes. This is just a few of the many times he helped me with doctors and prescriptions.
I feel as though when they were all working, maybe I didn’t thank them enough for all they did and for being so efficient. Always calling us by name and asking if we were being helped. There were many other pharmacists who worked for Smith-McKenney, like Kenneth and Lucy Easley, Mr. Scofield, Sam Shouse, Mr. Boyd and Mrs. Sames. For those who have gone on, I want to say thanks to all of you, and you will never know how much you are missed.
Betty Carter lives in Shelbyville.