* or vise a versa, as the case may be*        


* I wrote this challenge for a personal request from my friend Linda*


















“Well, it seems to me that those magazines will push just about anything on you to make a buck.”  Dr. Early said and then added an extra remark staunchly in his own favor, “as for myself, I know just what I am doing and intend to keep at it.  I’ve been dressing this way for years and have had no problems.  I always just seem to fit right in with a few traditional general basics, and a few traditional good suits.”


“Okay now, I’ll let YOU get by with your fashion statements Joe, but as for Kel now, well…I just don’t know quite WHAT to say.”  Dixie continued turning pages in the spring catalogue, “WHATEVER he IS thinking seems to have blown around and up, in bits and pieces like leaves in the wind, from all these pages, and landed in his closet.  I am fairly certain I have seen something similar to page 28 here, mixed with page 42, along with this tie here, and the shoes over on page 2, ON him last week.  I wonder why he didn’t just pick this sharp looking set here on page 29.  I think it’d suit him just fine, in fact it would suit you too Mike, Joe, the both of you.”


Dixie had just looked up as Dr. Bracket had just entered the lounge room, with a smile, and a cheery good morning greeting.  Soon he was aware that all eyes were on him. 


“Well, hey now…come on…what’d I do.  I just got here, and you’re all a witness to my cheery ‘good morning one and all.’”  Reaching for a coffee mug, filling it and turning around, he said, “oh, I see, my reputation has proceeded me again, has it?  Well, seeing as it has, do you mind filling me in as to what it is that I did, before I caught up to it?  WELL COME ON, let’s have it, I’m not an ogre you know.”


“Oh Kel, it’s not that, it’s just well, look at you.”


“I’m looking Dix, it seems I’m all in one piece here…what’s a matter didn’t I comb my hair?” He said with a smirk and a slight smile.


“No, look at you and look at this.” Dixie said, as she slid the magazine his way.  Kel came over and took a near by chair, and pulled it up along side the solemn group.  Looking a slight bit puzzled he looked through it.


“Well, there’s some nice stuff in here Dix, but I don’t see your point. And from the looks on everyone’s faces here, I’d say maybe you’ll just have to fill us ALL in.”  Kel took a large swallow of his coffee, “well, I don’t know about your students here, but I’m ready when you are, Dix.”


Joe offered to help, with “I think we are talking fashion and I just mentioned a few moments ago that I like traditional.”


“Kel, they are not my students, this isn’t a class, now lets be serious.  As she looked at her solemn group, she corrected herself, “what I mean, is lets approach this with an open mind.  You know I don’t usually preach the pros and cons of fashion, no matter how irrational SOMEONE’S may be at times.”


“Irrational fashion, now THAT opens the mind alright, to all sorts of wild imaginations.  Just what does that mean Dixie” Mike said, “is that tux and tails, for picnics and tennis turnout for dinner at eight?”


“I was thinking more in the way of zebras and giraffes showing up at the same watering whole and being a bit hard on the eyes.”


“Now just what is THAT supposed to mean?” Kel said… and not in the general sense as Mike had meant it… as he strummed a few pages between his fingers and began to feel all eyes on him again.


“Well Kel, now why don’t you tell me…stripes and plaids, now does that ring a bell?”  Dixie looked at him with her ‘you know darn well what I mean, mister’ look.


“Dix, this isn’t the time or place me to go SHOPPING, I’m here to work, and its about that time right about now, with any luck, we won’t get a call until after my second cup here.  Kel got up with a bit of ‘catalogue on the brain’ and turned and said, “besides, SOME of those high fashion catalogues are a lot of bull Dix, and you know it.  I feel a man ought to be free to dress how he feels.  Me personally, I like a good rational comfortable shirt and that will do me just fine.  I always have on a nice shirt and a nice tie …hiding right here, UNDER this nice white coat, see, look here…there now, how about that?  I also have a few nice suits.  Now, I’m sure if I have some fancy meeting to go to, lets say, as to the effect of the paramedic bill hearing, back a ways, why I’d just pull out one of those nice traditional shirts of ol’ Dr. Joe’s type here. Well then, moving on, I’d match it up with a nice rational comfortable pair of pants, and add a fashionable jacket, and I’d be all set. And so, maybe occasionally some zebras and giraffes, as you so plainly call my shirts and pants, do show up mingling together for a bit of modern day fashion, I don’t recall any complaints from any of my patients along the way.  What ever makes a man happy and comfortable…now… that’s the end of it for me.  He then proceeded to leave.


“That’s the end all right Kel, the end of fashion for a traditional rational fashionable type of bull headed Dr. that inhabits Rampart General.  But I have something in mind, for you and I won’t give up until I see the results.”


“What was that, Dix?” Kel called back, as he had already stepped one foot out the door, and then leaned his head back in, as if trying to catch some hidden message.


“Nothing important Kel, just thought you’d like to add a catalogue to your office library” Dix said with an exaggerated smile, and tilt of her head.


As the formerly solemn group snickered and chuckled a bit, they followed Kel out the door. 


“Say, now, Joe, Mike…just how and why did all this get started anyway, I’ve never had any complaints before?”


“Well, Kel, it seems there is a bulletin being passed around, and…” as they continued down the hall, Dr. Early proceeded to fill in Dr. Brackett as to the missing pieces.


“YOU’RE KIDDING, tell me you’re kidding, Joe.” At that moment Dr. Brackett realized his voice had resounded down the hall and after watching three nurses spread out, and retreat to various rooms, Kel, said, “there goes my reputation proceeding itself again.”  He was just about to decide whether to find it amusing or feel a bit guilty, when he saw a rush of people down the hall.


His wry smile soon disappeared as the three of them heard the ever-familiar call come in over the speakers.  They all knew this would be kept on hold, as their senses fine-tuned themselves with keen adjustment to the emergency work at hand that they were so skilled and ready for.












“KEL…IT’S FOR CHARITY, for heavens sake, can’t you take this like a man?” Dixie pleaded with him.  “It’s just for one night.  I think you’d look great in it, and with this tie.  There will be some high-bidders there too, and a nice dance afterwards with cocktails.   Please, Kel.  I know your kind heart, now just say yes, and let’s move on to dinner.  Look, the candles are half way burnt down.” Dixie was leaning in the doorway, half way checking her dinner table and half way checking her soon to be diner who was pacing the bedroom floor a bit nervously.


“Dix, it’s not that I have any strong feelings against it in general, but I prefer to dress myself.  I’m in favor of charitable work, it’s just naturally part of who I am.  Did you know the business that handles my tailor jobs for any clothes I need, and the clothing store that I prefer to buy from, both send a percentage to help sick and hungry children?  As for the clothing store, I’ll admit some of the styles are a bit on the mod side, but look at that nice white coat I get to hide in!  And speaking of charity, why don’t you just DONATE that wonderful suit you brought over here, and I’m sure somewhere there will be a very happy man.”


Kel walked over near the bed where the suit was laying, and gave it one last look, tilting his head a bit and making one of his famous “you gotta’ be kidding” faces.  He shook his head, and smiled with a half smirk as he sent some more words Dixie’s way,  “In fact, TWO very happy men, as I will be including myself one as one of the privileged.”  Kel walked back the other way then and over to the living room area and took a taste of the roasted chicken that was on the platter near the candles. 


“Hey, Dix?”


“Yes, Kel?”  Dixie approached him as she too came from the bedroom, leaving the rejected suit behind.  Can it be that he is having second thoughts, she wondered?


“You know…” Kel turned and looked at her, “the chicken really taste good, and you’re right.”


“Well, I am now…what brought this on.” Dixie was still just a bit suspicious, as she walked up and put her hands on his shoulders.


You did Dix, the candle are burning down, and I didn’t realize it…I was just too caught up trying to picture myself in that suit.”


“Kelly Brackett, how dare you change the subject…”


“Well, how about a truce for now…chicken and candles, and later we’ll throw that suit around a bit, and with any luck, it just might fall apart.  How about it, Dix?  I’m hungry, and that suit is perfectly useless to me at the moment, what I need is that dish over there with some chicken on it, and this little dish in front of me, with a smile on her face.”  With that he proceeded to give her a gentle kiss on the forehead.  “Okay, Dix?”


“I really didn’t spend all that time cooking it just to use it for leftovers, seems like we’ve run into that problem a few times in the past, now haven’t we?  Okay, no argument from me for now…but mind you, I said for now.” 


As Dixie began to serve the chicken, she served her last pitch of the evening as well.  “It makes a lot more sense to me, for a handsome donation to be made to help many, as I am sure some handsomely well-off society woman would pay handsomely to have such a handsome man as yourself for her date of the evening…in such a HANDSOME SUIT. Then, to donate that handsome suit to someone’s closet where only God knows how long it will hang there, and just to benefit ONE MAN only.”  How’d you like that one, Kelly Brackett, she thought to herself, mighty fine pitching.


“Two men, Dix, I said TWO MEN” Kel swallowed the last bit of chicken from the piece he had been working on, finished with a bit of wine, and topped it all of with a wink.


“MEN!” She said, with a slight bit of disgust.


“That’s right, now, you got it” Kel smiled innocently, and ducked to the side as she threw a piece of lettuce his way.











After am exceptionally full day, Kel, Mike and Dr. Joe Early found themselves finally sitting around their usual hang-out…with Dixie no where in sight.


“Well, looks like its just us men folk here guys…our own private locker room, and we’re going over the score after a hard game…sure wish it was just a game…then we could all shake hands, and play again next week.   As it is,” Kel continued “there’s lots of very special players that won’t be coming back.  No amount of money, or coaxing can bring them back for a replay.”


Kel was near the touchdown line for a goal of discouragement, until Mike shared with him about three different situations that were only won because of Kel’s skills, and good judgement and timing.  Kelly Brackett, the Dr. and Kelly Brackett the man, reached an understanding again, and this time, it was with the help of a friend.


“Thanks Mike, thanks.  I needed that and you couldn’t have timed it better…you sure have a good memory.  That will pay off for you in the long run, as you grow.  I don’t know how or why I forgot about it.  I guess I must have had my mind on the wrong things at the moment.  Loosing people just feels so wrong.” He looked each one of his friends in the eyes for a brief moment, and got up for some coffee.  “Any one care to join me?”


A different sort of answer came Kel’s way.  It was an answer that joined Kel in a more important way than just sharing coffee.  It was an answer that joined in with the sharing of a burden.


“Kel when you’re in the middle, living it, it’s hard to remember it all afterwards…until you wind down a bit.  And as to your other thoughts you just shared, well…you just wouldn’t be the Kelly Brackett we know, if you ever stopped caring.  Just don’t let it score too high against you, okay?”


“Well, Dr. Early, in answer to that, seems like BOTH of my team mates are cheering me onward and upward.” Kel, feeling a bit freer of his burden sat down with the coffee.  In the back of his mind, he thought, time for a change of subject.


“A DATE AUCTION, can you believe, it.” Kel looked down at the coffee and back up at his colleges and just shook his head and laughed a slight bit.  He then looked a bit shy and worried. “Why can’t we just have some sort of picnic, and throw horseshoes or something like that.  That bulletin and those crazy ideas some of these women can come up with.  I almost got roped into some fancy suit Dix picked out for me.  I think I managed to side track her a bit with some melted candles.” Kel smiled a bit as he remembered the nice supper the night before.


“Well, your not out of the woods yet, Kel” Dr. Early said, I heard that we are expected to sign up, at least a certain amount of us, and WE are some of the ‘expected’.  Any one involved with the paramedic program too, as the charity money will go for training, equipment, and counseling etc.”


“Speaking of picnics and horseshoes, though Doc…I have some inside info for you both…and Kel, it just might be right up your alley” Mike offered with a bit of a mystery lurking on his face.


“Well, if it will help me out with Dix, I’m all ears” Kel said as he leaned a bit closer.


“Okay, here goes, Kel, my cousin has a girl friend and her father owns some horses that he breeds, and he knows some of these people in the social circles that love to donate and help with many of these charities, and…”


Just then, Dixie and two of her nurses walked in. 


“My my,” she said, “is this some kind of a conspiracy going on here?  You look like a bunch of kids trying to decide who’s going to take the blame for breaking a window.”


Looking as straight forward and as SERIOUS as he could, Kel got up and put his arm on Dixie’s shoulder, threw the guys a quick wink and quietly proceeded to make mention of a fact. “Now, Dix, this is a private locker room post-game talk here, nothing you and your nurses need to be concerning yourselves with.  I do believe us men folk here can handle it just fine.”


“Come on girls, I think they’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere and got lost…or maybe we have…it’ll be time to leave in an two hours, I sure hope you BOYS can find your way out of the stadium by then.  Don’t trip over the ball on your way out.” Dixie said as SERIOUS as SHE could.”










Dixie was sitting in the front row with her nurses.   It was exciting to be getting ready to see the Doctors and paramedics in all their best, getting ready to appear on the stage one by one.  It was a nice dining hall that had been rented and the atmosphere was friendly and open.  The fact that it was a silent auction added to the suspense of the evening as well. 


“This is going to be just great.  Wait until you see the suit I picked for Kel.”  Dixie then related to them, “He put up a bit of a fight, though.  I was just a bit worried, as he has some pants he really loved but he always wears that certain pair with his favorite shirt.  It’s the zebra and giraffe syndrome again.  Yes, He had a great jacket to top it all off with, but the pants!  Well, girls…I was certain that our HIGHEST BIDDER, out there, just couldn’t agree more that plaid shirts and stripped pants or vise a versa, as the case may be, rarely make a positive fashion statement.  And I truly wanted her to bid high on Kel.”


They were half way through the middle of the auction, when Kel walked out.  Dixie let out a gasp, as muffled as she could…as she tried to catch herself, and nearly choked.  The nurses meanwhile were having at GREAT laugh at Dr. Brackett, for different reasons, being he obviously was out of sync with his white coat!


There stood Kel, in blue jeans and nice pale blue stripped cowboy shirt, black hat and boots to boot!  “Well, ladies,” he said, “any takers out there?” he then said with a shy smile, “I’ll be waiting out back with my horse, just in case.”


He took a quick walk across the stage, and accidentally saw Dixie’s shocked looked, and tried to show her a calming gesture, with a bit of charm on his face.  He then gave her an “oh well” gesture with both hands out to his sides with a slight shrug of his shoulders, and then ducked behind the curtain.


Dixie almost felt like crying but was too mad to do so, and felt a bit betrayed.  All she could think of was what happened to the suit, and Kel out on stage in RANCH clothes?  She then excused herself and got up to find Kel.  Just what could he possibly have been thinking, she wondered, it’s not like him to purposely make fun of me.  What in the world could he POSSIBLY be thinking.  It just didn’t make SENSE, oh Kel, HOW COULD YOU!  We talked and had dinner, and you’d never be so rude and unkind.  Here I go trying to keep myself from being SO VERY mad at you Kelly Brackett, and you look like your having the time of your life, she finished her thoughts just as she neared him.


“Dix,” Kel was a bit flustered “I can explain,” he said, as he left the lady standing by his side, which he had been talking with and came nearer to Dixie. 


“Start explaining BUSTER” Dix said with her usual stare down.


“Dix, Mike had some inside information on one of the buyers… I mean auction bidders.  He knew one of the most affluent women to bid tonight owned a horse ranch in Santa Maria.  Well, she just isn’t into fashion Dix, and she attended this event tonight, just because she loves children.  She and her husband have never been able to have any.  She spends all her time with the horses.  So Mike figured if I just presented my special magic charm, that you are always trying to get me to use at Rampart…AND… just the RIGHT fashion, that I just might win her over.  And look Dix, there she is…she out bid everyone for me.  Well, actually” Kel confessed,  “she may have been the only bidder” he continued a bit sheepishly, “but she was taking no chances…wait until you see how high she went Dix!  Why I think you’ll be mighty impressed.  This auction thing those women thought up, well…it appears there really is something too it after all.”


“I witnessed your special magic charm alright, handsome” she said, “but the ‘AND’ part nearly made me choke, Kel.  I couldn’t believe what I saw, and in the middle of this fancy cocktail party, of all the nerve, Kel…why I expected the HORSE to show up next.”  She breathed a small sigh of relief, and watched how happy he was as he stood before her, and stuffed his hands into his back pockets and looked back at her.


“So did I do all right Dixie, for a Doctor, anyway… can I go now?”  He gave her a pat on the shoulder.  “She wants to talk horses for our date here tonight.   Oh, by the way, her husband and I are going to play tennis out at their ranch next week sometime.  Then his wife will take us on a trail ride.  Mike’s inside info not only helped the charity auction but it got me a day at a ranch along with some tennis.  And I OWE it all to Mike and you, Dix.”


Dixie looked at Dr. Brackett.  This is the man that runs Rampart General.  He can bark out the orders and keep that place from falling apart, and here he is now, so at ease, ALMOST like a kid.  In this room you’d think he was just part of the crowd, but even here, there is still something special about him.  Some kind of special ma…Dixie’s thoughts stopped and turned into reality as she heard Kel begin to explain why. 


“I remembered to use my special magic charm your always getting after me to use …AND…I remembered you kept preaching plaid shirts and striped pants, or visa versa, as the case may be, rarely make a positive fashion statement, so I chose CLASSIC COWBOY.”


“You did no such thing, Kelly Brackett!”  Dixie snapped back to full attention of the situation. “Why I only just made that statement just tonight before you guys went to get ready to go on stage.  It was right when I gave John Gage the suit, for you, for some odd reason it was down the hall with some of his stuff.  And I said it later to one of the nurses tonight, sitting down in the front row, but I NEVER SAID IT TO YOU.  You were already intending not to wear it, weren’t you?  Now what have you got to say for yourself now?”  Dixie was just aching to see what he had to say now, as she felt like he was just having a bit of fun at her expense.  “Okay, cowboy, spit it out.”


“Alright Dixie, you caught me, I confess.”  He made a bit of a squinty face, and said “I planned the whole thing at my place…. I would use my special magic charms…AND…classic cowboy…AND…John Gage would wear the suit…AND …we had it altered a bit.”  Kel looked at Dixie and smiled as he continued on saying, “…AND…I thought it would make you laugh if I threw in your fashion statement that you said to John as you gave him the suit.  I wanted to impress you with the fact, that I do understand the zebra and giraffes showing up at the same watering hole being a bit hard on the eyes.  But sometimes it’s a bit of fun, in a world that can make a man a bit weary occasionally.  He leaned over and gave her a kiss, and leaned back and smiled at her.  Are we still friends, Dix?”   


“Sure COWBOY, with you looking at me like that, with that puppy dog face, how can I say no.”  She gave him a gentle shove, as she said, “now mosey on over there, before your horsewoman remembers she just ‘bought’ herself a DOCTOR for tonight, and NOT A COWBOY.”


Kel walked across the room, and waved up at John Gage as he came out on stage, and hammed it up a bit.  Suit sure looks great on him, Kel thought, yeah, us men sure know what to do about fashion, don’t we Kel, we just wear what we like, and give the rest away.  Like I said, TWO very happy men, myself, being one of the privileged.








 ……horses…Santa Marie……tennis/ boots….. …gage and suit……   …..but cowboys sure do!  





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