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John Kelly's Washington

The Doctor Is Still In

By John Kelly
Tuesday, January 25, 2005; Page C11

In 1959, when he was at the University of Colorado, Eric Christenson banged up his left knee. (How exactly did he bang it up, you wonder? Oh, the usual way: during an incident involving chocolate cake, Ex-Lax, a pond and some fraternity brothers.)

Two years later, when he started teaching English at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Eric's knee hurt something fierce. He went to O. Anderson Engh, an orthopedist who ran a clinic at Glebe Road and Shirley Highway.

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Answer Man: Free and Forgotten (The Washington Post, Jan 24, 2005)
Treating a Child, Healing a Family (The Washington Post, Jan 21, 2005)
Grown but Not Forgotten (The Washington Post, Jan 20, 2005)
The Most Caring of the Caregivers (The Washington Post, Jan 19, 2005)
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"Oh, boy, look at this," Dr. Engh said when an X-ray revealed a bit of broken femur floating around in Eric's knee. "We have to take that out."

Said Eric: "It's the only time in my life I almost fainted."

Dr. Engh removed the bone chip but made a prediction: Eric would develop arthritis in that knee.

And so it came to pass. Last month, more than 40 years after Dr. Engh removed Eric's bone chip, Dr. Engh replaced Eric's arthritic knee.

Except it wasn't that Dr. Engh who did the surgery. It was that Dr. Engh's grandson C. Anderson "Andy" Engh Jr.

"I'd say probably once a month, 10 times a year, I see patients that my grandfather took care of," said the younger Dr. Engh. "I also see patients that my grandfather and my father took care of."

Dr. Engh's father -- C. Anderson Engh Sr. -- also is an orthopedic surgeon. So is his uncle, Gerard Engh. They all work together at the Anderson Orthopaedic Clinic.

Andy Engh has two kids -- Catherine, 15, and Charles Anderson Engh III, 11 -- but it's too soon to tell whether they'll be picking up the bone saw. "My father never put pressure on me, so I'd never go so far as to put pressure on them," he said.

Part of the chain has been severed already, though: "My Uncle Gerard has a son who kind of broke our hearts when he went into neurosurgery."

Pryor Restraint

Walter Pryor is the legislative director for Sen. Mark Pryor(D-Ark.).

Walter has a long connection to the senator's family. When he was a student at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., he interned for the senator's father, Sen. David Pryor. Given that Walter and the senator(s) share the same last name, many people automatically assume they must be related.

Walter says they aren't.

"Although I can't speak definitively, because Arkansas was a slaveholding state," Walter said. "Somewhere down the line, there could be some connection."

Walter is African American. His boss isn't.

"People who aren't good at playing poker can't mask their reaction when they meet me," he said. "It's clear they were expecting someone else. Certainly a different hue."

To avoid just such confusion, a lot of times, Walter doesn't give his last name. Once in college, he answered the phone for Sen. David Pryor. "Who is this?" the constituent demanded.

"Walter," said Walter.

"Walter who?"

"Walter Pryor."

The man said: "Oh, yeah! You're the son." He then delivered such a long, involved monologue about Walter and the senator that Walter felt he couldn't correct him.

A few weeks later, the senator reported that he had run into the man in Arkansas, and he'd heard nothing but good things about Walter.

"One day, I'm going to meet this man," Walter Pryor said, "and he's going to die of a heart attack."

A Taste of Honeybell

You might have seen a full-page ad recently in The Washington Post with the headline: "What the devil is this?" And you may have thought, as I did: "What the devil is this?"

The ad tells an involved story about a mysterious fruit. It features a drawing of somebody who appears to be Ernest Borgnine.

Ernest is actually Ed Cushman, a fruit vendor from West Palm Beach, Fla., who in 1945, while waiting for a truckload of grapefruit, instead stumbled upon 20 bushels of -- and I quote -- "the strangest looking, fiery-orange, bell-shaped oranges anyone had ever seen."

Because of the fruit's bulbous shape, he dubbed it the honeybell. For a brief period every year, customers are invited to purchase what the ad calls "limited edition fruit."

"Limited edition fruit"? What's that all about? It makes it sound like a Hummel figurine.

"It's better than a Hummel because you can eat it," said Eileen Schlagenhaft, Cushman's director of marketing.

She said Cushman's will sell 100,000 boxes of honeybells this season. Washington is a prime market.

"We love Washington," Eileen said. It has educated consumers who will take the time to read what she called "probably one of the greater direct marketing ads of all time."

What you're eating, if you spend about 25 bucks for nine pounds' worth, is actually a Minneola tangelo, a dangerously juicy hybrid of a Duncan grapefruit and a Darcy tangerine. It was created in 1931 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said Jude Grosser, a professor of plant cell genetics at the University of Florida.

Several growers sell honeybells, but Cushman's has built an entire mythology around the fruit.

"It's a niche market that they've cleverly built," Grosser said. And it is limited edition, "eating good" only in January.

Said Eileen: "If you call me in March and say, 'Can I have a honeybell?' I'm going to tell you no."

My e-mail address is kellyj@washpost.com.

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