Back when Charles "Chuck" Williams, D.C. was footloose and fancy free, his favorite place to travel was south of the border.
The exotic archeological ruins in Guatemala, Bolivia and Peru drew the young Midwesterner to the "gringo trail."
To get to the ruins at Machu Picchu at the top of the Inca Trail in Peru, Williams flew to Cuzco. From there he boarded a train that took him along the steep, winding trail above the Vilcanota River. The train stopped frequently for travelers to buy food. Williams could hardly finish the ear of roasted, buttered corn he bought for lunch.
"It was really filling. The kernels were about the size of my thumbnail," said Williams.
Williams and a buddy had roamed Bolivia, "...they had a coup every five minutes down there. My buddy and I were going to change our tickets and decided ‘nah...'"
While walking through the airport armed men in uniforms stopped them. The situation intensified as Williams and his friend were patted down. An armed man was pleased to find the money belt Williams was wearing. The armed man asked Williams in Spanish, "What's this?"
Williams said, "That's my money."
The guard could have done whatever he wanted but he let them go.
"I had a lot of money in there, but it was all Bolivian, so it was worthless. I only had it because it was so pretty."
The Mayan ruin, Palenque is set in the Tumbala mountain foothills overlooking swampy plains that stretch all the way to the Gulf Coast. The explorer Cortez passed within 30 miles of the Mayan city and never knew it was there. Williams found his way to Palenque by way of a tour bus.
"One thing I saw when I went to Palenque ... remember that book "Chariot of the Gods"? It had a picture in there of a sarcophagus at Palenque of this Mayan guy sitting in what appeared to be a spaceship. I thought, ‘Man that would be neat to see that.' It was."
Williams recalled walking down the narrow steps of a passageway under The Temple of Inscriptions.
The sarcophagus of King Hanb Pacal, did indeed look similar to the Apollo mission splash down capsules.
Now that Williams has put down roots in the community, his expeditions are closer to home although some still have a tale on the end.
In a waiting room adorned with pictures, a few are of the fish he has caught. One eye-catcher is of a 10.5 pound rainbow trout everyone thinks is a small salmon.
The fish Williams has caught aren't trophy size, but that isn't the point. He simply enjoys fishing, particularly Alaska.
"That's about as good as it gets," he said of the salmon and halibut he has caught there.
When Williams is not aligning a patient's spine he likes to get outdoors. Hiking up on the Rim near the lakes or chopping firewood. The latter gives him a feeling of accomplishment. So does finding the occasional geode or elk skull or piece of pottery.
"What do I like about being self-employed? I'm her own boss. I can take a day off any time she tells me to."
The she, is his wife, Donnalyn. She was the "other girl" Williams met at George Winston concert on a double date. She thinks the three words that describe her husband are patient, nonjudgmental and caring.
His self description is more pragmatic: "What's for dinner?"
This pragmatism extends to his views on life, health and the bedside manner of doctors.
"I try to treat people like I want to be treated," he said.
According to Williams, his greatest challenge as a health practitioner is just trying to get everybody well.
Williams thought that by becoming a chiropractor he could help people and make money.
"I wanted to be a forest ranger until a buddy of mine graduated. He was a year or two ahead of me and had a master's in freshwater biology. He was a really smart guy and he got a job, this was the early 70s. He got a job for $7,000 a year. That's when the light bulb went on."
He put his biology degree to good use at Palmer College of Chiropractic.
He chose Palmer because it was the first and has always had a good reputation.
Williams treats his patients with a variety of diversified adjustments that comprise the Palmer package.
He also uses the drop table or Thompson technique. Acupuncture is another treatment he offers.
"I think your attitude is the most important thing when it comes to your health. Then of course exercise and eating right, but attitude is No. 1," Williams said.
Name: Charles "Chuck" Williams
Occupation: Chiropractor since 1981, in Payson since 1996
Employer: Self. Owns "My Chiropractor"
Birthplace: Moline, Ill.
Personal Motto: Life is good.
Inspiration: The people I meet.
Greatest feat: Surviving college.
Favorite hobby or leisure activity: My health -- outdoor activities, reading.
Three words that describe me best are ... What's for dinner?
I don't want to brag but ... "How 'bout the University of Illinois basketball team? Go Illini!"
Luxury defined: No schedules.
The person I'd most like to meet in history is: Jesus would be a neat guy to meet. You'd like to think you could talk to that guy.
Dream vacation spot: Today, it is a tropical island.
Why Payson? The climate, the size and beauty of the community.