News from Vermont #250 -- A "Filling" Story
Hello again Maple People,
I had a dentist appointment last week and, contrary to the way it was when I was a kid, it's something I really look forward to these days. It's just a pleasant drive over to the office of Dr. Mark George in Barre and no matter what's going on with my teeth, light or heavy, I always look forward to the visit.
Last week, just days before Halloween, Dr. George walked through his waiting room while I sat looking at a magazine. He was wearing his hospital green scrubs but most striking was how he looked from the neck up; apparently his eye sight necessitates the wearing of appliances that protrude from both lenses of his glasses. Those devices are, I'm sure, state of the art and extremely necessary but, frankly, to the once-every-six-month visitor, they make him look "google-eyed" and a bit goofy...you know like those joke eyeballs on springs.
"See you're all ready for Halloween, doctor." I said. Without missing a beat, he got right in my face..."That's what I DO is SCARE people" he replied, punctuating it with his best "Ehh, Ehh, Ehh". There were random chuckles around the waiting room but I'm sure we all had the same thought: "great dentist...very poor vampire".
You see, Dr. Mark George is the world's gentlest gentleman and if "Painless" is not his middle name, well, it should be. He speaks in a soft, soothing voice and he's bi-lingual; to his assistant Carolyn, he uses a strange language with words like "interproximal, xerostomia, and malocclusion". To us patients, he purrs things like "This'll pinch a little", and "Let's see if we can give you a little happy juice". He shares an office with Dr. Bill Koch, a maple sugarmaker friend of mine (little conflict of interest goin' on there Bill, Ehh, Ehh, Ehh?). It's located in the stately home of the late Dr. Earnest Reynolds. It sits opposite Barre's Currier Park and if the other "Currier" and his partner Ives had painted a dentist office, they would have used this very one as their model. The whole place, right down to its soothing music and happy employees, speaks of comfort and safety.
By stark contrast, the dentist office I went to as a kid sat beside a graveyard. It was manned by Dr. John O'Neil, another great dentist but far from painless. You see, my time as a child dental patient fits somewhere between the Civil War era of "knock 'em out with a hammer and go to work" and modern dentistry. Everything back then hurt like hell...for example, the pain from a woodsplitter-crushed finger is a seven...Dr. O'Neil's pain was a ten! There were no rubber gloves, no face masks, minimal water sprays and, yes, Novocain had been invented but the application of it was somewhat worse than the pain without it.
One time when I was eight, my mother appeared with the family car out in the hayfield. "Burr" she said, "I just remembered...you have a dentist appointment in ten minutes...quick,quick!". I erupted into a bawling fit..."NO, NO, PLEASE, ANYTHING BUT THAT!"...but she got me in the car and we pulled up in front of Dr. O'Neil's dismal grey building and its accompanying graveyard just ten minutes late. He proceeded to fill two more of what would become close to 100% of my permanent teeth.
The other day over at Dr. George's, my dental hygienist Kara cleaned and polished those same old patched up teeth. "Not bad" she kept saying and at one point right after she invited me to rinse, I asked her if there were any of those original silver fillings left from the Dr. O'Neil days. "Lot's of 'em" she said..."he did great work".
I'll always wish that I had taken better care of my teeth when I was a kid but I didn't. Now in the autumn of my life, thanks to my mother for getting me to the dentist, I still have my own teeth and not "store-bought" ones. They've been good teeth, spanned two eras of dentistry, and a lot of chewin'. I also owe much thanks to Dr. O'Neil, my childhood dentist, who used what tools he had well and whose fillings till grace my mouth and to Dr. Mark (Painless) George for "makin' my day" two times a year.
I joked about my dentist/maple sugarmaker buddy but, you know, pure maple is our friend, not our foe; it is proven to have calcium, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients...how could you go wrong with something pure, natural, and fresh from a maple tree? It's the perfect gift and we here at Morse Farm have proven that over and over! Here's what one cusomer said:
"Morse Farms Maple Syrup as a Christmas gift was a big hit with my son and his family in California, my aunt and uncle in Florida, and several close friends in Florida. Now that they have tasted the real stuff, I expect they will want a repeat next year. It is good!!"