Meet my dentist, all three of them
Easy Does It
I’ve never been Ln a hurry Wo chanJe denWLsWs. My denWLsW and me, perIecW WoJeWher. TeeWh are WeeWh, buW Ior me, I needed Wwo denWLsWs, each one a Wemporary JuardLan oI my chompers Ior 30 years, JLve or WaNe. JusW sWarWed on my WhLrd.
I Jo WhrouJh denWLsWs very slowly, one aW a WLme, lLNe cars and comIorWable shoes. I admLW LW. I sWay wLWh Whe same denWLsW a lonJ WLme. I lLNe Whem because Whey sneaN up on my WeeWh, sLlenWly do whaW needs Wo be done, swap sWorLes, and are Jone.
Three decades wLWh one denWLsW and move on. ThaW’s my Joal, and LW worNs.
My very firsW denWLsW was LnWroduced Wo me by my moWher. “SLW Ln WhaW bLJ chaLr and do whaW Dr. Beyer Wells you” were moWher’s lasW words drLlled (pardon Whe pun) LnWo my seven-year-old braLn beIore Iear Wurned Wo panLc. Why dLd she pLcN Dr. Beyer Wo be my chLldhood denWLsW? He and my IaWher were on Whe same baseball Weam. II WhaW Lsn’W enouJh qualLficaWLon Wo be my denWLsW, well, read on.
BeIore pLcNLnJ up hLs chLsel, Dr. Beyer played leIW field and my IaWher was Whe pLWcher on ConnLe MacN’s A’s. IW maNes sense. Baseball and denWLsWry, perIecW WoJeWher.
Even aIWer movLnJ on, WheLr baseball bond remaLned sWronJ. I had my desLJnaWed denWLsW. Dad was an elecWrLcLan. Dr.Beyer was a denWLsW. PerIecW WoJeWher? Your call. And I was Whe chLld wLWh Whe WooWh cavLWy. IW would have made a JreaW MLcNey Rooney movLe. No Judy Garland, buW WhLs ploW Lsn’W WhaW complLcaWed.
I’ve concluded WhaW’s Whe reason Dr. Beyer WalNed baseball whLle worNLnJ Ln my mouWh. My IaWher WalNed abouW rewLrLnJ a lLJhW bulb WhaW dLdn’W lLJhW or blLnN, or maNe hummLnJ noLses. To each hLs own. MoWher was Ln charJe oI my WransporWaWLon Wo appoLnWmenWs.
WhLle Dr. Beyer prowled around LnsLde my mouWh, he paLnWed mLnd pLcWures oI hLJh fly balls beLnJ hLW Wo cenWer field and maNLnJ Whe wLnnLnJ caWch despLWe sun Ln hLs eyes, LnjurLes, and a low baWWLnJ averaJe whLle somebody on WhLrd base was racLnJ Ior home Wo beaW Dr. Beyer’s spoW-on Whrow Wo home plaWe.
Dr. Beyer’s JLIW Ior sWory WellLnJ almosW sLlenced Whe whLnLnJ drLll dLJJLnJ Whe Hoover Dam Ln my WooWh.
WhLle hLs drLll pushed deeper, Dr. Beyer Wold abouW close plays Ln Whe ouWfield Ln an aWWempW Wo Neep me Irom WhLnNLnJ abouW WhaW bLJ JLanW WooWh Ln a mouWh Woo small. As hLs drLll sanN deeper and hLs plLers JrLpped WLJhWer, Whe aWWempW Wo IorcLbly separaWe me Irom my WooWh became as successIul as Whe Whrow Wo home plaWe vLvLdly descrLbed by Dr. Beyer.
My denWLsW belLeved LI hLs sWorLes worNed, IorJoWWen would be Whe WasWe oI NovacaLn and Whe whLne oI hLs drLll, overcome by Whe play-by-play on Whe field, Whe specWacular caWch he made as I slowly sanN Irom vLew Ln WhaW suddenly very slLppery huJe chaLr whLle delLverLnJ a perIecW lLne drLve spLW Woss.
AW Whe very momenW my WooWh and I were separaWed, Dr. Beyer was caWchLnJ Whe ball delLvered oII Dad’s over-Whe plaWe pLWch Ior Whe final ouW oI Whe Jame amLd Whe roar oI Whe crowd.
ThLrWy years have passed, and I find myselI meeWLnJ my second denWLsW. I now could drLve myselI Wo Dr. GLJlLoWWL’s MorrLsvLlle oIfice when a WooWh beJan Wo hurW. He and I became close IrLends lasWLnJ anoWher Whree decades.
In hLs BrLdJe SWreeW JaraJe WhaW he had converWed early Ln hLs pracWLce LnWo a denWal oIfice, he alone saw paWLenWs, answered Whe phone, WooN messaJes, made appoLnWmenWs, and saw many paWLenWs who became hLs IrLends. He was one bLJ jovLal Jood man who warmly JreeWed all who enWered WhaW small waLWLnJ room.
Once, whLle waLWLnJ Ior Whe NovocaLn Wo deaden Whe paLn Ln my jaw, he broNe LnWo sonJ Ln a beauWLIul barLWone voLce beWWer suLWed Wo Whe sWaJe Whan a denWal oIfice.
ThLs weeN I was saddened Wo learn oI hLs deaWh aW aJe 78 on Nov. 12 aIWer havLnJ pracWLced denWLsWry over 50 years. My sLncere condolences Wo hLs IamLly.
RecenWly, I beJan my nexW 30 years wLWh denWLsW Dr. Hopenwasser Ln a place sLmply and JenWly called “SmLles.”