Thursday, March 27, 2014

small town doc

In this day of fast-paced, assembly line, find a doc on a list, impersonal medical experiences, the home town doc is a thing of the past. Even more so now that a local dentist has retired. Dr. John Walton has been in the same little office for 32 years, on the side of the road by the movie theatre way before there was a movie theatre there, across the road from Home Depot and Wal-mart, when he started out the view was just trees.

Dr. Walton was never in a hurry, would sit and talk for as long as you wanted to. Over the years we have heard all about Dr. Walton and his family and activities. He used to work on wooden boats, he likes to go to Asheville, he likes to hike. We heard about his daughter who had a brain tumor when she was younger, all about his son going to college.

On my last visit, after checking on my new crown, instead of the usual chit chat, the doc disappeared into the next exam room. I looked over at Anissa and said, "Gee, I was going to at least shake his hand, tell him bye." She said, "Don’t even go there or he will lose it."

Then while checking out, Joan talked about how they watched Carrie grow up from a child into a 30-year-old woman… then she started in, glassy-eyed and sniffling.

The girls in the office, Joan and Anissa, upon finding out last fall about the impending retirement, started planning a memory book for the doc, and asked all of us patients/friends to contribute something for the book. I hope is it overflowing with good memories, just a small token of the impression he has made on all of our lives.

Dr. Walton,

You have an excellent 'chairside' manner. You always greet me like an old friend, asking about the family etc. At one point I wondered if you had notes in the chart like, "She worked at the hospital, she likes hiking - kids are Melissa and Carrie - ask where Buddy is working now".

You distract us by telling stories. One of my favorites is about when your son went to camp and forgot his toothbrush, a whole week - a dentist's nightmare! Stories about hiking, boat building, your family. When I get home from the dentist, Buddy asks, "What did the Doc have to say today?" Or when Carrie comes from the dentist, she calls and says, "Dr. Walton says Hi!"

Thank you for taking care of our family all these years. And thanks for not reporting us to the authorities when Carrie came in with a busted lip/tooth from her 'scooter accident'.

I hope you enjoy your early retirement. Continue on your quest to find the perfect hiking trail (one without bugs, snakes, or poison ivy) and let us know if you do. Enjoy the peacefulness of nature along the way.

Keep in touch, we are on Facebook and blogs and if you are lucky we will sign you up for Buddy's annual Christmas Letter!

The Tidwells - Buddy, Susan, Melissa, and Carrie

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