A little more Chicken Soup for the season

The overwhelming majority of RDH readers only know Mark Hartley (that would be me) through this page, the Editor`s Note. On this page, I do spend more time than I probably should ranting and raving about various topics. If this page is the only way we`ve become acquainted, it would be easy for you to deduce that I spend most days ranting and raving. From my perspective, I just spend one afternoon a month ranting and raving. During the rest of month, I`m reasonably well-behaved with my wife, thre

Mark Hartley, Editor

The overwhelming majority of RDH readers only know Mark Hartley (that would be me) through this page, the Editor`s Note. On this page, I do spend more time than I probably should ranting and raving about various topics. If this page is the only way we`ve become acquainted, it would be easy for you to deduce that I spend most days ranting and raving. From my perspective, I just spend one afternoon a month ranting and raving. During the rest of month, I`m reasonably well-behaved with my wife, three kids, two dogs, and other assorted acquaintances. You and I just happen to cross paths on that one afternoon each month.

I fully intend to savor the pleasures of the holiday season, and I hope you`re doing the same. I`d like to step down from the pulpit for an afternoon here and share a bowl of Chicken Soup with you.

My good friend, Don Dible, was kind enough to let us reprint one of the stories from Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul. It`s one of my favorites, and it`s appropriate for the season. Lenora Rutledge, RDH, wrote Christmas Roses, and the story is as follows:

It was the afternoon of December 24, the day before Christmas; and as the newest hygienist in our office, I had to work. The only thing that brightened my day was the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in our waiting room and a gift sent to me by a fellow I was dating — a dozen long-stemmed red roses.

As I was cleaning my operatory, our receptionist came and said there was a lady in the front office who urgently needed to speak with me. As I stepped out, I noticed a young, tired-looking woman with an infant in her arms. Nervously, she explained that her husband — a prisoner in a nearby correctional facility — was my next patient. The guards were scheduled to bring him to the office that afternoon. She told me she wasn`t allowed to visit her husband in prison and that he had never seen his son. Her plea was for me to let the boy`s father sit in the waiting room with her as long as possible before I called him for his appointment. Since my schedule wasn`t full, I agreed. After all, it was Christmas Eve.

A short time later, her husband arrived — with shackles on his feet, cuffs on his hands, and two armed guards as an escort. The woman`s tired face lit up like our little Christmas tree when her husband took a seat beside her. I kept peeking out to watch them laugh, cry, and share their child.

After almost an hour, I called the prisoner back to the operatory. While I worked, the guards stood just outside my door. The patient seemed like a gentle and humble man. I wondered what he possibly could have done to be held under such conditions. I tried to make him as comfortable as possible.

At the end of the appointment, I wished him a Merry Christmas — a difficult thing to say to a man headed back to prison. He smiled and thanked me. He also said he felt saddened by the fact that he hadn`t been able to get his wife anything for Christmas. On hearing this, I was inspired with a wonderful idea.

I`ll never forget the look on both their faces as the prisoner gave his wife the beautiful, long-stemmed roses. I`m not sure who experienced the most joy — the husband in giving, the wife in receiving, or myself in having the opportunity to share in this special moment.

I think the dental hygiene profession`s natural ability to perform random acts of kindness each day is what makes all of you so special in our communities. Thank you for caring so much about the people in your lives.

The Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul book, by the way, is still very much in print and readily available. A few of you have inquired to RDH about it. To refresh your memory, you can order the book by calling (800) 247-6553 or by mail at DMD House, 1250 Oakmead Parkway, Suite 210, Sunnyvale, CA 94085. The book costs $12.95 (not including $4 for shipping).

Again, I hope the holiday season brings you much peace and love.

Editor Mark Hartley can be contacted at markh@pennwell.com.

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