Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A nostalgic visit to the dentist.

I went to the dentist last week after suffering a couple of very slight "twinges". Afraid that it would develop into a full blown toothache I bravely made an appointment.

The day of the appointment arrived and I showered, dressed and, forgot to go!

They called me and set up another appointment for another day, which I remembered.

My dentist is a woman. After determining which was the offending molar she gave me several injections into the gum with a very very thin needle that looked more like a hair! I barely felt it. She then drilled and filled the cavity. I hardly felt anything. It was no more painful than getting a haircut, picking my nose or cutting my toenails.

The only painful part of the whole operation was - the bill! OOuucchh!!

As I exited her office I passed a wall display with a collection of dentists tools from bygone era's. I fervently Thanked God, and the modern dental business that I had not been born in an earlier time.

I then remembered my grandfather, my mothers father who was what most people would describe as "A Character". He would often tell me tales from his lifetime. Some of which I doubted and some of which I believed. My mother and father told me which ones to believe and which ones to - "Take with a pinch of salt". Some that I did not believe, were true. The one about "dentists" of his day that I am about to tell you, is true.

But first, just to get you "in the mood" about my grandfather, I am going to tell you a couple of his "less than true" tales.

The first one he told me when he visited me in hospital after I had my appendix out. It is short, and basically it went like this - "I had my appendix out in France during the first World War. It was during the Battle of the Bulge and we were up to our knees in mud. They took it out with no anesthetic, using a rusty bayonet." (Actually I think it may have all been true except for the no anesthtic and the rusty bayonet bit!)

Another one, which again was set in World War One occured when I proudly showed him a new pair of shoes that my parents had bought me. I think I was about 10 at the time. It went like this - "We lived in trenches, up to our knees (or sometimes it was waists) in mud. Our boots would rot. The only way to get new boots was to kill a German and take his. I once had to kill 10 Germans before I found a pair of boots that fit me."

Having set the scene with a couple of his "Tall Tales." I am now going to tell you one which was COMPLETELY TRUE! I didn't believe it until my parents told me that it was indeed true.

When he needed a tooth extracted he would go to Charlotte Street. Charlotte Street was a road full of market stalls. They mostly sold food or clothes, but one was a "Dentist". He had two prices for removing teeth. This was in England so rather than use the local currency I will use dollars. The two prices were one dollar or two dollars. For one dollar he would remove your tooth with NO anesthetic. You sat in the plain wooden chair. For two dollars you sat in the comfortable upholstered armchair and they used anesthetic - gas. My grandfather took the one dollar price. And that my friends is a TRUE story.

To use the vernacular of a famous man I am now going to tell you "The Rest of the Story." about my grandfather killing ten Germans to find a pair of boots that fit.

His son Clive, who was also a World Class Storyteller - in fact even better than his father, told a true story of a pair of boots. This story gives a much better idea of the true nature of my grandfather.

My grandfater was also in Gallipoli (Turkey) during the war. (If you like to read horror stories like Stephen King etc, read about Gallipoli. I guarantee that you won't sleep for weeks!) Anyway, my grandfather survived the beaches of Gallipoli - as well as the mud of the fields of France and being gassed in France and the heat of the desserts of North Africa. After they took Gallipoli they also took a lot of Turkish prisoners. My grandfather had a spare pair of boots. Whether they were British, or German, or Turkish I don't know, but I guess it was important to have a spare pair of boots when you were trekking from the Fields of France to the Beaches of Gallipoli, to the Desserts of North Africa. Anyway one of the Turkish prisoners that he was in charge of, had no boots, so he gave him his spare pair!

That is a true story, and was told to me by his son years after my grandfather died. Even after he had seen thousands of his comrades killed by the Turkish machine guns as they ran up the beaches of Gallipoli he had the humanity to treat his enemies with decency and respect and kindness.

There are many stories about my family in war. If you have read my blog and the 'book' that I gave to my family and friends for Christmas a few years ago you will have seen some of them.

There is much history over the years of my family, the Liddles' and Julia's family, the Roberts'. Learn about it, and PLEASE learn FROM it!


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