I first met “Grant” as a fellow member of a local service club. A few months later, Dr. Greene and I opened our new dental office here in Fayetteville, and Grant soon came in as a new patient. Our initial conversation in the office regarding his treatment needs included his questioning how much to have done to attempt to save his teeth since he was now 76. I explained that he was still in great health, and even at 76 he may need those teeth for quite a few years yet. He finally agreed, and I worked with Grant to provide the dentistry he needed to keep his teeth going strong.
Grant was long retired by then, but he loved to tell stories of his childhood and working years. He had attended East Syracuse high school, graduated from Syracuse University, and worked as a financial officer at a bank and General Electric. Some of his favorite story topics involved harrowing trips in an old Chevy on the old Cherry Valley Turnpike to visit a girl he was dating back when he was a young man. As he put it, both the roads and the cars were a lot bumpier and the snow piled up deeper back in those days.
As the years went by, Grant kept coming in for his regular appointments wearing an Ivy cap, a pleasant smile, and always offering up a hearty hand shake. We continued to work together to keep those teeth healthy and Grant kept our office supplied with stories of the old days. As he (and we) got yet older, he still had that smile, but he began lamenting the loss of most of his old friends and family. The last couple years, he finally had to give up driving and he had a neighbor bring him in for his regular dental appointments.
The last time I saw him, he wore a tweed Ivy cap, still had a big smile and stories to tell, and most of his natural teeth left. As always, he was a joy to see and a gentleman to all he encountered. He passed a few months later at the ripe old age of 102.