There’s No Place Like Home!
Thirty years ago I arrived in Wayland as a 25 year old dentist fresh out of school. I had been to Wayland a couple times visiting my friend Dave Martin from college, but I didn’t know more than a couple people. I felt isolated, a little lonely and nervous about what the future held in this small town.
I still remember the first time someone recognized me and waved. It felt so good to realize that maybe I could fit in here. I came to discover that Wayland wasn’t just a small town, but also a wonderful, caring community. People were open and friendly. They seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. Relationships formed, friendships grew and a feeling of belonging started to settle in.
It didn’t happen over-night and not everyone was as accepting as others. It was years before; “You’re not from Wayland” wasn’t something I heard on a regular basis. But things did get better and better.
I did my best to embrace the community. I was involved in Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, the city Planning Commission, and Wayland City Council. I helped with organizing Summerfest, served on school panels and currently help out with the Wayland Union Education Foundation. I didn’t feel any duty or pressure to do these things, I just wanted to help.
I spent time talking to my patients. Letting them get to know me as I got to know them. This year we recognized the patients that have been with me for 30 years. I can’t thank them enough for giving me a chance and trusting me to do the best I can for them. But I really owe each and every patient my heart-felt gratitude for making my job and my life such an enjoyable experience.
My days at work are as much social as dental. I love talking to old friends and meeting new people. I enjoy giving someone a hard time or getting picked on by someone who doesn’t seem worried that I am holding sharp objects in their mouths. I find rewards in helping a scared, nervous patient through a “terrifying experience”. My days are never better than when I get to have fun with kids who are happy to be at the dentist. If only some of their parents were as comfortable in the dental chair as they are.
Looking back over 30 years I think of all the relationships I have become a part of. Friends, neighbors, patients, co-workers, fellow business owners, fellow committee members and even a few people that I didn’t see eye to eye with. They have all added up to a great life. I truly love Wayland. I am glad I moved here. I am proud to have raised a family here. I wouldn’t go back and change a thing. The little I have given back pales in comparison to what Wayland has given me: A Home!
Thanks for reading, and Happy Holidays!