After The Day’s Work Is Done

“Cogitations”

By C.M. QUILLEN, D.D.S. Bristol, Va.

            Hands! Hands! Beautiful hands; grimy hands. Hands that are caloused, artistic and pretty hands, hands that are toil worn and hands that are toil worn and hands that are aged. I don’t know what has started me off on this subject of hands, as I sit here tonight and look at mine, the dentist’s hands, and it might have been the expert flying fingers of the cashier at the ticket office of the picture show as my wife and I have just returned from there and I admired the adeptness of this young lady passing me my change and just as adeptly taking charge of the next party in line behind me.

Or it might have been my young daughter’s hands who is into most everything with them, and I have often looked at them, trying to manage her knife and fork correctly at the table, and playing with her dolls and her expert manipulation with them and the dolly tea things she in her make-believe world gives tea parties for these dollies of hers. Or (uhoh! It might have been my wife’s hands that I was thinking about and gave me this idea about hands. They were young and supple and willing back in our courtship days when we used to play hands, and uhoh! again! The dentist is very busy man. He is an imaginative man. He is also a smart and I think a wise man. He usually picks a helpmate who sticks to him and if his adept and skillful fingers are young and gay or toil worn and old he will usually find the selfsame fingers of this same better half or two-thirds or three fourths or whatever you want to call her still going along with him in either fresh marriage or old age).

But getting back to hands! As I have said, beautiful hands; the hands of the sculptor; the hands of the artist; the hands of the dentist; the hands of the physician; the lawyer’s hands; millions of hands throughout the Universe; the hands of the grocery clerk; the dishwasher’s hands; the hands of color, red, white, brown, yellow, mixed or what have you. They are there, millions and millions and trillions of hands who carry on the commerce and step up civilization a notch or two as we go along for those who come along after us to carry on further in progress, or just as well, (what have you? Suppose we let future generations take care of this feature and let them work out what suits them best concerning what they will do with their hands. We may have enough to do and keep us busy in taking care of our own hands and what we do with them).

I was thinking of creative hands before I flew off at a tangent and a little slow in getting back into line again, and these were the hands of the dentist and what he does with them. Also throughout the world there are a good many of these and some of these hands working now as I sit here tonight writing this, down under where the sun is coming up as we go to bed with some of us going to work and some retiring for the night as this sun goes up and this sun goes down and dentists at work throughout the world relieving pain and aiding people back to good health and letting folks smile again by closing up the gaps in vacant mouth where teeth have been lost through decay.

A great work the dentists do throughout the world, Greece or Abyssinia, the U.S.A., or for that matter anywhere else, and that through creative minds which guide their creative hands. They do useful services for mankind meritorous and worthwhile which makes of him a wonderful man although not a great man since you might not be able to classify him as such because he would have to have the auro of divinity hovering around his head if you classified him thuswise.

He does really and truly wonderful things with his creative and nimble hands. Magic maybe, or perhaps, the miracle touch as he takes the nerve of this tooth which has kept some rich dowager up all night or for that matter, the girl who works downtown who is suffering this pain of decay, which inevitably gets us all as dust to dust is inevitable and a mute thing which no one can escape, teeth or anything else, and the dentist relieves this pain for them; in fact, they smile again after a few minutes when the dentist waves his magic wand, as it were, block anaesthesia we call it over here, and he removes this offending member which has kept our dowager up with pain, or the young man or the old man or the girl who works down town or any of the other sufferers of humanity who might come under his sway for relief.

They do this. The dentists with their nimble fingers relieve pain and other things in their line to help mankind. I do not wish to give him a boost or make him feel that he might be an exceptional man, but he goes on his way and, day by day, folks smile again as he replaces teeth lost by nature and restores these unsightly mouths, aids people back to health and relieves his quota of pain which beset the human race and take it all in a matter of common place rather than the exceptional thing by him. He might be at that more than a common place man in the eternal scheme of things.

And he does these things with his creative hands.

Reynolds Arcade Bldg.

Bristol, Virginia.