3/12/42 - That Little Black Drill BY-WAYS - That Little Black Drill

That little black drill!
its whirring is still
In my mind's ear, as down comes the "crane,"
And tackles the rock
Of my teeth with a shock,
And raises - not dirt- but Old Cain.
Those cables and pulleys
Are demoniac bullies
That scare me to stark rigor mortis;
Cut a cute dental caper -
But with torture as slow as a tortoise
The balm - Novocain -
Takes away all the pain,
But there's something about that tooth-drilling
That puts crimps and curves
In a smooth set of nerves,
And sets the blood stream all a-chilling
If I miss the bus
To Heaven, and thus
Have to serve time on Hades' hot grill -
Til my conscience is clear -
Let me roast 'til I'm sere,
But don't use that little black drill.


Come to think of it, this is a dreadful introduction to an article on dentistry - that is supposed to convey favorable publicity for that fine profession. I wanted to give this article special treatment - with a poem, and this is what came out.

Well, that little black drill and I had an awful session when I was about 15, (not Dr. Pearce - bless his gentle hands!) and, although I lived through it, I have never been quite the same since.

The fine dentist that I'm going to write about not only uses the little black drill (or is it gunmetal gray?) but uses the old-fashioned foot treadle. You remember reading about the old circuit preachers. Well, this man is a "circuit" dentist" - except that he makes only half a circuit, and then retraces his steps, or, more correctly, his boat course. Who in the world would lug his dentist chair, treadle drill, and all the elaborate equipment around in a boat? None other than Dr. Anker Baregard, Greenland's only dentist.

During these winter months, when travel in Greenland is prohibitive, Dr. Baregard is taking a course at the school of dentistry, Western Reserve University, of Cleveland, to keep abreast of progress in dentistry since 1939, when the government of Denmark sent him to Greenland in the interest of better mastication, and "that smile of beauty" that we hear about over the radio.

A brief story of Dr. Baregard and his temporary stay here appeared in our morning paper recently, I found that he is living with his married brother, right here in South Euclid. After securing the moral support of our own dentist, I called up Dr. Baregard and asked if I might call on him.

The trepidation I felt at ringing a strange door-bell was soon dispelled by the kindly hospitality of his young sister-in-law. If she, with her sweet earnestness, is a fair representative of Denmark, then I should just love the people of Denmark. Her little two-year-old girl has the beautiful Danish golden blond hair - just like her tooth-minded uncle.

Dr. Baregard was most kind - and generous with his time. For two hours we poured over pictures, a marvelous book on Greenland. But I must save those for another time.

Greenland, as you know, is a Danish possession. Until this awful war came upon them, Denmark took the best of care of her protoges on that island, the largest in the world, except Australia, of course, only 15% of Greenland is habitable - just a little fringe along the coast, with most of the settlements on the southwest coast. The Greenlanders receive free hospital, medical, and dental care.

In May Dr. Baregard loads up his 22-ft. motor boat with his dental equipment, takes his assistant, and heads northward. He covers 1,000 miles in his round trip. Every town or village in Greenland is accessible by boat. He sets up his clinic in each town.

"But how do they know you are coming?" I asked, for there are no telephones, few telegraph offices, and limited mail service (about once a month).

"I send my schedule well in advance. Each little town has its own newspaper. The notice is always inserted in this paper."

Just imagine what good news that must be to some poor Eskimo who has had a toothache all winter.

Until the white man began bringing in highly refined foods, the Greenlanders hardly needed a dentist. White flour and sugar shortage would be a boon to these people, for then they would eat more fish, whale, caribou, and other native foods, rich in vitamins, to the benefit of their molars and bicuspids.

During the winter months Dr. Baregard spends all his time writing up a complete history of each case under his care. He studies the famly history, in regard to pyorrhea, etc., and thus reaches definite conclusions.

Next week I want to tell you more about this kindly young man and land which he calls "Paradise." ***

The war news is not good. Let us raise our voices - to be heard across this great land: violent protest against idle days in defense plants, against the hoarding of sugar and all rationed items, against the buying of "bootleg" tires, against all these unpatriotic things. We are not keeping faith with young Jack Daub, and all our splendid young men who have given their very lives, if we fail to fight with all the tools at hand - to preserve the freedom and the honor of this land of ours.

Loyally yours, America!
Florence B. Taylor

Next - 3/19/42 - More about Greenland

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