Teeth maketh the man

April 1, 2001
I've known Henry for years. We met when my family lived in South Georgia. Henry and I shared a passion for making model airplanes and flying them in free flight competition.

Don Dible

I've known Henry for years. We met when my family lived in South Georgia. Henry and I shared a passion for making model airplanes and flying them in free flight competition. He was a fixture at the meetings. You would see him in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, flying his beautiful creations and winning the "Over-70's Free Flight Com-petition" four years in a row.

Everyone knew Henry. It wouldn't be a meeting if we didn't see him chasing a plane across a field, his sandy hair flying in the breeze, his tall, thin figure running fast for a man his age. Henry was the retired farmer with the toothless grin.

"Why don't you make Henry some teeth?" someone asked me one day. "You're a dentist. Couldn't you fix him up?"

"Yes, I'll do it," I promised. I waved at Henry and motioned him to stroll on over to where I was standing. "Come and see me in Monroe sometime. I'll make you some teeth, and it won't cost you anything."

Ten days later, Henry showed up at the office for impressions. About a week after that, I had his dentures ready. They made a huge improvement in the old man's appearance. It gave me a great feeling when he drove away in his truck, waving and flashing those gleaming new pearly whites at me.

Henry missed the next two competitions, and it was about a year before I saw him again. There he was, standing at the edge of the field, tall and straight, the sandy hair neatly cut, his weathered face split in a wide smile. The teeth made him look 10 years younger! There was something else about him, too.

He looked excited and happy; and he smiled and smiled and smiled.

"Are you flying in this round, Henry?" I asked.

"Nope. Don't do that no more. I'm done with flying. Ain't got time for model airplanes. See that pretty woman over there? She don't look 60, does she?"

"She's very attractive, Henry. But how come you're not in the Over-70 Competition? Are you staying out this year so that someone else can have a chance at winning?"

"Nope. I'm staying out because I'm done with it. That woman over there likes me. She likes the way I smile. We do everything together. She don't build model airplanes. See, Doc, I ain't got time for model airplanes, and I ain't got time for any of you - now that I got me some teeth."

"Teeth Maketh the Man" was written by Kenneth Grubbs, DDS. EXTRAS are great Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul stories edited by co-author and keynote speaker, Don Dible, for which there simply wasn't enough room in the book. Not sold in stores, Chicken Soup for the Dental Soul is available by phone toll-free at (800) 247-6553 or by mail from DMD House, 1250 Oakmead Parkway, Suite 210, Sunnyvale, CA 94085 for $12.95 plus $4 shipping. Quantity discounts available. You may contact Don Dible at [email protected].