I had ankle fusion surgery this past week and must thank my great surgeon and the Beth Israel Hospital nursing staff for their good care. But all things medical only serve to remind me of the best doc in the world, my dad.
My father Arthur graduated from NYU medical school in 1936 at age 24, yes 24! Raised in Liberty, NY where my Russian immigrant grandparents had a small farm and hotel, my dad went to a one-room schoolhouse for the early grades. He was skipped ahead often, he told us, because he would listen to the much more interesting lessons the teacher was giving to the older kids.
My dad was amazingly gifted in many ways, as a physician and diagnostician, an artist and craftsman, and a self-taught classical pianist. But what I was most proud of as a little girl was that he could ride a horse bare-back, milk a cow and ice skate backwards!
Once years ago I shattered a large glass bowl on my kitchen floor. Shoeless, I stepped on shards of broken glass and went to the local emergency room with a very bloody extremity. But for all their skill and special instruments, they couldn’t get all the slivers out and sent me home with an apology and an X-ray of my foot. My dad came over, held the X-ray up to the little lamp on my night table, and as I lay on my bed he got out all the glass with a bent safety pin.
At his memorial service, my husband called Arthur a combination of Tom Sawyer and Albert Schweitzer. For those who had the great fortune to know my father, that description really nailed him!
Dana Susan Lehrman