Sunday, April 29, 2012


I have two more days of work as a dentist.  I remember being accepted to University of Washington Dental School before we were married.  That was in 1972, around Christmas.  Going to Seattle single was not in my plans.  Fortunately Gaye said she would be willing to share my world if I would share hers and we have never looked back.  But that was then and this is now.

My career in dentistry has been a wonderful journey.  The profession has changed a lot since I entered school in September 1973.  Techniques, materials, regulations, costs, the organization of the profession, equipment, attitude of the public, continuing education requirements and opportunities...these and many more aspects of the profession have made dramatic changes.  Most have been good.  Some have not.

The most common question is concerning what I am going to do now that I have all this time on my hands.  I really don't think I will have a problem with being bored.  I have a huge garden to take care of.  In fact I am trying the square foot garden approach this year.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I have my pottery wheel and electric kiln, and a gas kiln that I am trying to get through the building inspection bureaucracy so I can use it.  Stay tuned.  The wood working equipment in the shop is getting bored from not being used enough.  We have kids in Ohio and Alaska (recently moved from Brisbane Australia) and scattered around the Great Basin.

(Actually we love seeing the kids but it is the grandkids that are the real attraction.  Sorry kids, but it is true.)  We get to the Twin Falls temple weekly.  I intend to stay tuned with my violin and the Magic Valley Symphony (we had our final concert of the season two days ago).  I am the assistant primary accompanist at church, which I love.  And I am learning to play the bagpipes.  Yep.  It is like playing 4 oboes or bassoons at once.

I have wanted to play the pipes for ever.  That reminds me of a Wizard of Id comic strip.  A guy is talking to the King, applying for the open position of Chief Torturer.  Asked what his qualifications were he replied proudly, "I can play the accordion and the bagpipes!"  He got the job, of course.

I think the first time I really heard the wail of bagpipes was in East London South Africa when I was there for a missionary business meeting.  There was a parade down town and a band marched past.  The sound nearly took my breath away.  Some of my ancestors are from Scotland.  Maybe it really is in my genes.  I tune in Thistle and Shamrock on NPR and any other program that plays Celtic music.  We went to Ricks College a few years ago to see the Black Watch.  I actually shed tears because the music was so stirring.  I have been thinking about learning to play but not knowing how to get started.  Then there was an article in our local paper about a bagpipe band in Twin Falls.  Are you kidding!  I immediately contacted the band leader and I will pick up my practice chanter next Tuesday.  I have already been practicing the fingering for the first 5 notes by holding a long pencil and moving my fingers to mimic the chanter.  They say it takes 4-6 months with the practice chanter before one is ready to graduate to the pipes.  I intend to do it a lot sooner than that because we will be on a mission by the end of September.

So there you have it.  Gaye will have a few things for me to do around the homestead, I am sure, but there are plenty of activities planned.  Oh, did I tell you I am learning to play the bagpipes?

That's it for now.


  1. Bagpipes!?!? Wow! I remember that concert we went with you to in Rexburg. It was AMAZING! You are cool. Working on your bucket list! Can't wait to hear it! -- em

  2. That is so awesome! I should have known. I always thought someone needed to play the pipes. We are of the McGreggor clan, after all. If your kiln doesn't get approved, you could take it out and use the new shed as a practice room. Those pipes are loud. When we lived in Nova Scotia, we could hear them literally a mile away.