Episode 32 features Dr. Saul Kendal, an octogenarian who has been practicing dentistry for fifty-nine years. He’s my dentist and when we began the interview on Tuesday, August 13th, I was partially drooling from my mouth as it had been frozen, so Saul could put a crown in my tooth. I love this man and couldn’t wait to release the interview to my listeners.
Saul was born in Toronto. He was an only child. His parents were Louie and Annie. He was athletic and played basketball (a guard) for his high-school, Harbord Collegiate. Saul excelled at rebounding because he was a big kid. His Dad, was a barber and told a story of how one day while working in a hospital cutting patients hair, he entered a room and found a man sleeping. He figured, ‘okay, I’ll cut his hair anyway’. And he did. Upon exiting the room a nurse asked him what he was doing. He resonded ‘I was cutting the patients hair while he slept.”. The nurse responded, “he’s not sleeping. He’s dead!” Oy!!! Saul loves that story. Me too!
38:00 In this interview, Saul dad was what was called a felsher/barber, a part time ‘doctor’/barber. It’s an old time thing. With that in mind, Saul and I schmoozed about a Yiddish folk remedy his dad practiced called bankus (cupping). Louie would heat up glass cups and place on his customers back, to alleviate pain and help with their conditions. They’d create a suction of sorts. “Did it really help,” I asked. Saul answered, “They seemed to think it helped them”. There is something even more intense than bankus — ge’hakta bankas. Oy! Check them out around the 40:39:00 minute mark. By the way, the red in the pole outside a barber represents bloodletting. Also oy!
Early on the show Saul talks about his six decades as a dentist, giving us good insight into that doctor we all hate going to. 14:08 He loves the job and says it’s a respectedprofession but adds that people don’t like coming to the dentist. The first thing many of his patients tell him is that. Saul says, “it’s not that they don’t like us, but they don’t like what we do.” And he adds, “why should they?” This clearly adds to the stress of being a dentist. Thinking about it it’s true. I dread going to the dentist. How must our dentist feel knowing that? At 15:32 Saul talks about his wife’s sister’s son, who is responsible for Saul’s worst experience ever as a dentist. Have a listen.
The tough part about my schmooze with Saul started at the 48:00 minute mark. Saul and his dear wife, Yetta, are parents to five children, two of whom have passed away. I knew, if I was going to do an interview with my dear friend we’d have to talk about the death of Darren and Neil. It’s heartbreaking to hear about the car accident Darren was in on August 19, 1982. Saul identified his body, saw a chip on his front took, kissed him on the forehead and said, “good-bye”. Saul then said without me asking, “Avrum, you go on with your life.The pain never goes away”.
Later on, 53:20, we talked about Saul’s son, Neil, who died on May 20, 2014. Neil was Susan’s husband, a dad, and he was Saul’s partner in the Dentist office. They worked together for thirty years and at 54:05 Saul says with great pride, “we never had an argument“. Every day, Saul goes into the office and sees Neil’s scribbly script on patient’s charts. “Brings back memories.”
“I never had a strong relationship with God, but after ‘Darren’ and after ‘Neil’, I lost it for sure.” Saul doesn’t pray. But Yetta wants him to go to shul (synagogue) on the High Holidays, so he does.
I asked Saul, after the death of his second son, what he was thinking. He said, “why us.Why did it happen to us. 55:16 We’re not bad people. ” Listen at 57:20 when Saul tells a story about going to a psychic, and telling her about a redbird that appeared at their house for about a month after Neil’s death, and would repeatedly wack its beak against their window. The psychic said it was Neil.
Episode 32 is a story about a couageous man, a dentist of six decades, a dad who stood tall while faced with extreme adversary. The interview with Saul is highly inspirational. He reminds us you have to keep on living. And he does, together with his beautiful wife Yetta, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren – – they should all live long lives. Saul is funny, a storyteller and he is all about friendship. I am grateful to Saul for doing this interview and showing us he is still joyful. I commend him for his courage to talk about the tough stuff.
Have a listen folks, This man really is a gift to all of us! Hatradio! The show that schmoozes.
Thank you to Howard Pasternack for his handy work on Audacity.com and ability to do magic in post-production. Thank you too to my old bud, David Nefesh, who lends an intro and extro to each episode through his original score, the HatRadio! song!
Credit for music in commercial:
“Slow Burn” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
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