This is a typical Vermont scene. There is nothing special about the photo. It seems there is a photogenic moment around every corner in Vermont. Still, there is something about the photo I find special.
I was in Vermont working for Vermont Dental Care my first year out of Dental School. The program provided care for underserved children. There are a lot of great things about Vermont and I was tempted to settle there. Then it became clear to me that I would never be a Vermonter. Vermonters talk about the new people down the road who have been there for 30 years.
Still I was considering spending a second year in Vermont. I enjoyed the work but the money was awful even for a new dentist. I thought I deserved more than the standard raise in my new contract. I got a flat no. And the Director said I had to decide by tomorrow if I was signing or not.
I was sitting in the backyard trying to decide what to do when the phone rang. It was a man with a British accent calling from Saskatchewan. I thought everyone in Saskatchewan must have an accent. He asked me if I was still interested in working in Saskatchewan. I had read that Saskatchewan started a children’s dental program that used dental therapists. I loved the concept and wrote a letter saying I’d be interested in working there. That was more than a year earlier.
I’m sure I sounded over anxious when I told him I was still very interested and his timing was great. I had to make a decision about my current job tomorrow. He said he couldn’t make me an offer until I came up for an interview. I took a gamble and didn’t sign on for year two in Vermont. I got the Saskatchewan job which paid six times as much as Vermont. More important, it was the best dental job in the world for me. That’s why I moved on from dentistry when the Saskatchewan Children’s Dental Program was dissolved by Saskatchewan’s Grant Devine government. And, I have to say, the people in Saskatchewan are a lot friendlier.