Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dear Doctor Buller

I didn't write this. My mom did. But it was just too beautiful not to share.

Through so many important
events in my life, his
gentle, calm voice was there.
"It's a little boy and he is
just fine."
"If there is pie, Mary Belle,
I'll make a house call."
"Okay, Stephen, now say,
'Proceed to precipitate on a
perpendicular point of projection."
(That means, "Go
sit on a tack," and that kid
said it to everybody he met
until I made him stop.)
"Someday you'll be glad
that Amanda is so strong
"Now Amanda has that
little sister she wanted."
"I'm sorry, Joyce, your
Mommy's gone."
"Carrie is out of surgery,
and she did great. She is such
a good girl."
"Dear Doctor Buller," as
daughter Amanda has always
called him, was a part
of so many lives and such a
part of mine. As a teenager,
I was a babysitter for the
Bullers1 daughter, Brenda.
Dr. Buller was there when
my son, Steve, was born.. .the
first child he had ever delivered
outside a hospital. (I
was young and thought having
a baby was supposed to
REALLY hurt, but it didn't
and it only took me 30 minutes.
Thank goodness he
lived right up the street.)
After that, the two of them
had a special relationship,
with Dr. Buller often taking
Steve to play with his son,
Nathan. Years later, Dr.
Buller was the one who had
to tell Steve and our family
that Steve's newborn daughter
Nicole, had a severe birth
defect. Dr. Buller's tears
flowed right along with ours.
My Mom, Mary Belle,
worked for Dr. Buller for a
number of years, and they
were great friends, along
with office staff, Claudina
Baker, RN, and Sis Eakins.
There was a full-size plastic
skeleton in one of the back
rooms at the office, and one
evening, my Mom put a lab
coat on it. The next time she
went back there, she found
that Dr. Buller had put a
cigarette in its mouth. After
that, there was no telling
what that skeleton was going
to be wearing or doing.
My Dad was hardly able
to get around, so when he
was sick, Dr. Buller would
come after office hours, then
would stay to visit and have
a piece or two of Mom's pie.
Doc was right when he
declared that Amanda's being
"strong willed" wasn't a
bad thing. She might have a
tantrum all the way to his
office, but the moment he
appeared, that little girl
would turn into an angel.
"Dear Doctor Buller," she
would say, and he couldn't
understand why I was so
completely frazzled. But that
strong will saw her through
breast cancer, surgery, and
treatment, all the while keeping
her sense of humor and
The man who had delivered
Amanda's little sister,
Carrie, was the man who
later held Carrie and rocked
her as she came out of anesthetic
after he set her broken
arm. He was the man who,
while giving physicals at
school, saw Amanda get hurt
on the playground, literally
picked her up, took her to his
office and sewed up her cut
leg, and she didn't even ask
for Dad and Mom.
He was the man who babysat
Am anda while Rusty and
I took classes before Carrie
was born. His wife, Lorraine,
must have been dismayed
when she arrived home from
teaching the classes to find
he had let Amanda play with
anything she wanted to and
the house was cluttered with
He was the man who gave
five year old Steve a shot to
lower his fever in the middle
of the night, saying, "This is
going to hurt, Stephen, and I
am so sorry." To which Steve
replied, post-shot, with tears
running down his face,
"Thank you, Doctor Buller."
Many years later, I took
Steve's four year old son,
Dusty, in with a bad cough.
Dr. Buller concentrated on
reading the chart, while trying
to also entertain Dusty.
"How old are you," he asked.
"I'm four," said the kid.
Minutes later, as he
looked into Dusty's ears and
then gave him the little flashlight
to take home, Dr. Buller
asked again, "Now, how old
are you?" Dusty gave me a
puzzled look, then said, "I'm
still four."
The man whom my Mom
thought of so highly was
there when she breathed her
last breath. My Dad had died
six months before, and she
had just given up. I confessed
to him that I couldn't forget
that her last words were
"Help me.I'll always rememberwhat
he said then. "Joyce, I have
seen a lot of people die. She
wasn't asking you for help.
She wasn't even looking at
us. She was looking across to
the Other Side, and she was
talking to someone there. I
truly believe she saw Jesus,
your Daddy, and your two
little babies, and the rest of
her loved ones, and she is
there with them now."
1 have known many a
preacher who hasn't had as
much effect on people's souls
as he did.
So,I truly believe he is
now "on the Other Side," and
maybe he and my Mom are
having a piece of Heavenly
pie, while he says to my Dad,
with that twinkle in his eyes,
"Ernest, I toldyou those cigarettes
would kill you."
He was an extraordinary
man, was Dear Doctor Buller.
We will all miss him.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


His hair is silver. When did that happen? As he walked along the canyon helping me search for a Christmas tree, I watched my daddy, and I wondered, when did he age? I’ve watched him all these years and never noticed the process of him getting older. He’s not old, but he is older. You can see the difference when you look at pictures or watch home videos. This once dark headed man now is gray and thinning. The lines on his skin show the years. Yet, he can still out walk any of us in that old canyon.
Not only has he changed physically, he has changed mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I have watched my daddy all these years but never noticed how much he has changed. He has evolved into one of the most amazing men I will ever know.
When you are growing up you think your dad can do everything, cuz he’s your dad. Through your teen years you begin to doubt that he can anything, cuz he’s your dad.
And then when you get older you know that he can’t do everything, but that that’s okay…cuz well, he’s your dad.
When we were little we rode with daddy on the tractor and we watched as he turned the ground and made things grow and thrive. We thought he was the most amazing man ever! One winter, it came a beautiful snow. My nephew went downstairs and looked out the window at the snow-covered ground and said, “Look what Pa do now!” He really believed that my daddy could make it snow. And I thought, “That’s my dad!”
My daddy has always worked hard. He took over the family farm at the age of 15. He didn’t complain. He just did what he could do. One of the things my dad is famous for saying is, “Well, it’s not the best in the world, but it’ll do”. He usually says this after he has pounded on it with his pliers or wrapped it up in duct tape.
I have always been a daddy’s girl. I would rather ride the tractor or check cattle with my dad than go shopping. He used to let me play in the shop while he worked. I had my very own hammer and as many nails as a block of wood would hold.
My dad has many sides. He’s your average farmer; taking care of cattle and working ground. But he also has a softer side.
He was and I think, given the chance would still be, the best braider in the world. He could braid my hair when I was younger in seconds.
When I was sick or sad I used to lay my head in my dad’s lap and he would comb my hair. It was such a comfort to have a daddy who was compassionate.
When I was much older and was having a hard time deciding what I should do with my future and felt like a complete failure, I sat down in the living room and put my head in my daddy’s lap and cried once again. And just like he had done all those years ago, he combed my hair and comforted me.
This might sound strange to some, but to us kids, it’s just what daddies do. Daddies are tough when they need to be but are kind and gentle too.
Don’t get me wrong-he was a disciplinarian. We got spankin’s and we deserved them! But he never spanked us with anything other than his hand and I think, honestly, that it hurt our little ego’s more than anything.
When I was in junior high school my dad would pick me up so I didn’t have to ride the bus. There were a couple of the foster-home boys that had got to know my dad through the newspaper. They were good athletes so he would come up to take pictures for the paper. They started calling him dad. He would often give them a ride home from school if they needed it. You would hear all kinds of kids say “hey dad” when he would walk down the hall. It was at those times that I would think, “That’s my dad. The guy that everyone loves is MY DAD.” And it made me proud.
My dad has grown so much in the past years. He has gone from this quiet, shy guy who would never even dare get up in public and speak, to this confidant man who goes around to churches speaking the gospel of Christ.
He is a song leader at our church. He works with the youth. He even witnesses to the guys at the coffee shop.
One Sunday, as my dad delivered the Communion Meditation, I just sat there and thought to myself, “That’s my dad. That amazing man up there is my father. How blessed am I?”
I was born into a family with two wonderful parents who love each other and their children. And I realize that most kids aren’t as blessed as me. And frankly, that breaks my heart.
But my daddy has become a father and grandfather to many of those kinds of kids. He doesn’t care who you are or where you come from, he will be your friend if you need one.
My daddy is quiet at most times. It takes a long time to get him angry but when he gets to that point, you should watch out. He is not a violent man, but with one look he can straighten your attitude immediately.
My daddy gives respect and deserves respect.
He will probably never be famous outside of our family.
But he is the kind of man that can change the world around him.
This world is a better place for having had him it in.
He is still quite young and as he continues to get older, he continues to do more. He doesn’t slow down and I don’t see him starting too anytime soon. In fact he is accomplishing more and more each new day. And we are learning each new day from him. He has shown us how to be a parent, friend, leader and well, just a good person.
And that day as I watched my dad walk along the canyon, dressed in his “stripy overalls”, tears filled my eyes. Not because I was sad, but because my heart overflowed with joy and love. And once again I thought to myself, “That’s my dad.”