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HERB BENHAM: More praise worthy of a smile

Retirement, as opposed to death, has its advantages if you've done good work, like Shirley Man has, because you're able to enjoy the nice things people say about you.

Shafter's Margo Siler leads off:

"Thank you for the column last Sunday about Dr. Man. She was our dentist for many years and I recommended her to any of our friends looking for a dentist.

"I will miss her great skills as a dentist, but most of all I will miss her wonderful life stories. She is one of a kind!"


Sandy Larson, who also received the letter from Shirley Man announcing her retirement, seconded the motion:

"I knew what was in that dang letter so I didn't open it. She can't retire yet! I only found her about 10 years ago and it was like finding a miracle.

"The dentist I deserted told me a cracked tooth was causing the pain in my bite, I needed crowns, my fillings and bridge were failing and that my hysterical nature was increasing my pain. Guilting me was the final clue.

"In a panic, I went to see my friend's dentist. She told me amazing stories about this woman with a huge wonderful laugh, who loved her job, whose staff loved her and was proud of her skills.

"The first visit she filed down the repair that was causing the bite pain (no cracked tooth!!) She repaired the fill-ins on my chipped front teeth which are still in place all these years.

"So I am in denial. If I don't open that letter, it's not going to happen, right?"


Skye Knight Dent emailed regarding the column on writing your own obit:

"Hi Herb. You must never have covered crime or fires as a journalist. Everyone I know like me not only has written and rewritten their obits over the years, but placed a second name on their bank accounts so that person does not have to come out of pocket for funeral costs."


Former Californian reporter and retired high school teacher Jim Carnal emailed.

"Hey, if I had known your column was intended to be funny, I could have been feeding comedic gold for years. Hopefully, I staved off your retirement for another week."

Thanks a lot, Jim.


Carnal's wingman, Pete Tittl, comments on the price of being a fan.

"Back in 1997, I spent $200 on a share of the Green Bay Packers.

"The stock is essentially worthless. It's a certificate to hang on my classroom wall.

"Had I spent that $200 on Apple stock, which was then selling for about $13 and has since split several times. that investment would now be worth in excess of $252,000."

I understand, Pete, but would you trade that money for the pleasure of watching Aaron Rodgers for the last 16 years? That's worth a couple hundred thousand dollars isn't it?


Judy Urrutia responded on replacing the wood burning fireplace with a gas insert:

"I enjoyed reading your story, 'A Wood Goodbye.' My father had the quote: 'Every man looks at his woodpile with a kind of affection.' (Henry David Thoreau, "Walden," Chapter 13. Housewarming.) He truly did regard it with affection, as you did your 'seasoned-for-two summers olive wood.'

"Judging from your uplifting style, I'm sure you are already looking at your new gas insert with affection.

"I enjoy your stories, and best of luck with your new fireplace."


The air quality is not ideal but isn't this cool/cold weather wonderful? Great walking weather, working outside weather and just being alive weather.

Cooler weather awakens our industrious genes. Brining the turkey and getting it ready to smoke for Thanksgiving (the backup turkey and it will be the one people will want to snack on).

After Thanksgiving, it's time to make some honey wheat berry bread. Nothing better.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at or 661-395-7279.


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