Ode to the Doppich

I’ve been sorting through boxes of memorabilia because we’re moving this weekend, and I found this gem among some of my mom’s things. It was handwritten, but I’ve transcribed it here for posterity because when the muse struck her, she wrote some really brilliant verse. A few context notes follow.

Ode to the Doppich*

A story is spreading, I hear,
Of a dentist, known both far and near
Who, bored with the drilling
And cavity-filling
Decided to end his career.

Did he waste his free time in a chair?
Our retired DDS? Au contraire!
He spent hours galore
Doing hobby and chore
And the time flew around without care.

One day, on a wood-cutting spree
He decided to carve up a tree.
His Bunyanish feat
Was an optical treat
Fit for all of the townfolk to see.

His chain-saw started to groan,
And its teeth he decided to hone.
So he said, “I won’t linger,
I’ll just use my finger!”
And he cut it right through – past the bone!

I would bet you an abscessed incisor
The amateur lumberjack’s wiser.
He’s now well aware
He gave Peep a scare
When he sculpted his bloody ol’ geiser.

Now his right hand is noting all this
kind attention from Peep, John, and Sis,
So it said, “I will try
To determine if I
Can join Left Hand in sweet shredded bliss.”

So, conniving to outwit them all,
Right Hand made Roy stumble and fall.
But it fumed and it fussed
For the plan was a bust
‘Cause a tendon’s no match for a wall.

Golf will be tough, you can bet.
And papering a ceiling’s worse yet.
And Peep wants to go
(Education, you know)
To see how much learnin’ she’ll get.

Will Roy pack his splints and his tapes
To accompany Peep on her traipse?
Will he try out his feet
(I hear they’re real neat)
On the San Joaquin Valley’s prime grapes?

The story is now up to date.
For the sequel we surely can wait!
Does he test his endurance?
(He has no insurance!)
Is “doppich” a word he should hate?

Contributed with love, sympathy and compassion by a college-educated niece-in-law, who only last summer very intelligently stabbed herself in the hand with her sharpest butcher knife while attempting to pry apart frozen hamburger patties, thereby necessitating two stitches, one tetanus shot, and three follow-up visits. (Name withheld.)


*Doppich: Originated in Lancaster County, PA, from Pennsylvania German doppich (“clumsy”), related to German täppisch (“clumsy”).

Uncle Roy was my Grandma Sara’s brother, and had a dental practice in Millerstown. He took up woodworking in retirement, and this is the story of a little “accident.” I have a couple of wooden boxes he made – they are wonderful. My mom was quite fond of him.

Peep = “Aunt Peep”, his wife (Mildred). “John and Sis” – I assume are his children (Sis must be Sue). The “traipse” is a reference to the traveling Roy and Peep did in retirement. If I remember correctly, they visited all 50 states? Or most of them, anyway!

That note at the end about the butcher knife? I remember it clear as day. Lots of blood. I never much liked that knife after that.

The Gelnett Siblings: Roy, Sara, Violet, Mae and Oscar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s