I had the honor of dining with Dr. Dale Stewart and his wife last evening. We had been planning something like this for a while. He is my fiancees boss, he an emergency room physician and her an ER nurse. We were indebted to Dale for helping us out with a problem concerning our grandson who had unfortunately come down with a rash. His mother, had taken Conner to two different dermatologists and the most they could offer was nasty concoctions and painful cauterization of the lesions. Nothing seemed to be working and the toddler wasn't happy about it. When we told Dale about it he immediately whipped out a pad and gave us an RX for some pills. Conners rash went away. It was like a miracle. Dr. Stewart is an old school doc who worked on Indian reservations when he was just starting his practice. He is not above using unconventional techniques in his treatments of patients who wander in with vague complaints. He is not quick on the draw to order an expensive and often unnecessary CAT scan, or an MRI. I like that about him.
So to thank him, we had planned to have them come up to our lake house for a BBQ and had everything set. We had gone down to Bakersfield where he lives to run some errands and the plan was to have them follow us back up the canyon so they wouldn't have to worry about directions. Just as we were traveling down the freeway to join with them at their house which was on the way, we heard about an accident in the canyon which was causing a traffic jam. This wasn't our first rodeo and knowing it would take a while to clear out even the most minor of accidents, we called them and suggested we have dinner in Bakersfield. Red Lobster was the popular choice and we met them there and enjoyed a fantastic meal. We talked of writing our novels. Dale had published his recently and thought we could join together in an upcoming book fair. Then we followed them to their home. I had known Dale was also an amateur magician and had seen him perform at hospital functions and on stage. We had even gone with him to the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, a members only magic club. Best night ever for me as I am a magic aficionado. We must have seen 8 magic shows that night as well as a gourmet meal.
We entered his home and noticed it was decorated with Indian decor, rugs, wall art and figurines throughout. There were also pictures of famous magicians signed and hung proudly. We saw some photos of Dale levitating someone on stage and even some black and white photos of him with a stethoscope listening to a toddlers lungs when he was much younger.
We got the 25 cent tour of his home and saw where his office was and it was adorned with many magic props and even a guillotine. A magic hat graced one shelf with a white rabbit sniffing the edge. A wand, magic handcuffs and of course magic cards. Dale is a wizard at the close up magic. I had secretly hoped we would be rewarded with a private magic show but the hour was late and it wasn't in the cards. Pun intended.
We sat and talked and Mrs. Stewart played her baby grand piano for us. We felt rather special. Then she regaled us with a story about an artifact proudly displayed near the fireplace. It was a simple hand hewn wooden bowl, with a corn cob of multicolored kernels. She handled it like it was a priceless artifact. She showed a handful of pictures as she told the story and Dale was hard pressed to not jump in and tell the story himself much to our amusement. But this time Mrs. Stewart had the stage. She told us how when they lived on the Indian Res in New Mexico, treating the indigenous population, they were befriended by the local shaman. Doctor Stewart was well loved by the people I suspect. When Dale and his wife had their first born son on the Res the shaman came and asked if she could bless him. This was fifty years ago, but Mrs. Stewart was telling the story like it was yesterday. She said the woman laid their son on a blanket and took the bowl and the corn cob and after dipping it into the bowl, anointed his head, neck, shoulders, chest and abdomen and said some mumbo jumbo. Then she cradled him in her arms and the picture showed him looking up at her in almost a madonna like pose. Then she arose and took him outside into the morning light and held him up to the sun and pronounced from then on he would be called Awana. We all had tears in our eyes. Dale said that his son still uses Awana as his email name.
We left only after assurances we would get to go to the Magic Castle again and that they would come up to the lake house soon for the promised BBQ. It was a very good night for me. You can find Dale Stewarts book on Amazon.com at http://www.135lifeprinciples.com/author.php