In a rustic barn-like structure,
Hidden behind a lovely home with a grand porch,
Accessed by a stroll down a tree-lined gravel driveway,
Could be found the enchanted realm of Dr. Howard Rusty Schlachter.
First youd notice the popular collection of toy trucks
Scattered amongst the gravel near the door,
Welcoming visiting children to play with them.
Then, upon opening the door,
Youd step into a charming, rough-hewn, wood-paneled place,
Filled with old-fashioned wooden toys,
Like a kitchen, a big airplane you could ride on, a wagon,
And plenty of other wondrous things to behold:
Friendly Big Bird greeting you from his perch up in the rafters;
On a high shelf to the right, a bird cage, home to lively, chatty finches;
To the left, long benches lining the walls where you could sit and rest
(if you didnt feel like playing).
The path led to Dr. Schlachter himself,
Through the greenhouse with its forest of giant, shrub-sized flowering plants,
Hung with a whimsical birdhouse or two,
Where your wandering feet found themselves walking on a red brick path,
Perfect for this lush, indoor garden...
Then it was onward to either the room on the right,
With one tall and one small painted rocking chair
(Goldilocks and other kids of all ages would find one of them just right);
The tall beam scale that youd stand on as Dr. S. would take his time
adjusting the small sliding weight for accuracy;
A fishtank atop a cabinet;
A big monkey watching you from his hangout near the ceiling;
And, lower down, a fabulous singing shark (you had to push the red button),
Which our son remembers Dr. Schlachter turning off after a few rounds and saying,
with a gentle pat on the sharks head,
Thats enough now, Sharky.
This happened just before Dr. Schlachter discovered and identified
Michaels impressive case of shingles.
Dr. Ss reaction? Cool!!!
(Bless him, it was a lot more reassuring than mine!)
Michael always appreciated that.
Or the room to the left,
With the antique-but-still-in-use baby scale,
The small medicine cabinet filled with tiny toy cars and favorite characters
like Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob,
The stethoscope with furry little animals hanging onto it,
Including a raccoon, a panda bear, and even a unicorn!
And the shelves filled with lovely framed photos of Dr. Schlachter and his family,
Some of them having captured fond memories of fishing adventures,
A standout being the one of Dr. S. nose-to-nose with a llama.
And then Dr. Schlachter walked in.
He was tall and he was quiet.
He listened and he was gentle.
He was funny, too
Sometimes he found something surprising,
Like when he looked into our daughter Carolines ear...and there was Clifford!
Or the puzzled look on his face after he tried to tickle her...but she just wasnt ticklish.
(How each of us in our family could relate to having also discovered
this particular immunity of hers.)
He was caring. He was wise.
He was patient with his patients...
and especially with their parents.
He was a very good doctor and a very good man.
Dr. Howard Rusty Schlachter,
Remembered with Smiles,
Remembered with Fondness,
Remembered with Gratitude,
Remembered with Love.
With deepest sympathy and blessings to Dr. Schlachters Family
Lea Cahill & Family