To Cuba With Love; Toothbrushes for Peace

The year  1962  and Cuban Memories

Vintage 1950 carsOur patient Cathleen recently informed us she was going to Cuba; the forbidden and largely forgotten island that consists of 1950 and 1940 American cars kept running with duct tape and ingenuity, Cuban cigars, and communist dictators.  Cuba has also been isolated by embargoes, geography and politics for the last 55 years.  We won’t use Cathleen’s full name as I am not sure of the U.S. governments current policy on travel.


The mention of Cuba brought back vivid memories and emotions of 1962 when I was in seventh grade.   America and Russia played a potentially catastrophic game of nuclear chicken during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The popular movies of the time like Dr Strangelove, depicted the absurdity and fragileness of a detente created by mutually assured destruction (MAD), an appropriate acronym. I remember the duck and cover drills in school when you were supposed to get under your desk and cover your face and eyes to shield yourself from the nuclear blast. On the junior high school campus that day in 1962, we were smart enough to realize the gravity of the situation and the debate was more about whether  it would  be better to die in the initial blast rather  than to suffer the agonizing slow death of radiation poisoning.

Mushroom cloud I firmly believe in much of the “live for today” philosophy driving the cultural revolution that so changed our society, and this can be traced back to my generation living under the threat of a single mistake or bad decision that could lead to the obliteration of mankind. For the last several decades, saner policies and politics have prevailed and many of the young people of today have not experienced the sense of foreboding created by the possibility of random annihilation.  Unfortunately, this era of relative “peace” with respect to the possible elimination of mankind seems to be coming to an end and we are entering another era of MADness. OK enough social commentary, I should probably stick to what I know and can control: toothbrushes and smiles.

Tooth Brushes as acts of Kindness

Young cubans happy with their new toothbrushesCan we as individuals change global politics? Probably not, but small acts of individual kindness can’t hurt. For our family it has been distributing over 18,000 tooth brushes over the last 35 years. Every time we have given a tooth brush to a person in need they smile, and that makes the world a better place, if only for that moment.

Toothbrushes to Cuba

So, when Cathleen commented that she was going to Cuba, we offered her toothbrushes to take to the Cuban people. We offer to donate to almost every mission, but this was made more significant because it was Cuba and evoked those emotions from so long ago.The pictures are worth a thousand words….as I said a toothbrush always brings a smile. Can toothbrushes bring world peace? I can only hope. Cathleen did not feel any animosity from the Cuban people, only a need for help.  She related the people were excited, happy and appreciative to receive a toothbrush.

Thanks Again To Sunstar

We again thank the Sunstar Butler company for their generous donations to us that enable us to contribute to others. We use their oral hygiene products personally and in the dental office. My suggestion is to go out and buy some of their toothbrushes if only to support a company that cares about more than just the bottom line.

PS The  blog title is  a play on a popular movie at the time and one of my favorites. Can you guess the name of the James Bond movie?