Laughs, memories shared at Dr. David Bryan’s Pilot Club Roast

Published 4:27 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

Continuous laughter filled the dining room at Howard Johnson’s Thursday evening as friends and colleagues shared memories and situations they had experienced with veterinarian, Dr. David Bryan, the subject of the annual Pilot Club Roast.

Long-time friend of Bryan, Thad Pettyjohn, acted as the emcee, and he kept the stories flowing in between his introduction of other speakers.

He attempted to define the unique character of Bryan, first calling him a rascal and  noted his use of “colorful language.” He went on to enumerate the five finer qualities of Bryan, being that he loves God, loves his wife Kathy, loves his family, loves people and loves animals.

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Many references were made by many of the speakers as to Bryan’s frugal nature and his apparent disregard for style.

Pettyjohn produced a pair of tennis shoes said to have been worn by Bryan from junior high school on through adulthood. The now bronzed shoes were placed on the table..

Dr. Jon McRae told of his experiences going anywhere with Bryan, especially to Andrew’s Oyster Bar, where he knew everyone, including all their dogs and cats. A humorous story he told was about an ugly “doo doo” brown sport coat David wore to church one Sunday, that still had the price tag and red dot sale sticker on the back.

McRae also introduced the fabled story of Dr. Bryan’s surgery to repair a broken leg on a Busch Gardens flamingo when he was first out of veterinary school. The story goes that he sewed it on backwards and had to re-do the surgery. For added emphasis, a pink flamingo graced the head table.

Dr. Eddie Hight, a partner in the veterinary practice, recalled many humorous incidences they shared over 38 years of practice together. He also referenced Bryan’s frugal qualities with a story of the black shirts—Bryan’s standard uniform.

Hight said he opened two boxes that had been shipped to the practice, thinking it was medication, only to find they were full of “the black shirts.” He asked Bryan why so many, he responded he was afraid they would be discontinued and he wouldn’t be able to get any. Hight then pulled out one of the shirts for demonstration. It was complete with a row of essential pens on the pocket, just the way Bryan always wore it.

On the plus side, Hight referred to Bryan as the most hardworking, honest as the day is long partner, saying he could not have asked for a better partner. “In over 38 years, David only took five sick days, and four of those he was in the hospital,” explained Hight.

A “Mystery Roaster” Dr. Roy Swindle, came forward and told of his experiences working at the practice while he was in high school. “I never knew what to expect,” he explains, while adding he never worked around anyone more professional.

One of his tales was of a practical joke he attempted to play. He came upon a very long, dead rattlesnake in the road, stopped and picked it up and coiled it inside a Christmas box. He carried it into the clinic and placed it on the surgery table. He watched as one of the workers named “Birdie” cut the box open and freaked out.

He then closed it up and left it for Dr. Bryan to find. Without even opening it, Bryan’s first reaction was,“Is there a damned rattlesnake in that box?” Swindle asked how he knew, and Bryan declared, “I can smell it.”

Swindle, now a successful OB/GYN, said Bryan gave him a lot of responsibility that taught him life lessons. “I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor…… He got me interested in medicine.”

As Bryan began to issue his rebuttal, he commented, “At first, I thought I could be able to tweet that there was a lot of fake news here. But all I’ve found is a hell of a lot of collusion.” And, the stories just kept coming, as he recalled incidents and people and pets he had seen.

The evening was full of fun and laughter, as well as a lot of love expressed by all for the veterinarian who retired from practice two years ago.