“Two Geriatric Gents” by Dr. Steve Swaim.
Dr. Steve Swaim practiced and taught veterinary medicine for 50 years. When he retired, Dr. Swaim put down his scalpel and picked up woodcarving tools. And animals are still his favorite subjects.
Dr. Swaim’s carving, “Two Geriatric Gents,” will be featured on Art is Ageless notecards by Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America (PMMA). After winning the sculpture/3D category in the Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor competition, his piece was entered at the masterpiece level to compete with works from 16 other PMMA communities.
The two “gents” are actually an old man and his dog, who are both due for their annual checkups. The man has a checklist for each of them, and they’re quite similar – except that he won’t be checked for fleas. “One of the guys in my carving club saw it and said, ‘I learned dogs have prostate glands too.'”
Dr. Swaim said cartoon-like scenes are his favorite to dream up, create and paint. “I inherited my humor, and my sons are the same way,” he said, adding one of his favorite sayings: “Humor is to life what shock absorbers are to a car.”
As a professor of veterinary medicine at Auburn University, Dr. Swaim said he peppered his lectures with funny stories and colloquialisms. His colleagues and students urged him to write them down, so he published a humor book titled “I Wanna See a Veterinarian.”
Dr. Swaim said he entered Art is Ageless for the past couple of years, but this is the first time to be featured in the calendar or cards. Most of the time, he gives his whimsical carvings to veterinary students, family and friends. But they also have another purpose.
One of his favorite causes is the Christian Veterinary Missions organization, which has student chapters at many veterinary colleges. For more than eight years, Dr. Swaim has donated carvings to raffles to raise money for mission trips by veterinary students at Auburn, Oklahoma State, and his alma mater, K-State. Without a doubt, his humorous scenes create lots of laughter, which of course is the best medicine of all.