This week’s Ponte Vedran of the Week, Darryl Field, is a local periodontist, aspiring author, and marlin fisherman.
Not only has he finished his first book, Blood Memory Society, but he’s shopping it to several New York literary agents. Not sure where he finds the time for all this, but it feels like this is his year.
“He could see the fish and he had only to look at his hands and feel his back against the stern to know that this had truly happened and was not a dream,” Ernest Hemingway, Old Man and the Sea
Show Dr. Field some love and keep your fingers crossed that he has his first of many book deals soon.
Name: Darryl A. Field DDS
Occupation: Periodontist at Darryl A Field DDS PA and aspiring author. I just finished my first novel, Blood Memory Society.
Where I grew up: A small town just up the Mississippi River from New Orleans called Natchez. It’s a beautiful and historic town with a plethora of antebellum homes and plantations.
A Ponte Vedran since: 1997
Other Places I have lived: I spent 7 years in New Orleans while attending dental school and completing my residency in periodontics.
My favorite thing about Ponte Vedra: Location, location, location. I love the weather in Florida, and I am particularly fond of a warm ocean, because most of my hobbies involve water sports of some type or another. But unlike living in South Florida, when I want to take the family on a 4 to 8 hour drive, there are so many places outside of Florida that are a comfortable driving distance from PVB.
My least favorite thing about Ponte Vedra: It’s a long boat ride to the Gulf Stream, which is the warm water fish highway that travels from the Caribbean to Nova Scotia. I’m an avid offshore angler and here in north Florida we have to travel a 60-mile distance from the inlet at St. Augustine to get to where the big fish swim offshore. I’m envious of South Floridians because they only have to travel a couple of miles to get to the Gulf Stream. We spend a lot of time, energy and, of course, money on our passion. We like to say that we are “more salty” here in north Florida.
In my spare time I like to: In the past, that was an easy question to answer because it was either something involving the water or playing the guitar or piano. But now, I’ve found writing and have immersed myself in the art of literary fiction. I have to say that it is probably the most exciting foray of my life.
Ponte Vedran you most admire: That is a personal thing for me. I wouldn’t select one person but would give it to a group of wonderfully generous individuals, the Sandifer family…Kirk, Tommy, Elizabeth, Shannon and their spouses. Carla and I moved here almost 20 years ago not knowing a soul. We hung our shingle and were shooting from the hip, hoping to find a place to practice our profession and more importantly, make a home. As fate would have it, we were fortunate to move next door to Kirk and Lisa Sandifer, whose family has been a stalwart of Ponte Vedra and Jacksonville. They have treated us like their own from day one by including us in their large family and broad network of amazing friends.
My favorite time in Ponte Vedra: Right now! The last year has been the most rewarding time of my life. I have two healthy children that are thriving, my periodontal practice and my wife’s family dentistry practice is cruising right along. And, I started and completed a 500-page novel! Someone pinch me! Oh and I caught my first marlin!
Dream Vacation other that Ponte Vedra: Australia. I would like to dive the Great Barrier Reef and troll for Black Marlin all in the same day.
If I could invite anyone over to dinner- 2 Ponte Vedrans and one famous person- who would you invite?
Richard “Dick” Stratton. He was a Navy pilot and Vietnam POW who spent six years in a Vietnamese prison camp. His life was documented in a book, Prisoner At War, a few years ago. He gave me a copy and signed it, “No matter what the field of endeavor, some days we really earn our pay.” He was a patient of mine and told me some remarkable stories about human suffering and endurance, all the while never losing the gregarious smile on his face. He is a very inspirational man.
Ben Groshell. Because I love his restaurants and I hope he would offer to cook, or at least cater the evening!
Ernest Hemmingway. I would love to pick his brain about the craft of writing because if I may say so, I think we are both inspired by similar things.
Last time you went to the beach: In the Keys last weekend. My son and I went down for lobster season.
Last time you saw live music: 2 weeks ago in New Orleans in the French Quarter. My family went over to celebrate Carla’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
Favorite Ponte Vedra organization: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of North Florida. One of my best friends from childhood suffered from this dreadful disease. He received a double lung transplant in his early twenties but died a few years later. His name was Michael Fatherree and he was a remarkable human being. I’ve tried to stay active in the Cytstic Fibrosis Foundation through the years.
Favorite Ponte Vedra restaurant: Palm Valley Fish Camp when I can get in, but other than that it would be Ruths’ Chris. Honorable mention would be Salt Life Food Shack.
Favorite place for a cocktail: I love a good handcrafted cocktail. About 3 months after hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, Carla and I travelled there to see family but also curious to see if our old stomping grounds had survived. The streets of the French Quarter had been spared from the storm but the tourists must not have known it because they were not there. We walked into one of our favorite places, The Napoleon House. Despite the fact that this famous bar had not been disturbed by the hurricane, we were the only souls in the place. I’ll never forget the look on the bartender’s face. He was so happy to finally be back at work. I ordered an Old Fashion and have never seen more care and attention given to crafting a cocktail in my life. He carefully muddled the fruit, slowly stirred in the bourbon and served it with the biggest smile I have ever seen. The Napoleon House, yep, that’s my favorite.
Favorite way to get exercise here: I like to run on the beach. We have a very nice and wide beach here in PVB, you just need to time the tide a little.
Favorite movie: Best In Show. It’s a mockumentary about the world of high stakes dog shows. It’s hilarious.
Favorite TV show: It depends on the mood. If I’m trying to learn something educational, I like to watch Cosmos. I was a big Carl Sagan fan back in the day. I know, nerdy right? If I’m trying to learn how to survive the apocalypse then it’s The Walking Dead. I love that show!
Favorite book: That’s hard. Fiction: There are too many to choose from. Nonfiction: The Next 100 Years by George Friedman. It will change your worldview and believe it or not, make you feel good about the country that our kids are inheriting.
Favorite band or music: I’m a product of the Grunge era and am still a sucker for a loud distorted guitar. If you turn on some Pearl Jam or Smashing Pumpkins or R.E.M., I will applaud. However, my father is a classical music fan and I definitely find myself listening to more classical music these days. So, if you ask me in five years, I might say turn on Beethoven’s ‘Hammerklavier.’
Something most people don’t know about you: Braces changed my life and inspired me to become a dentist. That’s right. From the age of 8 until about 13, I had very crooked and bucked teeth and went through an adolescent phase of ridicule. My family was not rich, nor poor but raising 3 boys on my father’s single income did not lend itself to braces easily. But when in the 8th grade, I finally received orthodontic braces, my life changed. My father would tell you that it not only drastically improved my appearance but changed my personality, for the better. Thus, I always wanted to be a dentist so that I could also improve someone’s life. When I see that young boy or girl that has significant dental issues but may not have the family funds to fix the problem, it reminds me of myself. So, that’s why I send out a coupon to most of my referring dentists, asking them to identify such a person and use my coupon to redeem at my office for free services.
Anything else you’d like to share: I would like to take this opportunity to tell Ponte Vedrans how fortunate they are to have such amazing dentists in this area. As a dental specialist, I have the opportunity and privilege to regularly work with 30-40 general dentists and dental specialists from Ponte Vedra, Jax Beach, Atlantic Beach and the Jacksonville Metro area. I have also served on a few local and state dental committees, and I can assure you that there is no better quantity of knowledge, use of technology and quality of care anywhere in the state.
If you are interested in learning more about Darryl’s periodontal practice please visit his website http://www.jaxdentalhealth.com, or if you want to know more about his novel, Blood Memory Society, visit his author website at http://www.dafield.com.