A long, long time ago, in a place far away, I married this great smile.
Somewhere during the 2nd or 3rd year of “for better or for worse”, and because of a night out playing ice hockey with the guys, it morphed into this toothless version.
Over the years an interesting variety of bridges and “flippers” and pegs and posts have found their way into that grin. An early version of implants got him thru our years in Alaska. But they finally met the beginning of their end in an Army-Navy Surplus store in Seattle.
Deep in animated negotiation for an item he thought too expensive, I watched, along with my father-in-law, Cliff, as Doug’s two front teeth simply fell out of his mouth and plopped on to the sales counter.
Cliff stepped behind a merchandise display in an unsuccessful attempt to hide his laughter. I watched, amazed, as Doug just stuck the teeth back in his gums and continue to haggle.
Nothing much stops Doug, which is what I like most about him. And also the least. But probably the most.
So now the latest version of modern implants have failed and he’s mid-way thru a 3-part plan to get him some new teeth. This week was the big surgery to remove the posts.
And goodness, drugs do amazing things.
Doug has no memory of going into the pharmacy, even though I begged him not to, where he staggered around like a drunk person.
He has no memory of the ride home and conversation about how much he wants to shave off his mustache because… “I like my face”.
I told him I like his face too and that shaving off the mustache is a great idea.
He has no memory of stopping at a Denny’s because he “really, really, really” needed some soup.
And he has absolutely no memory of his mildly inappropriate remark to the waitress.
I left a big tip and continue to extend my sincere apology to anyone at the Denny’s off Highway 22 who may have been offended.
So he’s got a couple of days of healing under his belt and is doing well.
He thinks I’m lying about the shaving of his mustache, but I’m not. And I think he should keep his word.
I’ve wondered if he regrets the cost of that hockey game so many years ago. But I know better. He’d rather do things than wish he had.
In other news, the vegetable garden is growing well. The fence we put up to keep deer teeth and bunny teeth out is doing its job. But mole teeth keep finding their way up from beneath.
Other than providing dental shuttle service, my week has been quiet. My Dad shuffles up and down the deck with his walker. We sit for a while. I read. He watches the birds and falls asleep.
I think about my military son in a dangerous place far away, then read the news of others’ military sons who died on American soil just doing their job in an office building.
I watch my Dad and remember it wasn’t so long ago he rode bikes with me and created beautiful gardens and fixed cars and gave wise advice… and now he occasionally doesn’t know my name.
Time is a valuable commodity we share.
It doesn’t come with a guarantee beyond this moment.
It almost makes a little sense to risk a tooth or two doing something you love.
Instead of wondering if you should.
Or finding out it’s too late.