The word I pulled tonight is teeth.
I still have all of mine.
Save one I had pulled when I was a newlywed.
I was a teenager the first time I saw a dentist.
He was a crochety man. Grim.
I had 14 teeth with multiple cavities.
My dad's company had just supplied workers with benefits.
I spent that summer getting my teeth fixed.
I remember once giving the receptionist a cheque from my mom for $75.
That was a lot of money 35 years ago.
More than we spent on groceries per week for a family of seven.
I know that because sometimes my mom would send me to town
with the grocery list and a blank cheque.
I'd go to what seemed like a hole in the wall
in the grocery store and slide the cheque
through a little half moon opening,
where a woman would stamp it and slide it back to me.
Then I'd be free to go buy what we needed, give the blank cheque to the cashier, who would fill it out and give me the ticker tape to bring home to my mom.
She never had to choose between groceries and dentist bills but I bet it was close.
My own kids were much more fortunate when it came to teeth.
Our dentist told us he'd rather see our kids with their teeth fixed
than see our money.
They were just learning to read,
teeth dangling back and forth while they sat absorbed in a book.
Those teeth dangled
while their adult teeth tried to fit in their mouth, too.
He plucked them as need be,
trying to avoid the need for braces later on.
He was successful.
It took us years to pay the bill.
But we did.
He is still our dentist today.
Over 20 years later.
Tonight I am grateful for the gift of life.
A life worth sinking my teeth into.
Today brought news of two people we know
who've died this week.
That's now 6 people in the past 7 weeks.
Half of them sudden and unexpected.
It's a bit mind boggling.