A hearty toast to our old friend the Tooth Fairy:
Here’s to the old tooth under the pillow,
Here’s to the space that it left behind,
Here’s to the new tooth soon to follow,
Here’s to the Tooth Fairy, generous and kind.
It seems only yesterday that I was leaving my teeth under pillows. Now they crumble away in my mouth.
Well not all of them, at least not yet, but those molars fat with fillings do tend to give way. But in all, we’re told: “Practice gratitude.”
And I am grateful. I’m grateful for a dentist who can fix up my failing teeth. Thank you, Dr. Cheek (his real name, I promise), and to your assistants. I’m grateful for fast drills, Novocain, magic moldly stuff that turns into a fine fake tooth, and the glue that holds it in.
Recently, I toured the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore. If you’re grumpy about going to the dentist, you need to check out the old instruments in this museum. OUCH, OUCH, and OUCH. You’ll never complain about a visit to your 21st Century dentist again. Better yet, bring him or her a present! I’m giving mine a Tooth Fairy necklace.
Happy Birthday on Wednesday, to my daughter Katherine, who left notes to the Tooth Fairy asking her to please leave the money but let Kath keep the tooth! You encourage me every day with your boundless energy and enthusiasm.
Photo: The glow-in-the-dark Tooth Fairy necklaces and flavored dental floss are souvenirs I purchased in the museum’s funky gift shop. My poem “A Toast to the Tooth Fairy” (© Barbara Younger, 1998) was first printed in June Cotner’s Family Celebrations: Prayers, Poems, and Toasts for Every Occasion. Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1999.