Father’s Day CrankaTsuris(™) and Some Good Memories
Happy Father’s Day!!
Father’s Day always brings to mind the Father’s Day I had with my father two years ago when I was there visiting him in his Assisted Living Home in Delray Beach, Florida.
Like many people in their 90s, my father had to accept wearing dentures because his teeth were either not working for him, or were no longer residing inside his mouth.
I can tell you that there is nothing more adorable than old people with no teeth. I remember visiting both my parents, when my mom was alive, and we were about to say goodnight and head back to the hotel. They were both sitting on the couch in their pajamas, and their dentures were sitting in the cups in the bathroom.
Anybody who has old relatives with dentures knows what I am talking about. Whether they are smiling or not, their faces look like one giant smile. There is a certain gleefulness in the expressions when the words come out of their mouth. Sentences like “I have really bad diarrhea!” is taken over by a delicious sweetness.
Now, as adorable as that scene was, there can be nothing worse than when my father would decide to take his teeth out when we are at a restaurant. When I visit, lunch is always at Flekowitz, a Jewish style deli in Boynton Beach, and my father always has the same order: corned beef sandwich and a Sprite. So, you know how people would say “picture this!”?
I can tell you please try really hard at not picturing this, but it is not a very pretty picture when your father takes his teeth out halfway a corned beef sandwich, and you find yourself staring at teeth on a table with mustard, chewed up corn beef and the seeds from the rye bread. (We said “no seeds”!!)
Apparently, Polident did not have the necessary grip!!
This would happen on a regular basis, and I would somehow get used to this display, except of course when the tables are really close together, and you start to notice the people sitting next to you having an unpleasant experience staring at the teeth wrapped in a paper napkin.
Getting back to Father’s Day 2017, I took my father out for Italian food at a nearby restaurant. The teeth came out midway. It was placed in a napkin, and I thought I saw my father put the napkin in his pocket when we left the restaurant.
When we got back to the Assisted Living Home, I asked my father “Do you have your teeth?” My father reached into his pocket and took out the napkin. No teeth. He desperately checked his other pockets. No teeth.
I ran back to the car and drove straight to the restaurant while my father waited anxiously, sitting outside the Assisted Living Home.
I got to the restaurant and explained to the hostess that I think my father left his teeth at the table where we were sitting.
The hostess said; “Your father is the third person this week that lost his teeth here.” I was happy with this experience, but just said anxiously, “I just hope you can find my father’s teeth.”
She came back, and her head was shaking. “Sorry. No teeth.”
I drove back to the Residence, and by now all the aids working there knew about my father’s teeth dilemma. When I said that they did not have the teeth, one large and beautiful Haitian aide came out with black latex gloves. She handed them to me and said:
“You go straight back there and look for your father’s teeth. Here are the gloves. Check all their garbage.”
Armed with a pair of black latex gloves, I headed straight back. I explained to the hostess that the Haitian aide sent me back with strict orders to check all of the restaurant’s garbage. I was not taking “no” for an answer.
The hostess took me out back past the kitchen to the dumpster out in the back. Surrounded by flies, mosquitoes, and bees, I waded through the chewed up half-eaten pizza, the mussel shells, lots of chewed up pasta, cheese, and veal parmesan. From the sauces, both my arms looked as if they were covered with blood.
After 15 minutes, wading through the half-chewed mess, I felt as if something was biting me. “Please be the teeth, and not a rat burrowed in this mess, having a meal!”, I prayed. Pulling my arm slowly up like a fisherman winding the string out of the water to see his catch, there it appeared. My father’s teeth.
I ran through the kitchen screaming “I have the teeth!! I have the teeth!!” All the cooks and workers stopped what they were doing, and applauded. I was a hero. I am coming home with the teeth! This is my “rock star” moment!!
Driving home, a thought occurred to me. What if these teeth was not my father’s teeth, but maybe one of the two other people who lost their teeth. “Ehhh. He won’t notice.” I continued driving back.
“I got the teeth!!! I got the teeth!!!” Outside the Assisted Living Home, they were all dancing in the street. My father was beaming with such joy that I could not remember him being that happy.
He got up slowly, and gave me a big hug! Taking the teeth, he was about to put them back in his mouth.
“No!!!!!!!Dad!!!! We have to wash them first!!!!”
It is funny how some CrankaTsuris can turn out to be some of the best memories.
Happy Father’s Day!!