I had a tooth pulled (extracted) last week. It was not an event to which I was looking forward. I suppose I should have considered myself fortunate. It was the first permanent tooth I have yielded to Father Time. I have endured fillings, root canals, and a variety of crowns, but I had never let a tooth go since my youth.

In the past, when a tooth became sensitive to hot or cold, Sensodyne tooth paste usually did the trick. Not this time.

Dr. Christopher Bailey and I did everything to save it. “We” tried adjusting my bite a bit thinking I might be grinding my teeth at night resulting in aggravating the tooth in question. I purchased one of those night guards that you dip in boiling water to make it fit your teeth. That didn’t work. Dr. Bailey even created an appliance to match my teeth perfectly. That seemed to make the tooth and my gums madder. Over the course of a few weeks the tooth became so angry it cracked “right down the middle.” It had to go.

I made the appointment, then practiced “pain management” for several days. Antibiotics, Ibuprofen, Aleve, and creative chewing (on the opposite side) became my allies.

Two days before the tooth and I were to part ways (Sunday, Sept. 5) I realized I had not checked “the sign of the moon.” My late mother would have been disappointed in me. I consulted the Farmer’s Almanac and found the two best days for tooth extraction in September, 2021 according to the “sign” were the 6th and 7th. My appointment fell squarely on Sept. 7, which prompted me to consider two things I have heard all of my life: “God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform” and “God takes care of little children and fools.”

On the day of the tooth pulling I informed Dr. Bailey that the sign was right for extracting teeth. He didn’t seem too impressed with my report. I don’t suppose they teach important stuff like the reading of the sign of the moon in dental school. At least I felt better.

He skillfully administered the stuff that numbs the pain. The tooth that was to be removed was an “upper” so soon my lip, my nose and my right eye were under the influence. I usually spare myself the intrigue of seeing the syringe and needle when I’m being “numbed up,” but afterwards through my peripheral vision I got a glimpse of the stainless steel instrument which looked like an impaired flat-head screwdriver as Dr. Bailey said,” I’m going to loosen up the pocket a little.” He could have stuck it up my nose and I would not have cared one bit. The tooth “popped out” with no resistance ,for which I was thankful.

Back to the “sign.” It hasn’t been that long ago – a few years, I guess, when my niece informed my late mother she was having her wisdom teeth “cut out.”

“When?” My mother, who was well into her eighties at the time, asked.

“Thursday,” replied my niece.

“Hold on, right there, and let me check the “sign,” said my mother.

She did.

“You call that dentist and see if you can change your appointment to a week from Friday,” cautioned my mother.

My niece followed through as she was instructed and changed the appointment.

After surgery she experienced minimal bleeding, minor pain and a speedy recovery.

My mother was so pleased with herself she was almost smug about it.

Back to my recovery. After experiencing “a little more bleeding than usual” according to my attending dental assistant, I felt no lingering pain afterwards and recovered quickly. And I don’t even miss that tooth.

My only complaint? They wouldn’t let me have my tooth to take home with me. Which forced me to see my chances of the tooth fairy coming that night fly right out the window.

But in the end, I’ll bet you somewhere far away in “a land that is fairer than day” my mama is smiling.

Jack McCall is a motivational humorist, Southern storyteller and author. A native Middle Tennessean, he is recognized on the national stage as a “Certified Speaking Professional.” He can be reached at jack@jackmccall.com Copyright 2021 by Jack McCall.

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