Those Pearly Whites

She was giddy.

Honestly, I was happy for her, but goodness! Mom just had every piece of enamel ripped from the roof of her mouth, leaving her to resemble one of those toothless ancient crones found on humorous greeting cards. And for some reason, she was giddy.

Allen, frightened by Mom’s empty grin, took off in the opposite direction. Amused by this fear, she chased after him, literally looking like an escaped mental patient.

This entire escapade took place in October of 2001, as I tried to talk to Mom and decipher her newly formed lisp. Wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t been calling long distance to speak to her for the first time in nearly a month.

In her own way, she told me about the entire procedure and how she received the “royal treatment” afterward from my older brother, Paul.

“I athked Paul to buy me thum pudthing packth when he ran to Wal-Mart for thigaretteth. I muth of pathed out before he got back. Then he lef again. I yelleth and yelleth, but he never anthwered. Tho I got up to get thum pudthing, and you know wha? Your thupid brotha bought the kind you have to make. Can you believe that?”

I simpered just what I knew she wanted to hear. She’s so cute.

The pearly whites came along two days later. Unfortunately for my chicken baby brother, the dentures were a tad too big (she had to wait for the swelling to go down before sizing the teeth).

As Mom would talk or laugh her new teeth would shoot out of her mouth. Allen wound up shrieking and covering his eyes then running into the next room.

Next, the begging would begin.

“Mom, stop! Oh God, put your teeth back in! Stop it! Please!”

Of course, I was on the phone, once again, trying to talk to Mom first, then Allen as she tormented him.

Mom’s teeth were fixed soon enough. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to actually witness Allen’s reaction to the dentures as they flew across the room for the nine hundred, eighty-sixth time. I feared I’d miss a toothless old fart chase her seventeen-year-old son around the house when I stopped in for the holidays.

My fears were put to rest when I visited over Thanksgiving.

At roughly one a.m. I finally said it. “Mom, take your teeth out.”

“Are you sure?” She grinned.

I looked at my baby brother sitting across from Mom on the couch, who shrank back as far as the arm would allow. He grudgingly consented and out they came.

My God! She aged 50 years in a matter of seconds, her cheek sinking in without the enamel to hold them out. So, of course, I laughed my butt off. She looked hilarious. I told her so…repeatedly.

“You look like an old country grandma who should be sitting on the side of the road selling ham.”

“Oh my God, you look like a backwoods hick granny. All you need is a banjo so you can play the theme from Deliverance.”

I was on fire shooting them out. Mom and Allen giggled like mad. Tears stained all of our cheeks. Of course, we laughed so hard that we woke up Jamie.

Words cannot describe how mad she can get, and she was livid. So, we called it a night.

During that trip I realized that my mom’s teeth entranced me. I could not stop staring at them. I wasn’t alone. My brother-in-law Jared stared too, driving Mom nuts.

I don’t know if it was because she never showed off her teeth or just because they were new. I don’t know. What I do know is that when I went home for Christmas, I wasn’t able to take my eyes off those dentures.