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Missing teeth, missing mind vie for top of MEM

October 21, 2012
Messenger News

Sometimes I wonder if a night-time elf wiggles into my memory through my ears and plays games in there.

That could account for any lapses in the ole memory bank.

Last Sunday, for instance. Hey, before I start, just know this might come under what my sister calls TMI. Too Much Information. But you've known me long enough to know that anything I know you know.

So, I stayed up late Saturday night. Well, I stayed up late Sunday morning, but I've made a deal with God that if he wakes me up, I'll go to church. Sure enough, at 7:30 a.m. I woke, a mere four hours after going to bed.

Remembering my promise, I closed my eyes to stretch and a half hour later woke again. This time I didn't stretch, but crawled out of bed and hurried through everything that needed to be done before leaving. Because my stomach rumbled as I headed for the door, I grabbed an almost-empty package of sugar snap peas and chewed on them on the short drive to Grace Lutheran.

Not wanting to look foolish with green stuff in my teeth, I checked the mirror before leaving the car. No green stuff. No teeth.

No teeth.

For more than 42 years I've been sticking three store-bought teeth into my mouth at the beginning of the day and pulling them out for cleansing at the end of the day. It's not something I forget to do. Yet there I was, sitting outside church with five minutes to spare, looking at a gaping hole where teeth should be.

I went in anyway, trying to keep my head down when I talked and not to smile. The not smiling was the hard part those people are wonderfully happy people. They make me smile.

Embarrassing as that was, it's not even close to my MEM. Most Embarrassing Moment. That happened 12 years ago in Reno while buying flowers for my daughter's wedding.

Small shop. Nice stuff. Red roses, white roses, peach-colored roses in a cooler. Sister, daughter, niece looking around as I mull over the colors. Neither the red nor the white would look good with her dress, chiffon in a combination of bronze, teal, cream and gold over a bronze satin gown, much like a Medieval princess dress.

Peach-colored roses could be more costly. I wondered just how much more costly when I heard footsteps coming from the back room. I turned with the how-much idea in my mouth. When I looked at the woman coming through the curtains I casually ask "Just how old are you, anyway?"

Just how old are you, anyway?

My shopping buddies melted into the woodwork, sucking in their collective breaths so quickly it pulled all the oxygen from the room. The woman only laughed. That she was 83 might have made the difference.

Most times I remember how I get into and out of things, embarrassing or not, but this time I cannot remember anything past "Just how old are you anyway?"

Makes a few missing teeth seem normal, doesn't it?

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Sandy Mickelson, former lifestyle editor of The Messenger, can be reached at



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