Bill York

 “Did you brush your teeth, Billy Gene?

I was maybe 6 years old.

“Yes, Grandma.”

“You ate a lot of orange slices, and sugar is not good for your teeth.”

In the confines of the bathroom, the toothbrush lay on a shelf as dry as a bone. I hated my toothbrush. My comic book was more interesting.

Flash Gordon was my hero.

I wet my brush in the basin. I went into the kitchen and hugged Grandma. I showed her my wet toothbrush.

“Good boy, Billy Gene,” she said.

Sometime, when everyone was asleep I’d sneak into the pantry and pilfer a cup of brown sugar from the container. Brown sugar would begin the rot-ting process on my teeth during the night.

I convinced my grandmother that I was attentive to my teeth.

That con-job went on until I left the farm at age 14.

During that age, there was gummy bears, licorice, fudge; good stuff for teeth.

I did not figure my grandparents were very smart on tooth care because each night there were false teeth grinning at me from water glasses on the ledge over the sink.

My first session with a dentist was in sickbay aboard ship in North Africa, 4 teeth with decay-causing agony. I was 17 years old.

Since then, it has been abscesses, root canals, Hershey’s Kisses, injections, fillings, Nestles, M&M’s gold inlays, extractions, Milky Ways, Ghirardelli, toothaches, profanities, ice cream, capped teeth, caramel corn, tapioca, root beer, coca cola and inattention to my teeth.

“Did you brush your teeth Billy Gene?”

Often I wished I had paid more attention to my Grandma’s concerns.

“Yes, Grandma.”

My dentist died. I went to my wife’s dentist for a couple of years until I got one more toothache. I discover he did not extract teeth.

“Did you brush your teeth, Billy Gene?” “Yes, Grandma.”

He referred me to an oral surgeon who quoted me a mind-numbing price.

“Did you brush your teeth, Billy Gene?”

“Yes, Grandma.”

I inquired around and found an office that was locked on Wednesday. I walked down the hall and found Kinsey Smiles, Brian Kinsey, a charming fellow, who does everything in dentistry. Capable staff.

Talkative, smiling, an expert on new dental procedures, personable. If I were still in business, I would hire him. He’d make a great fur salesman.

I am now into a sophisticated arena of dentistry with titanium implants. Of course, fewer vacations or new cars.

I sat on my back porch on a cloudless night. I looked skyward. I could feel my grandma’s presence…still concerned.

“Did you brush your teeth, Billy Gene?”

“You should see my teeth Grand-ma. You would be so proud.”

“Smile toward heaven, Billy Gene.” I smiled toward the brightest star. It had to be my Grandma.

“Your teeth look great, Billy Gene. I’m glad you paid attention to me when you were little.”

Kinsey Smiles
678 714 0525
3625 Braselton Hwy, Suite 102 Dacula, Georgia 30019

Bill is a 92-year old WW II Navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at Sioux2222@gmail.com