Surprise and Delight


I recently had a surprise when biting down on some soft, supposedly non threatening morsel of food.

A tooth cracked. A major tooth. You know, one of those that you’d like to keep around in your head for a few more years. Sort of like a wonderful idea.

So I grab my phone and call my dentist, who has always been more than responsive in situations like this. My anticipation about how this whole scenario would go?

I would call. They would be booked for weeks if not months. (He’s a very good dentist. The most fantastic dentist with a HUGE practice. Believe me.) They would get me in on a standby basis, sort of like when I fly now. I would get a seat in his office, be surprised at how much leg room I actually had, but then there was always the negative, right? They would poke me with a needle, make my face droop and cause me to repeatedly bite my lip for six hours after the appointment, and charge me an arm and a leg. So much for the need for leg room, since I would be short a leg from then on.

Nothing is guaranteed in life. Yes, you may quote me on that as long as you give the proper attribution. Don’t you pull a Melania on me…

Well, the first surprise came right away. They could rearrange their schedule for me and get me in that afternoon. Like right away. Very little waiting with a cracked tooth in my head. This was great news. Not entirely unexpected, since my dentist is the GREATEST dentist EVER, the most FANTASTIC dentist, I can assure you.

So, you know how this goes. I already knew that since the entire cusp of the tooth had broken off ( I was holding it in the hand attached to the arm that I would NOT ┬álet them take in payment for this procedure, my right arm, which I needed, of course, since I am right-handed.) that I would most likely need a crown. It’s good to be king, after all, isn’t it? That would mean that this first appointment would be for evaluation and measurements and all that jazz, and that I would most likely have to come back at least two more times to get the whole thing fixed and back to semi-normal. (#sad) This, you see, was not my first dental rodeo. I had ridden this pneumatic chair named Foo Man Choo and stayed on for, well, maybe three hours before.

So, to recap (you see what I did there), broken tooth, FANTASTIC response from my dentist’s office, semi-emergent appointment on the same day as my call, anticipated amputations of at least one arm and one leg in payment for what would most likely be a beautiful porcelain tooth that no one would ever see but that would allow me to eat almonds again. (#ilovealmonds). My expectations were fairly mainstream and clear.

Now, I get to the office and I am told (GASP) that they have further arranged the dentist’s schedule (did I mention to you how truly FANTASTIC this guy is? Truly great, the best dentist ever, believe me, the absolute best.) so that they will be able to do the entire repair of my cuspless molar in one appointment.

Excuse me?

One appointment? Like same day service on a flat tire? Like a one hour photo store back when people knew what real photos were? How can this be? What parallel dental universe am I operating in here? By the way, the answer is 42.

How could they do this?


New technology. COOL technology.

Now, some of you may already be aware of the existence of this new machine that my dentist and his assistants used to patch me up like the Six Million Dollar Man. I was not, but when it was wheeled in and I was allowed to watch in real-time as the assistant called for volunteers from the audience (Pick me! Pick me! She did.) and then did a real time mapping of the contours of my mouth and teeth, and then made a crown from that measurement and fired it up and hardened it and fitted it in my mouth and had me out the door in about two hours TOTAL? OMG, I could not believe it.

I was surprised and delighted and hopped about on my one leg, dancing and waving my remaining right arm and feeling like I was the happiest one-armed, one-legged man in the whole wide world.

Well, I exaggerate. They only had to take the arm. They left the leg. That is good, because after that appointment I could, once again,walk and chew gum at the same time.

How often in today’s world are we truly surprised and delighted?

Can you remember the last time someone, some store, some government agency (wait, wait, scratch that-I lost my head for a moment there) surprised you by going above and beyond what was expected of them?

Can you remember the last time you were truly delighted, amazed, or made speechless by the sheer joy that accompanies a product, service, or personal contact that surpasses your wildest dreams?

How can you, how can I, surprise and delight someone today? How can we foster that feeling in someone by doing something unexpected, saying something truly and sincerely uplifting, or giving of ourselves in ways that no one (including us) ever thought we could?

Go out and surprise and delight someone today.

If you do, that someone might even be you.


‘Tis the Season

“Mom, will it ever get here? It seems like it takes months and months for it to get here!”

“Yes, dear, the day will come soon enough. I know you’re very excited. Color another picture for me maybe? Use lots of bright colors. Okay?”

“Yes, ma’am. I can’t wait, Mom. It’s my favorite day of the year.”


“Does this one look okay, Dad? I want to make sure I have something nice to give her, you know? I mean, she does so much for us every day. She never rests, does she?”

“Hardly. She’s always loved giving to people, Sport, you know that.”

“Then this has to be perfect for her. Do you like the foil inside or just the silver seal on the outside?”

“Why not both? She’d like that.”



“Oh, come on, Mom, just one! Can’t we open just one tonight? It won’t hurt nothin’!”

“Anything. It won’t hurt anything. Grammar, young lady.”

“Just one little one, Dad, please?”

“Your mother has spoken, guys. Besides, we haven’t had the first mouthful of turkey yet. You can wait until tomorrow morning, I’m sure. Now, come get your supper.”


(First light)

“Shhh. Quiet!”

“What time is it?”

“Zero dark thirty, kid. Too early for parents to wake up without a severe attack of the pre-coffee grumpies. Quiet!”

“Look! A stack for you and a stack for me. There! On the coffee table. Cool!”

“Mom’s got the biggest stack. Look. There’s my silver foil one, right on top.”

“We’d better start making a little noise in the kitchen or they’ll never wake up.”



“And here’s the next one for you, Mom. Very pretty! Fancy writing on the outside.”

“Oh, how sweet. It’s from Mrs. Jones next door. Thank you so very much for the casseroles you made and placed in my freezer after my surgery. Here it is November, and I haven’t even eaten them all yet. I owe you a great debt. Sincerely, Betty.

“Open one of yours, Junior!”

“Okay, here’s a neat one with Ninja Turtles on the outside. Thank you for cutting my grass this summer. I had the prettiest yard in the city because of your good work. See you soon, Mr. Peebles.

“See, Sam, I told you he appreciated you and your diligence. People notice, son. You may not think so, but they do.”

“Now, I know we have more notes to open, but who wants turkey and dressing?”

“And cranberries!”


“Sam, as the eldest, would you please do the honors and say a blessing for us?”



“Thank you, Sam.”

“No, thank you, Mom.”

“Whatever for, son?”

“I want to thank you and Dad for teaching us the reason for the season. The meaning of Thanksgiving.”

“Yeah!” the twins chimed in. “This is the most awesome turkey day ever!”


“Here, now who’s ready for pumpkin pie?”

Thank you, God, for gifting me with my children and grandchildren, and for the life I am blessed to lead.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.