Today’s slice is a story from my sister. Katie and I are 18 months apart and the best of friends. She lives in New York. When our children were little, we rarely went six weeks without getting together. Commitments, jobs and growing children have stretched the time between visits but we still share stories via phone.
This morning’s hour-long conversation had a story so funny, I laughed and laughed until tears ran down my face.
Before I share Katie’s story, you should know two things about my sister: she hates going to the dentist and she LOVES Man of La Mancha. Her love of the show stems from childhood when we saw a production of Man of La Mancha on the big stage and she spent weeks belting out the tunes, as the grooves on the record wore thin.
A few weeks ago, she had a toothache. It was the first such ache she remembered ever having. She visited the dentist, who immediately sent her to the oral surgeon a few floors down. Katie’s tooth had to go.
Katie has always disliked going to the dentist. In her 20’s, she avoided the dentist for a couple of years, leading to a few cavities. The idea of immediate oral surgeon was frightening.
The oral surgeon had provided care for Katie’s children so she at least felt comfortable enough to walk in the office door. Once inside, Katie expressed her fear. The surgeon immediately worked to set her mind at ease. He offered her a choice of teddy bears to hold (remember he works with children too) and opened a cabinet filled with CDs. Katie could pick her choice of music to listen to while the surgeon worked.
There it was, in the middle of the stack, the soundtrack to Man of La Mancha. Katie grabbed the disc and settled into the chair, bracing herself.
The surgeon administered novocaine and pulled out several scary looking metal instruments. Katie’s white knuckles must have been a sign to the surgeon that she was still tense. For, as soon as the familiar refrain from The Impossible Dream began, Katie’s doctor started belting out the tune at the top of his lungs. Behind the anesthesia, my sister grinned and relaxed her grip on the armrests. Oh, how she wished she could join in!
The doctor continued singing in full voice. As the song reached its final notes, the surgeon proclaimed, “To dream…the impossible dream…and, I’m done!”
Aside from the laughs my sister and I shared this morning, I hung up the phone reminded that we all face hard things in life. But, if we are lucky and open to the world, wonderful, crazy things can happen. I hope the next time I am afraid, there is someone there to belt out Helpless from Hamilton or Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita.
And, if you ever need a terrible singer to give comfort, I’m your girl.