It was all set to be a picture perfect holiday in our new farmhouse … until I sent my daughters on a drug run from the dinner table.
Let me back up.
Our gorgeous farm table was beautifully set with crisp, white plates, darling mason jar water glasses, and colorful leaves from the surrounding woods dotting the table. Dim lights and candlelight, a tasty locally raised turkey roasting in the spanking new oven. Wow. My husband was right. This was The Greatest Decision in Our Marriage: being sometimey farmers.
Until … “Hmmm. That’s odd. Why can I feel my heart beating in my jaw?” One of my molars had been giving me problems for months, but all of the sudden something felt different.
Filled with fresh air and holiday zeal, I had started Thanksgiving Day with a hike and yoga with my daughters. I thought that keeping busy would take my mind off the dull, thumping pain in my mouth.
“No worries,” I thought. “Just focus on the Thanksgiving Day Parade and The National Dog Show and keep peeling potatoes.”
Hours later, my in-laws arrived and were appropriately wowed by the beautiful tablescape and kitchen aromas. Cue the music, light the candles, carve the turkey, mash the potatoes, let’s do this First Farm Thanksgiving!
We all sat down and began The Thanksgiving Feed.
“What the? Why am I having labor pains in my mouth?”
From the first bite of turkey, it began. Blinding, thumping, unspeakable pain jolted through my jaw and head and I let out a string of ugly expletives in front of my mother-in-law that would make Niki Minaj blush. The poor thing leaned into my father-in-law, asking, “Do we need to call an exorcist?”
I took to the bed. Ice packs, moaning, more nasty toads jumping out of my mouth. (https://fairytalez.com/fairies-diamonds-and-toads/) I popped Advil and Tylenol like Halloween candy. Nothing was touching this pain. I mean, I have gone through labor three times with large headed children. This pain was way, way beyond that. Like, really.
I sent an SOS to my dentist, pleading, begging for help. For drugs, quite frankly. But, unfortunately, we were in Small Town Ohio on a holiday and there were no pharmacies open in a two-hour radius. None. Anywhere. I fell into a sad, pathetic lump, when a miracle happened. Not only did my dentist call me back, I can’t even believe what he did. He and my daughters orchestrated a holiday drug drop for me. Saint Dentist left his family’s Thanksgiving table to bring me an emergency supply of prescription painkillers. They were to meet him half way at a truck stop off the highway. As my daughters scurried out the door, I pushed a pumpkin pie and a bottle of wine into their hands to give him as thanks. I don’t know what the etiquette on that kind of thing, but it was all I could think of in my blinding pain.
My daughters were Thanksgiving drug mules.
It worked. Percocet, sweet Percocet. Just enough to shush the pain.
I finally fell into a misty, drug induced sleep, the sounds of dishes and the hushed, shocked mumblings of my in-laws ringing in my ears. The toads were back safely inside my mouth. Thank you, Jesus. I spent the rest of the weekend in a drug haze as we hosted about 100 family members the next day with hayrides, leftovers and a big roaring fire in the fireplace.
While it wasn’t the Thanksgiving for which I had planned for the previous seven months, there were many blessings at that table. First of all, of course, we were sitting in a beautiful house that was finished just in the nick of time, thanks to my husband, The Foreman, cracking the whip on me, and I on the Amish builders. (https://marymargaretconway-sullivan.squarespace.com/config/). And then there was the meal itself. I can’t vouch for how it tasted, as I was incapacitated by pain, but it looked and smelled amazing. My people were tucked in safely around me. And there was the miracle of Saint Dentist, the expediency of Fauna and Meriwether, and the blessing of modern pharmaceuticals. And we had established a new tradition: The Farm Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving, though, we are at our real home. When it comes to holiday gatherings and family, my mother used to say, “it’s not about the food.” (And that’s not just because she was an Irish cook). It’s not about the place, either. My in-laws find the short trip to the farm a bit daunting, so we’re just staying put because Thanksgiving is about being together, sharing stories, laughing, hugging, and celebrating life and each other. And every Thanksgiving since that dramatic one on our farm, as I dive into my second helping of pumpkin pie, I also celebrate the gift of oral health.