FEB 09
Holiday: Toothache Day

"My God, did you see those teeth? Easy to see why he ended up on your doorstep, Padre." Dr Peterson shut the door to the exam room firmly behind him. "That poor woman probably couldn't afford milk, let alone toothpaste."

"Yes, it's terrible the way some people have to live. And with all the stigma attached to welfare - I suppose she thought it was better to give him up than live off the state, more's the pity."

"Pretty drastic step to take, still." The dentist sighed. "Wouldn't be so bad if he were younger, but at this age...imagine what he must be thinking."

"She must have been pretty desperate, I would think. But it takes a great deal of courage to do what you think is best for your child, even if it means giving him up. She must be quite a woman."

"Hmm, maybe. On the other hand, maybe she never wanted him and finally had enough."

Father O'Malley smiled softly and shook his head. "We really need to work on that pessimism of yours, my friend. It doesn't mesh with your helping us out like this, you know."

"Ah, don't even start on that, Padre. In the meantime, he's got several baby teeth that need to come out, and then..."

On the other side of the door, the small boy, almost lost in the large dentist chair, watched the closed door fearfully. He reached for the hand mirror on the cart beside the chair, holding it up and staring at the small dark teeth. He looked again at the closed door.

Was that why?