Three crowning achievements in one day :)

Over Memorial Day weekend, a temporary crown I’ve had for six weeks on my top right tooth, right at the end of my smile, gave way during an ill-considered overly-thorough flossing. I forgot to not floss up and down next to the crown. My regrettable zeal came just a week too soon–the cap supposed to permanently protect the site of my surprise root canal is scheduled to be placed next week Tuesday. I had to call my dentist in the middle of the Memorial Day weekend.

Above, “You forgot to floss.”

Being an inveterate outdoor nut, Dr. Gatrell was white river rafting several hours away from Salt Lake City. Since I had no pain and he said to glue the tooth back with toothpaste–it makes an airlock–we decided to wait for the repair until this morning. The toothpaste trick worked amazingly and the tooth did not drop off in my sleep and get swallowed. I walked over this morning and the job took about 15 minutes.

I love my dentist–his toothpaste-glue attitude suits me perfectly. He never panics or tells me I immediately need expensive dental work. He usually says of a toothache, “They often come and go. We can wait a few days to see if it goes away or if it gets really bad. Fifty-fifty.” It often goes away. He is the first dentist I have had who did not immediately want to replace my only remaining 40-year-plus mercury-alloy filling that is still lasting from South Africa. He never offers to bleach my teeth. He does not have a video-screen on the ceiling or any other expensive perks that have nothing to do with fixing teeth. I left his office with as close to a hop and a skip as a 68-year-old with a formerly shattered heel-bone, now arthritic, can manage. 

Peter picked me up and we ran some errands. Once back home, I got to my e-mail for the first time today: Surprise! The City of Salt Lake, where our Roberta Street house was, invited me and Peter to ride in a fancy vintage sports car in their 4th of July parade, because they had recently recognized me as Senior Citizen of the Year for my dementia advocacy.


Left, the 2017 4th of July parade of South Salt Lake City. Dante is in the left corner, ogling the belly dancers. Right, Gerda being recognized as The City of South Salt Lake’s Senior Citizen of the year. I am beneath the video screen, the white dot of my hair against the black background. Mayor Cherie Wood holds the award plaque to give me.

Imagine Peter and Gerda from Marikana and Pretoria participating in a 4th of July parade in the USA other than as spectators–the same parade we have gone to with our kids and grandkids for many years! I am, of course, extremely touched. At the same time, I laugh hysterically every time I think of it. What shall I wear?

Maybe Oprah will loan me her hat? Or should I go for the Senior Ms America look?

There was a second surprise in my e-mail: both my sine qua non agent, Kate Garrick, and the marketing person at Hachette in charge of my book, Odette Fleming, sent notes to say that today was publication day for the paperback issue of my book. Peter and I high-tailed it to Barnes & Noble, an even shorter walk than to my dentist, and found a bunch of paperback copies.


The manager, Cammie Kirkham-Herret, asked me to sign the copies and placed them on the “Local Authors” table near the entrance. Peter, as always, was there to share my joy and gratitude. As before, he also joins me on the cover in a selfie he took 50 years ago, long before there were selfies. He will be in my heart until I no longer have a self-ie.

Here is the only link to the paperback I was able to find today.