The Blue Toothbrush

Last week I was looking for a new toothbrush in the Oral Hygiene aisle at the pharmacy. There were so many kinds to choose from –

Angle edge deep clean bristles. Power tip bristles. Opposing angle bristles . Toothbrushes that scratched your tongue,  or gently massaged your gums in bold bright multi colors.

Then off to the side, in plain packaging, was a basic blue toothbrush for 99 cents. It had straight white bristles, with a plain plastic blue handle.

It was the toothbrush I was looking for in 1997.  I had wandered through dozens of pharmacies in the winter of 1997 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan looking  for a toothbrush like this.

My father had asked me to buy him a new toothbrush.  He was in the hospital dying of liver cancer.   He wanted one exactly like the one he brought with him to the hospital.  The toothbrush he was using

reminded me of my floor scrubbing brush with its bristles all bend and curled out from forcefully scrubbing out spots.

He had his toothpicks. They were sticking out of a roll of surgical medical tape he had taped to his bedside table.

He had sharks cartilage in his bedside table drawer, and he had his Louis Lamore western novels to read. All he needed was a new toothbrush.

And I wanted to buy the blue toothbrush for my dad when I saw it last week.  But I was 14 years too late.  He died March 17th, 1998.


5 responses to “The Blue Toothbrush

  1. Your post reminded me of how seeing something can unexpectedly bring a recollection of a vivid experience even years later.

  2. awww sometimes those memories just have a way of sneaking up on us don’t they? I know. I had to read your slice when I saw your name…my maiden name is Hodges. Any relation in Oklahoma?

  3. What a poignant post. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Wow — talk about big feelings in tiny details. I’m glad you had memories of your dad in the toothbrush aisle. Thanks for sharing it with us,

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