Pine Nuts: Sometimes a root canal can deliver a lucky day |

Pine Nuts: Sometimes a root canal can deliver a lucky day

When you get to spend time with an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old in the same day, well, you’ve had a good day. That’s one reason I love the holidays so, because such opportunities present themselves to enrich our lives.

The 8-year-old I had the privilege of communing with speaks four languages by his count, “Ewok, English, British and Scottish.”

Everett is his name. He says he wants to be a geologist. He already makes his own metal detectors that look impressive but in practice would not detect a freight train if it were bearing down on him.

The fact that his metal detectors don’t detect anything is not a deterrent to him. Off he goes on his treasure hunts anyway.

Knowing this about Everett I ordered a metal detector online, and when it arrived I got nearly as excited as he gets when he holds a metal detector in his hands.

I don’t have any gold in the house, but, as good fortune would have it, I was scheduled to have a root canal the following morning.

The solid-gold crown that good Dr. Yogi bestowed upon me on the island of Maui in the early 1970s was about to fall into my hands, and guess what?

Everett’s metal detector went off on that gold crown like a car alarm in the parking lot at Raley’s, for no reason at all. (I’d like to know who invented the car alarm and where he was hanged).

So here’s the plan. On Christmas morning I’m going to hide that gold crown, hopefully in the snow, outside Everett’s door, hand him the metal detector with a big red bow on it and sip warm eggnog while he turns into a hunting dog before my eyes.

Now, the 80-year-old I was lucky enough to have spent some quality time with is craftier even than Everett.

“Uncle Kenny” speaks the four languages that Everett speaks, with a little Pidgeon tossed in to make five. I told him of my plan to surprise Everett with my gold crown, and he sat in silence for a moment before saying with some solemnity, “I’m not a fortune hunter myself, and I don’t know the price of many things, but I do know the value of certain things, and I have a gold coin that was given me when I retired from the Nevada mining industry that I’d like to see buried along with that gold crown for Everett.”

“You can’t do that, Uncle Kenny,” I protested. “That coin represents a half century of your life. Leave it to Everett in your will if you’re so inclined, but you need to hang onto that coin.”

“Leave it in my will? What joy would that afford me? I want to be with you on Christmas morning, sipping warm eggnog, watching Everett turn into a hunting dog, or a geologist.”

Yes, you can set it down as a maxim, when you get to spend time with an 8-year-old and an 80-year-old in the same day, well, you’ve had a good day.

To learn more about McAvoy Layne, visit

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