While standing in line at the grocery store, and in an attempt to take my mind off how much I was spending, I took up a conversation with a kid in front of me.

I like it when kids smile at me, even though I'm a stranger, as it's good to know that some of our younguns can still be friendly without feeling like they're in danger.

He was missing a front tooth so I asked him what the tooth fairy was paying nowadays. Since it's been years since I've been in the tooth paying business I was curious how inflation has affected the under-the-pillow-money. Five bucks he said, and they even have fancy little boxes to put them in. No more fumbling under the pillow in the dark for a tiny tooth, they have tooth boxes. No more quarters, they're into bills now.

My daughters don’t seem to be bothered or worried about the economy, or country. I remember being a young and carefree adult and listening to my parents' constant worries, and not giving it another thought. Unfortunately, along with worrying about aging bodies and minds, those of us 50 and over, are more paranoid because we know losing a job, much less a tooth, at mid-life, is a crisis.

Leaving the grocery store still mulling over the tooth fairy and my grocery bill, a brightly colored van pulled up next to me at the stoplight. At first I thought it was advertising a circus or some kind of festival until I realized it was a "Foreclosure Tour Bus" and that's when it hit me - I should have bought the off-brand toilet paper and I really don’t need flavored bottled water.

The country may be in a whirlwind of whodunits, but I’m just trying to concentrate on fixing myself. The eating right scenario has worked and although it took more than three years, I managed to shed 25 pounds. I’ll admit I feel better since losing the weight, but the gain on the grocery bill is hard to swallow. It doesn't seem right or fair, in order to eat fresh veggies, lean meat and less starch, it’s more expensive and takes more time to prepare. It’s no wonder so many folks have problems with their weight. Eating fast food, boxed food and canned food is much easier to prepare and costs less.

My guy, who by the way, isn’t a fan of giving up gravy, fried food and desserts, suggested instead of buying the special 100-calorie bags of snacks I just get a large bag and divvy it up on my own. If I were to count out 16 animal crackers for each bag, eventually I would start cheating with two more, then three more and before you know it, I would just eat the whole thing.

So in theory, (my own of course) today's economy is having more of an effect on those of us considered to be middle-agers, because the young folk are still living in the fast lane and it doesn't worry the old-timers because they've already been there and done that.

For the amount of money it’s going to cost to get a crown put on, I’m wondering what the tooth fairy would give me for a cracked back molar.

-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at sandydownhome@hotmail.com