By Norma Kirkpatrick
The words to a song aptly named “Smiles” are: There are smiles that make me happy; there are smiles that make me blue; there are smiles that steal away the teardrops, as the sun beam steals the dew. There are smiles that have a tender meaning, that the eyes of love alone can see, but the smiles that fill my heart with sunshine, are the smiles that you give to me.
When we smile, we cheer up our own selves. There is something about turning up the corners of our mouth that makes it difficult to think unpleasant thoughts. It is hard to pass someone and say, “Good morning,” without giving them a smile.
If they don’t give you one back, it’s probably not a good morning for them.
And then, some people are just grouches, so don’t take it personally.
I was going up and down the grocery aisle, checking my list and choosing canned goods to put in the basket. A young mother was absorbed in a conversation on her cell phone while she looked on the shelves for what she needed. In her shopping cart sat a darling little toddler, holding on to the bar of the basket. He was very passive, as she totally ignored him.
When our eyes met, he gave me a big smile and I gave him one back; his mother was totally oblivious to the exchange. It was our little secret gift to one another and it made both of us feel better. Sometimes we get so busy doing other things that we miss out on the smiles that fill our heart with sunshine; smiles from the people we love the most.
There are smiles from lips that are perfectly lipsticked; or saggy old lips that have lost their shape. Sometimes there is an outright toothy grin that qualifies here as a smile.
Sometimes we have all smiled those melancholy smiles as we said goodbye to loved ones we would not be seeing again for a long time; or maybe never. There are “first tooth” smiles and snaggled tooth smiles; and toothless smiles.
But, there are no bad smiles and we have so many to give away; our smile basket is bottomless. If you don’t get one back every time you give one, that was the one somebody needed the most. We never know what is going on in other people’s lives, nor how much difference a smile can make. Give one, take one, and share one.
Kirkpatrick is a guest columnist for the Opelika Observer. She is a wordsmith who has contributed to teaching materials, magazines and newspapers. She also collaborates with authors on literary projects and writes an occasional poem. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.