Things That Make Me Smile

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” ~ Anne Frank

Photo by Nathan Cowley on

With all the negativity in the world today — COVID, elections, jobs loss, riots, murders, threats . . . . it would be easy to get bogged down in the ever present litany of fear and horror present in the news. The pessimists are out there screaming “the sky is falling” while the optimists are passing a joint and singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The realist is a fine combination of the two – aware that there are bad things happening around them, but confident there is still beauty and peace around them as well.

When I came to Alabama, I determined to surround myself with things that I love, things that make me smile. I suppose this is my version of the Marie Kondo of relocation.

The house, for starters. The age and history. The wood floors, the glass doorknobs. The cotton candy glass in the windows, the wood trim. The stairs and landing going between the kitchen and the entry way.

The area – the beauty of the mountains, the hues of shadows at sunset and the shafts of sunlight rising in the mornings. The humidity, the frequent bouts of rain. The proximity of the ocean and the beach as well as good friends.

The furniture I brought with me are mostly pieces I bought at yard sales, auctions and estate sales. Each piece, whether a chair or chest or bureau, spoke to me on some level and fits perfectly in this home.

My plants – I’ve always been told I didn’t have a green thumb. Then I realized that the person telling me that didn’t have a clue as I’d never attempted to grow anything. I now have several plants, doing quite well.

Sylvia, Hannah, Alvin and the Hussy (the only tomato plant to give me fruit)

The people – from my co-workers, to neighbors, to those who attend church, to the guy that mows my yard . . . everyone has been welcoming and friendly. My children, of course, are the delight of my life.

As we drive home, it starts as a smile and deepens into a grin, the closer we get to the Missouri home. Although we are miles apart, the time spent with family and loved ones also makes me smile. Memories made can never be taken away or lost. From my outspoken daughters, to grandchildren and seeing my sons success when we visit his store — all work to make a smile of pride light my face.

There is beauty around us. You just have to train yourself to look for it and once you do . . . you see it everywhere.

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