I’ve got a goofy smile. One eye squints almost shut and my mouth is crooked. I resemble a gnome when I’m happy but but I still love any occasion that turns up the corners of my mouth. This month I’ve had a number of such times and all of them have involved people. The truth is that no amount of money nor fame is better than knowing that there are people who really care about me and that I in turn love. I’ve been lucky enough to see many of them of late and all of them make me beam with unadulterated joy.
I try to get together with a group of friends from my last job as often as possible. Most of them are still working so it’s not easy to find a date when we are all free but luckily we did so not long ago. We met up at Ninfa’s on Navigation which, on a side note, I highly recommend. As is always the case we laughed and chattered and felt so very relaxed with one another. A plus was the fact that the food was also great. Someone remarked that most of us were English majors in college. I don’t know if that has anything to do with how well we get along but it’s amazing how in sync we always seem to be. We’ve agreed to meet again before school starts so that we might compare stories about the trips that each of us will be taking during these warm months. I have no doubt that we will once again talk and grin until we get dirty looks from the waiters hoping that we get the hint and move on.
A certain graduation brought a huge smile to my face recently. It was for a young man whom I had tutored for three years. He had worked quite hard to earn his diploma and I knew as well as anyone how much the occasion meant to him. I felt as though I was floating through the air when he walked across the stage. It was as grand a day as I have experienced in a long time. My face must have shown my elation as the corners of my mouth almost touched my ears.
My grandson is home from college for the summer. I only got to see him a couple of times during the school year. He attends Purdue University and has a schedule as busy as the President of the United States. It was so good to finally meet up with him at Bob’s Taco Station if only for an hour or so. I marveled at how much he has matured in only one short year. He is definitely a man now. Not a shred of boyishness seems to remain in his demeanor. A smile of pride and of course lots of love lit up my face the whole time that we were together.
I had the privilege of serving as a chaperone for my godson and his brother while their mother attended a conference a couple of weeks ago. We all flew together to Boston and while she worked, we played. Boy was it fun! I suspect that I was even smiling in my sleep. We saw so many wondrous things but best of all we got to know each other even better. It was a very special time in which we laughed and told silly stories and just felt as comfortable as can be. I can’t wait until I am needed for another trip one day. We built some important memories together which will no doubt always bring brightness to my face whenever I recall them.
My second oldest grandson is going to be a senior in high school next year. He is in the process of visiting colleges and so Mike and I took him to Texas A&M University a week ago. We had a grand time touring the recreation center, the dorms and many of the engineering buildings. I have a particular love for the Aggies because my father was one. Every time I visit the campus I feel his spirit. I know that he will be quite proud if his great grandson decides to get his education there. I smiled quite a bit at the thought of having another Aggie in the family, especially the one who just happens to be named after my dad. When my grandson admitted that he would be quite excited to go there I suspect that my grin was so big that I resembled a Cheshire cat. It was fun to be able to share this important moment with him.
Last Saturday I invited several of my former students to a party at my house. I wanted to celebrate their graduations from college. It was rewarding to hear how wonderfully they are all doing. I want to believe that I may have had at least a tiny bit of influence on them. I know that they bring me incalculable happiness. Knowing that they have already accomplished so much makes my teaching years seem all the more fruitful. I smiled and smiled and smiled as they spoke of their successes and their dreams. I hope that my expression told them how much I love them.
On Father’s Day I made dinner for Mike and his dad. We had an incredible time just as we always do. They are the two most important men in my life. Both of them watch over me and would probably walk through fire for me. Just being with them is reason enough to smile. We have a long history of sharing happiness and sorrow. I burst into a visage of elation when I think of how lucky I have been to be with the two of them. They make me feel so beautiful and important that I fairly beam.
I just spent the past week in a trailer built for two with my daughter and her three children. Stuffing the six of us inside reminded me of a circus act when dozens of clowns go inside a tiny car. For a time the refrigerator didn’t work and all of us were almost eaten alive by chiggers but somehow we muddled through. Nothing could have kept me from beaming from ear to ear. Just being together was all that I needed to feel elated. We went to see movies on a workday afternoon and ate delicious hamburgers and fries from Hopdoddy. We walked through museums filled with scientific wonders and history. In the evenings I watched the children swim at McKInney Falls. They were so delighted as they jumped into the cooling waters. Our time together was a blast and we hardly noticed that we were stuffed inside our home on wheels like sardines.
While we were camping in Austin one of my cousins invited us to visit with her and her family. They treated us to a gourmet dinner that included a taste test of seven different yummy desserts. The kids had great fun playing with Legos and making music while we adults enjoyed sharing stories about our ancestors. There were happy faces all around.
These are the things that make me smile. Right now I’m feeling quite content as I gaze on the flowers in my yard and watch the birds playing in the trees. It’s summertime and the whole world is seems to be alive. Best of all my adventures have only just begun. We’ll be celebrating my mother’s birthday on Monday and in about a week we will head for California. There are so many reasons to be elated that I suspect I am wearing a smile even now.