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Posts Tagged ‘smiles’

The smartphone delivered fine pictures of my brother and my mother celebrating her 90th birthday.

There is genuine happiness there, and it has to do with more than the fabulous frosting on the cake.  Even at a distance, I am forever affected by the radiance of my mother’s smile.  It has always been that way.

My mother has a gift for displacing the unpleasantries of life. They can be stored high in a garage, manicured into a garden, or at this stage of life, simply forgotten.

When I was young, and the household occasionally knee-deep in dysfunction, the direction from my mother was to “sit under the linden tree and think kind thoughts.”  Despite the bench my father built under that tree in our back yard, I feel few kind or unkind thoughts were ever deposited there.

But my mother, even now, is a prodigious, sure-footed gardener and her choice of a linden, esteemed in mythology and folklore, was undoubtedly well-intentioned.

Hers is a smile without guile.  It hides and deceives nothing. There is an innocence to it that is crushing. It can split any moment because darkness simply does not exist for its bearer. Dismay cannot get traction in such a setting.

I have only ever seen my mother’s smile elsewhere once.  Decades ago, the sports page of the local newspaper featured a 10-year old boy, hoisting a first catch, a beauty of a rainbow trout. The beaming smile on his face, for that frozen moment, was just like hers.

Somewhere, I still have that folded yellowed clipping. Smiles are so transient, guarded, or spare, it is good to have a few keepers.  And for now, that includes my mother.  Her smile is her greatest gift to me. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

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