I grew up in DeLand, a very small town in Volusia County, Florida. It’s probably best described as quaint and was recently one of many small towns selected for an award as such. As a young adult, I enjoyed walking through downtown, exploring the shops and frequently running into someone I knew. Once, I even rescued a lost giraffe, but that’s another story for another day. Small towns make for interesting tales…
A recent shopping experience jolted me back to a memory as a young adult wandering around DeLand. I had been shopping and was crossing the street to get to the local bookstore. I was wearing a dark blue dress and I was in a good mood, actually happy, though I don’t now remember why. An older man, whom I didn’t know, was crossing the street as well and I judged we would cross paths right about the middle of the intersection. I was smiling, and nodded with a “hello” as we passed. He stopped and took my hands as we reached one another, saying to me, “You have a beautiful smile. Don’t ever stop.” He let my hands go and continued walking away. I stood in the intersection surprised and watched him a moment before continuing my day.
Last week, I went shopping at the local Publix. It had been an annoying day and I found I was further frustrated with the idiots of the general population as I tried to shop quickly and get home. I was stopped at the bakery, unable to move because of the conversation between two people (oblivious to their surroundings) and an unsupervised child wandering around carrying a frozen pizza. I contained my frustration and finally, when the sea of people parted, made my way to get two croissants. As I zeroed in on my target, an older man walked past me and said, “just smile.” I stopped and I was instantly taken back to the moment I crossed the street many years ago. I got the croissants and turned, seeing the man making his way toward the ice cream. I caught up with him and put my hand on his shoulder as I walked past him. “Thanks for the reminder.” I gave him a smile and made my way to complete my shopping.
Always remember to smile. If nothing else, it makes people wonder what you’re up to.