By Jill H. Garrett

"Erma Bombeck and I must've been siblings! Like a goose at the beginning of each day, everything is brand new and joyful! Oh, we may have to open our eyes a little wider to get the full panoramic view, but hey, it's worth it.

About 60 years ago, I learned it takes far fewer muscles and energy to smile than to frown ...so, why not be "lazy!" Smiling isn't always spontaneous, often we have to allow for a "faux-smile." You know the kind. We aren't always really stuck on the person who just said something to us. Why, we might not have even been listening, but suddenly, it was time to react like we appreciated their titillating remarks. And no, for ultra-conservatives, titillating is not a naughty word... it's sort of like tickling our eardrums without anyone touching 'em.

After age 50, did you ever look into the mirror? I mean really look! Suddenly, a strange-but-familiar face looked back. It was like an inchworm had dipped itself in ink and glided around leaving a trail to mysteriously follow. What the heck! Must've been a frightened inky-inchworm or it could've been just crawling slowly and was affected by one of my bad dreams.

The only lines that I might appreciate staring back at me in that mirror were those that tattle-tailed a (what else) smile! No one would fault that, would they? Guess that reflection made me question just what makes or made me smile?

I could be reacting to what happened just before going to bed. I had locked the front and back door, turned off the last lamp, and there in one of the panes of our French doors was what appeared to be a disconcerting, small red light in the trees just outside our back fence. Well that surely got my attention, even though I don't conject over UFO's. And the even more fascinating occurrence was the red light seemed to move as I moved then suddenly disappear. Well, I was about to awake my husband and then go for the pellet rifle under the bed, when I glanced over at the clock radio. Yep, the mysterious red light was coming from it! Stupid! At any rate, it did confirm I had a creative imagination, plus finding the smallest of situations fascinating. Smile!

I also could have recalled perusing through the refrigerator for a snack for me and our oldest (4 years) great grandson. Nothing interesting there... Flung open the pantry and discovered bag of (of all things) chocolate marshmallows. Couldn't even remember purchasing them, but they really looked appealing. So, we popped 'em in our mouths and darn near threw-up immediately. Some things just look better than they taste! And when I spit mine out, he took his clue and whirled his out with a weeks’ worth of saliva with it. Don't you ever wonder how kids store up food in their cheeks like a beaver or squirrel? I mean they tuck several veggies inside their cheeks that they want you to think they're eating, while you applaud and praise. Just another smile option.

And you know what? Just these two memories made me accept the strange-but-familiar reflection in the bathroom mirror. I didn't even consider that inchworm scenario. I just appreciated the smile that came back to me, even without asking!"

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