I Have a Special Talent!

A red square with the word talent on it.

👀 I think I have a special talent to be proud of and that is the ability to make my wife smile whenever I want her to. Sometimes she tries to resist, but most of the time she lets it fly and a big, beautiful grin just creeps across her pretty face. I believe all of us have that talent if we choose to use it, we can make those we love smile at the drop of a hat. For sure, it takes a good effort to make it happen, but what could be more important? I discovered many years ago that if those around me were happy, then it only stood to reason it would be passed on to me. We mostly chase that elusive thing called “Happiness†by taking trips, watching movies, and going to amusement parks. I have found that happiness lives within my home, in my neighbor’s home, in talking with my daughter and grandchildren on the phone, and in taking my wife out to dinner. Happiness lurks everywhere, waiting for the opportunity to sneak up behind us and take over our body without making a sound. Happiness doesn’t understand why we look for it in other places when it is hiding in plain sight for us to find. My wife and I were driving down the road the other day, and I leaned over and told her, “When we get to the next red light, I will not move when it turns green until you give me a kiss.†The biggest smile spread across her face, and I got my kiss. I also got the satisfaction of knowing I had made her day a little more pleasant. I smile a lot, and I have the lines in my face to prove it.   Getting old had something to do with it also, but I prefer to think it’s mostly because I smile a lot 😊. I believe that if you let one single day go by and you didn’t smile, or brought a smile to someone else, you have wasted a very good day. “We do not completely love those at whom we cannot smile. Andre’ Maurois

👀 In 1880, the USA population was 50 million. Today it is 328 million (world population 7.5 billion). This certainly explains why shopping centers, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores are popping up all over the place. It seems we are determined to put something on every available piece of land within a 20 square mile radius of where I live. It’s projected that by 2050 there will be 438 million USA citizens. About 60% of us live east of the Mississippi River (approx. 200 million). Looks sorta like it’s going to get mighty crowded here on the east coast. True, our largest state is California with 39 million people, then Texas with 28 million, but after that the other states west of the Mississippi do not have very large populations. If I’m an optimist, that gives me many opportunities to create new friendships, but if I’m a pessimist, then it only means that I have to share everything I now enjoy. I think it’s kinda hard to be an optimist when you’re sitting on the freeway in a two-mile line of cars, waiting to get thru one of the many tunnels we have in our area. So how do we keep a positive outlook when faced with all the negatives that life throws our way? Firstly, I think negative thinking adds to an already deteriorating situation. Reminds me of an old saying, “If you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.†So, me worrying about all the new structures being built in our area creates stress, and we all know that stress is not good for us. Secondly, the new structures could actually improve our life by offering goods and services only available many miles away. Of course, the third option is to sell our home and move to a less congested area. We had better make that a good distance away because of the expected population increase. I read an article several months ago about a scientist that has calculated that our Sun will burn itself out in a gazillion years. Now that’s something I REALLY need to worry about! Albert Schweitzer said, “To the question as to whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic.†Hmm, that pretty much describes how I feel.

👀 This past holiday season was quiet for my wife and I. Some of the family had departed for warmer climes (California & Hawaii), and a lot of the people we love live in other states, too far away to make a quick visit. My son’s passing this past summer really put a damper on our enthusiasm, but we struggle on, hoping and praying that the hurt will diminish and that we can move on. There are so many people in our lives that love us and keep in constant touch, visiting and calling often. I was driving home from church a few Sundays ago and I noticed a father playing basketball with his two sons in the driveway. My thoughts floated back to when my two children were that age (10-12) and the things we did together. I think we travel through life thinking that things are permanent, the way they are now is the way they will always be. But as you age, you realize that everything is temporary, that nothing lasts forever. What does that realization gain you? It makes you more aware of those around you. It encourages you to live in the moment and appreciate the effort of others to make your life a little more enjoyable. I have a picture of myself (age 6) that sits on my desk, and I often wish I could go back in time and tell that smiling young face some things to do and be aware of as he travels through life. Armed with that knowledge, he would have become a better friend, son, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. No doubt, all of us would make different choices, be kinder and more considerate, if we could, somehow, acquire the knowledge of old age while we were young. The bottom line is, we can look back with regret, or forward with enthusiasm. I’m thinking that “forward†thing is better 😊.

👀 My grandson (David) sent me a message the other day, and it pertained to my great-grandson (Lane-4 years old). Lane was enrolled in a Prekindergarten class out in Tennessee (15 hours away from me) and there was an application named Dojo that I could install on my PC (phone also) and login to the school’s website with a password. The teachers can tell who is watching from afar and can welcome those viewers into her classroom. So, almost every day now, I log into his class and watch my great-grandson as he learns new stuff, and what a joy it is to observe. Fortunately, I can remember my first day at school in the 1st Grade. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Angel, and she definitely was not one of God’s angels. Whenever one of us (grades 1– 3) did anything to annoy her, we were sent outside to cut a switch, and it had better be a good one, and she used that switch all day. If my parents discovered about the school whipping, then we got another by them. I do remember learning new things in school and realizing there was so much I didn’t know! I figured if I kept learning new things, eventually I would know why there were so many stars in the sky, what made the sun come up each morning, and the moon creep into the sky at night. My expectations were huge, and as I watched Lane, I wondered if he had the same thoughts as I had when I was his age. His teachers use a lot of technology to help him learn, and I’m confident he is well on his way to finding out all the secrets of our universe just like his great-grandpa did 😊. Findley Dunne said, “It doesn’t make much difference what you study if you don’t like it.†Now, that’s a lollipop I can lick on!