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Smile it can't hurt

Floppy felt hat, gimpy left arm (gimpy since the third grade), filthy from head to toe, circa 1970s rusted sedan, lazy eye, cockeyed gold metal-framed glasses, ratty too-big shoes, dirty fingernails anything I missed matches the rest, but that laugh, that smile... that smile, that in Buckys case, shouts contentment; and gad, for looking at him, I could never tell you why. On the phone she says she works all the time a workaholic who loves her toys, who bought a new Z (I think its a car), lent it to Tommy cause hes a human and needs to be happy and she can take the Forerunner all week if thats how long Tommy wants to be happy. Waits for traffic dang near 30 minutes before she can pull out from her driveway in the Mystic, Conn., summer. She likes winter better its less crowded. She says Vermonters are easier going, more nice than Connecticut folks. She works security; 60-70 hours a week because work is life and life is fun. Even on the phone I can tell shes smiling through the entire conversation. Classmate Ike was big, probably still is; he grew up fast, no dad, smart, kind, independent but still part of the gang. Found his path clear in his late 20s and hasnt looked back. Most memorable aspects of Ike are his big hair and perpetual smile. Does the perpetual smile come from a constantly uplifted emotion or facial structure or both? Those who witness Ikes smile may never know and shouldnt care. A tiny mid-teenage girl, neatly dressed, personality plus, talky on the subject at all times looks a person in the eye when addressing; yes, she does it all with a beaming smile. I wasnt born yesterday and consider, perhaps, her smile is hiding rather than offering. It doesnt matter to us on the outside because its a great smile indeed; its an illuminating smile. Even during demanding times at work, one could sense, and usually see Tims smile. Photos of Tim away from work, on vacation, at home, always with others, always showed him wearing a smile. Tim stood for how powerfully uplifting an inside out smile can be. I say this knowing him only from seeing him on T.V. Every day there are 1,440 minutes from which we can choose we can decide how many of those minutes we want to spend wearing a smile. I believe youll believe this weeks column is corny, but I believe it just the same; each moment we spend smiling is a positive step toward world peace. Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act The Logger. His column appears weekly. He can be reached at rustyd@pshift.com. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com

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