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Thursday, December 29, 2011
The taxi taking me the short distance from the miltary airport terminal to the commercial airport terminal hinted to me that Alaska was more expensive than Washington, costing me five dollars! Five dollars was worth more in 1970.
While I waited for a free military stand-by flight to Seattle, a woman came down the terminal hall and gazed into the waiting room. Along the way she said hello to everyone, and she beamed. Despite some teeth missing, hers was the most beautiful smile I'd ever seen. And she was the first Eskimo (Inuit) I had ever seen in person. She was short and broad, with darker skin and straight black hair, and was wearing clothing of leather and fur.
She took in all and everyone as though she loved what she saw. It was as if the world were magic to her, and if she looked at you, you'd know she loves you. After two years in the Army, returning from a hardship tour overseas, I was amazed as I watched her. And she saw me, and she kept her infectious smile, beaming, and so I smiled back, and probably beamed myself. Then she turned, said hello to a couple more people, and walked away.
I haven't seen an Eskimo since, but I like Eskimos. They remind me of a smile. Perhaps since, when this woman thought of American soldiers, they'd remind her of my smile. So what does it take to make the world a better place? I remember after my Christian conversion it seemed like everyone smiled. As I walked down the street, passers-by would smile at me. Bus drivers smiled at me. Everybody smiled! And then it dawned on me. I was smiling, and they were simply returning it.
When a father goes outside to play catch with his son, they're happy. Their whole home seems happier. But when we play catch with a smile, the whole world seems happier...and is.
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