Erma is the “Domino Queen” in an Ohio retirement community. She wins and she wins. Erma’s the undisputed, unsurpassed Domino champion. Hands down. Tiles up. Tiles down. At least, that’s what David, Fred and Bob told me.

L to R: Fred (age 94), Dave (age 85) & Bob (age 100)

Fred, Dave, and Bob couldn’t stop smiling. They laughed. They giggled like school girls. They smiled. Big grins. Ear-to-ear grins. Laughing so hard I thought some teeth might come flying my way. Or at least, someone might need to change their Depends. All of it was over a statement by the century-old jokester of the elderly trio — “She doesn’t’ even smile when she wins.”

Then the threesome got serious. They felt sorry for Erma. They wondered. They lamented. What could be the reason behind a person never smiling? Even when she wins. Doesn’t everyone smile when they win? Between the triad of elderly friends, they conjectured about what kind of painful life experiences Erma might have encountered that would lead her to a smile-less existence. David suggested she might have possibly eked out a slight smile one time in all the years they’ve lived in the retirement center. But Bob argued, “She doesn’t even smile when she wins.”

We’ve been told by those chain emails that it only takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. That’s debatable. Some naysayers claim it’s quite the opposite. Possibly, it takes more muscles to smile than to frown. The reality is, every smile is different. One person’s smile is another person’s smirk. So, a smile is pretty hard to measure.

Mother Teresa said, We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do,”  Absolutely! True! A smile can fill a depleted soul. A smile can bridge a language barrier. A smile can diffuse road rage. A smile can welcome a stranger to the potential of a friendship. And so much more.

Linda Augsburger Gingerich

Fred’s daughter, my wife Linda, is the best at smiles. She even smiles when she loses. She smiles at strangers in the airport. She smiles at friends. She smiles at her children and grandchildren. She almost always smiles at me.

As a labor and delivery nurse for over 25 years, hundreds of babies have been welcomed to a brand new sphere with her beautiful smile. They are privileged, fortunate and blessed. Whether starting life outside the womb or finishing life in a retirement community, everyone deserves a smile.

Who will you intentionally smile at today? Your smile just might prevent despair, a suicide or World War III. At the least, someone else’s heart will be filled. Someone will be encouraged. Someone will be blessed. Have a smile-filled day!


Question: Do you have any story to share of how a smile blessed you? Share it in the comment section below.



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