My last post was about the joy that a good cry brings. Now, I think I’ll give smiling some equal time. And, yes, the title is a quote from Steel Magnolias - Truvie, played by Dolly Parton, said it in the movie that always brings a lot of both smiles and tears when I watch it, so it is fitting to use for this post. Afterall, aren’t laughter and tears so closely tied you often find them all wrapped up in the same emotional situations?
When I first sat down with the idea for a post on smiling, it was going to head in a very different direction than where my thoughts ended up going. I intended to focus on things that make me smile. When thinking of a good title, I immediately thought of using the Steel Magnolias quote (duh – isn’t there a great Steel Magnolias quote for every situation?) and that led me to wondering what other quotes are out there about the value of smiles. So, I ran a search and found a ton of them. Then, I started thinking of songs that talk about how smiles hide inner pain or deception. And then, I started thinking about the close ties that smiling and crying have – as I’ve already talked about in my opening paragraph. I soon realized that the topic of smiles is so much deeper than just coming up with a bulleted list of what makes me smile. So, this will be a mixed bag of all that the word “Smile” brought out in me this morning. And, yes, there were tears along the way – but not sad ones!
I’ll start with what makes me smile – my original intent for this post – in no particular order, except for the first three:
My dogs – the girls
Daisies – the happiest flower on the planet
Pearls, opals, and amethysts
The wind blowing across my face
A beautiful blue sky
A job well done – especially if it was particularly challenging
Listening to the sounds of nature breaking the silence of a quiet morning
The pony with the top down on a warm spring day (like later today, for sure)
The following picture makes me smile and it just screams “life is good”! You may not see it, but I do. It is of my Poppie – the main reason it makes me smile, but that isn’t all. To know why it screams “life is good”, you have to look really close and know more about the bigger context. First, he is on the phone doing what he loved to do – working on his locksmith business – in this case, it looks like he was placing a parts order. He is surrounded by drawers and racks of tools and little bitty pieces and parts on the shelves behind him – he LOVED stuff like that and it simply sent him into a tizzy of happiness just knowing he had everything he would ever need to fix anything that would ever need to be fixed and it was all within reach at all times! He is sitting in front of his computer – something else that brought him pure joy and a hobby of building computers for friends and family. Then, on the wall beside him there are photos of the grandchildren and others and above that, where you can’t see in this photo, is a photo of him with all his siblings with their mother on her birthday. The filing cabinet behind him has a clipping of his niece’s engagement announcement, a plaque that reads “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice” – something that describes him to a “T”, and the name “Marilyn” – his wife, my mother! So, yes – this photo makes me smile every time I come across it – it looks like a busy mess, but it is a perfect image of who he was and what meant the world to him. Of course there was a lot more that he found joy in and every photo of him makes me smile, but this one says so much all in one brief snapshot in time.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of a smile? Maybe a big toothy grin – like the ones in the Pedigree Doggie Dentures commercials or Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple when Shug Avery finally makes her realize that she has a pretty smile? Maybe something funny, like perhaps a clown? Clowns – there is a word that can bring a lot of depth to the topic of smiles. Aside from the evil, scary clowns, the typical image that comes to mind is a clown with a big smile painted onto their face. But, not all clowns are happy clowns. Take Emmitt Kelly, for instance. Arguably the most famous clown ever, Emmitt Kelly based his clown on the depression era and always had a sad, worried look on his face. I loved the image of Emmitt Kelly. I used to do ceramics and did a figurine of Emmitt Kelly for my Mom, who also had a soft spot for the famous clown. We also had a large portrait of Kelly in our home for many years (in fact, it is on the wall beside Poppie in the photo above) – one that I would love to find out where it ended up and put in my home.
Thinking of Emmitt Kelly and the old saying “Tears of a clown” brings to mind two Smokey Robinson songs that focus on how a smile or someone who is trying so hard to make you laugh may be hiding heartache. The first song was titled “Tears of a Clown” and the other was “Tracks of My Tears”. If you want to listen to them, you’ll need to click the link that comes up to take you to YouTube because of licensing issues (definitely something that does NOT make me smile whenever it happens).
A song that focuses on the deceit that smiles can hide is one by Undistuted Truth called “Smiling Faces”. Oh, and by the way – if the big white afro wigs don’t make you smile, nothing will!
Like I said earlier, I found tons of quotes related to smiling. Here are some that stuck out for me – most reflect my opinion that it is so much healthier and easier to go through life with a positive outlook and find the joy in things that make you smile.
- “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” ~Phyllis Diller
- “A smile confuses an approaching frown.” ~Author Unknown
- “Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available.” ~Jim Beggs
- “A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home.” ~Author Unknown
- “Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it.” ~Author Unknown
- “I have a tickle in my brain. And it keeps making the corners of my mouth point toward the heavens.” ~Jeb Dickerson
- “Keep smiling – it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.” ~Author Unknown
And finally - a video full of clips of Charlie Chaplin – the MASTER of mixing tears with laughter. I dare anyone to watch this and not break out into a smile at least once – even if only from listening to the song that comes along with it!
Now – go out and find something to smile about……I hope this post put one on your face!
To close out this post, here are the lyrics to “Smile” – by Charlie Chaplin
Tho’ your heart is aching
Even tho’ it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by
Smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining thru for you.
Light up your face with gladness
Hide ev’ry trace of sadness
Altho’ a tear maybe ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
What’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is stillworth while
If you’ll just smile.