The Magic of My Smile

magic, smileAt first, I wasn’t sure how to use it. A handshake made sense, but how many people do I actually shake hands with in a span of a day?

So then I thought, how about just in the tilt of my head? When I’m ready to dispense my magic, I’ll just tilt my head and ta da –magic completed.magic, smile

But no, I decided, too impersonal and detached. Same with my rather whimsical idea of wrinkling my nose aka Samantha in “Bewitched.” When I’m ready to bestow this newfound magic, I need to do it up front and personal. I was rather proud of my new powers, so I wanted to share them in as pleasant and friendly a way as possible.

So my smile became the vehicle for my magic. Continue reading

An Unexpected Friend

friendship, friends, man's best friend, smileI make a new friend on a recent trip to the right coast.

His name is Oliver, and he’s my brother’s dog.

This golden lab mix, 5 years old, is about as loving a being as you’ll ever find anywhere on this earth.

As I arrive at my brother’s Maryland home, Oliver waits for me at the front door like I’m a long-delayed special guest. The tip of his tail wags first, as if he wonders if I’m as nice as he’s been told. When I greet him happily, bending down so we can meet eye to eye, his wag travels down the rest of his tail, and then onto his body, which can hardly contain his excitement.

Yes, we bond immediately.

Oliver brings me his special stuffed muskrat. friendship, dogs, dog toy

He tours me around the acreage of his family estate, proudly showing off the peach and apple tees, the vegetable garden, and the strawberry patch.

When I rub him down, he talks to me with a prolonged squeal, similar to the sound of a young boy swallowing helium.

An endearing trait.

When I sink into the hot tub with my brother and sister-in-law on a cool but gorgeous Sunday morning, Oliver splays himself on the pool curb besides me, licking my cheek every so often, just checking up on me.

dogs, hydrantIn other words, we become fast friends.

I take Oliver for a 45-minute walk, and he shows me every colorful hydrant in town, and introduces me to the neighborhood cat, who enjoys playing “chase me up a tree.”

But then it’s time to say goodbye.

With suitcase at my side, I stand by the front door. Oliver approaches quietly, sitting in front of me, ramrod straight, gazing into my eyes and then suddenly, lifts his left lip so high it almost reaches his nose.

I stare back, open-mouthed.

“That’s his smile,” my brother explains.friendship, man's best friend, woman's best friend


I curl my lip in response and hug my new-found friend with fierce appreciation.

We find friends sometimes in the most unexpected places…

Covered in the most unexpected body types….

Offering unexpected joy and love.

As I return to the left coast, I find myself seated in the plane, curling my lip often as I think of my new unexpected friend.

friendship, dog friendship, smile

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions – the little, soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look or heartfelt compliment.
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

No RE-lax at LAX

LAX, terminal, crowdsWhen I first enter the LAX (Los Angeles Airport) terminal I’m immediately bombarded with a mass of humanity. Where did everyone come from? Well, literally, from Hong Kong and Chicago, Honolulu and New York, Singapore and … but I digress.

Besides the fact that thousands of men, women, children and babies are strewn throughout the airport like fish trying to swim upstream, I note that no one looks (dare I say it without sounding extremely naïve?)…. friendly.

My man and I escape to hopefully more amiable rooms at the Admiral’s Club, where those with American Airline points (and a club membership) can get away from the general riff raff and re-lax in peace. Sure enough, the men and women here scowl silently. Their heads are lowered to their cell phones or I-Pads or laptops. I search for long minutes to find someone talking to someone else.

Wait – out of the 50 or so people sitting on leather chairs and couches and tall café stools, I do see half a dozen conversing. On their phones. To someone not in the same room as they.

Okay, perhaps I’m being too cynical. Somebody must be smiling. Somewhere.

My tired eyes (our flight was over 5 hours) scan the room and the bar, where a 10-year-old kid carries a glass of red wine to some adult not nearby. An attractive mid-20s  woman, wearing a tight red sweater, tighter black leggings, and stiletto-heeled black boots, seemingly talks to herself as she munches on pretzels. I presume she’s wearing a little earpiece in her diamond-studded ears. Many important-looking men carry worry-lines between their eyebrows like a badge of honor.

I quietly scoot two rooms away to the “Ladies Room.” A few nice-looking woman (Hollywood stars, perhaps? though I don’t recognize anyone) primp in front of the mirror. After washing my hands, I search for the paper towels. Oh, there they are, above the box labeled ‘Disposable Needles.’


I want to escape this Alice- in-Wonderland hole, frantically waving to my guy that’s it’s time for us to leave. His quizzical expression makes me laugh until I see the 10-year-old kid sipping from the red glass of wine.

I grab my spouse’s hand and catch a beautiful beam from the janitor, a tiny man with gleaming teeth, as he washes the glass exit doors.


A Smile.

One person knows how to RE-LAX in LAX.

I’m flying out of there before I get stuck in the rabbit hole called LA.  LAX