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Monday, November 29, 2021  

THE HALFWAY SMILEPublished 5/10/2004

My family gatherings were often as my parents, two brothers, sister and I piled into the pale yellow colored 1956 Plymouth. We were set out, onto another adventure to my grandparent’s house. They lived in the small town, a town consisting of a gas station, a schoolhouse, a small grocery store and several houses. Going to visit was a real treat for an eight-year-old girl like me.

This was a meeting place for our family reunions. The small, frame house stood on land that consisted of mostly dirt, dotted with patches of grass. Tall trees were all around and perfect for climbing. There was plenty of room to explore, a pond close by, and fields abound.

My cousins and I walked along the winding road as overgrown dandelions lined our pathway. We girls would stop to pick a handful of dandelions, holding them tightly, letting out a long blow only to watch the air fill with speckles of white particles. Oh, what fun!

The memory of visits to see my grandparent’s is vivid. I can see my grandmother standing on the porch, and hear the tone of her soft voice calling to us children, "Now, don’t wander off too far before supperrrrr."

After supper, my grandmother would sit in the oversized rocking chair on the front porch. Night sounds could be heard, including katydids playing their tune. We listened reverently as grandmother told one story after another. With me being the youngest of the children, I sat on her lap and she ran her fingers through my dark curly hair, telling me how much she loved me. There was something unique that stood out about my grandmother and that was her smile; a halfway smile that turned up at each corner, ever so slightly. I loved my grandmother! Unfortunate, her health took a turn for the worse that next summer and my grandmother died.

Through the years, I kept my grandmother’s memories alive by looking through the photo albums. As I looked at each picture, it was as though I was sitting in that small, frame house again, my grandmother brushing my hair and running her fingers through my dark curls.

Time goes on as we try to recapture moments of our past, wanting to savor the time once again. We hold the memories close to our heart. About the time we lose sight of something dear to us, something crosses our path and certain memories resurface.

It was years later that my mother developed cancer. Even with chemo treatments, the cancer continued to spread throughout her body. Today, it has been five years since my mother went to be with the Lord.

I think about my mother often. As the memories unfold, I recall an incident that happened at the church just before the funeral service began. I felt someone’s eyes upon me, as though a distance stare. I looked up, seeing my aunt Reba whom I hadn’t seen for years. She seemed to be staring at me! Walking towards me, with outstretched arms, she gave me a big hug, and said, "Why, I can’t believe how much you look like your mother. YOU HAVE HER SMILE." I began to cry as thoughts of my grandmother’s smile, and my mother’s smile was also my smile; something that I possessed all along.

Time helps heal all wounds. Memories of my mother will never fade away. My mother was a very special woman, full of kindness and compassion and the love for her is planted in my heart. She was always there for me…in the good times and the bad. No matter what the situation, she ended our conversations with an "I love you" and a smile.

Today, I strive to live a life full of happiness, along with making others happy. I try to keep a positive attitude, help others in time of need, be kind and considerate, laugh a little, but most of all, I SMILE. When I see my reflection in the mirror, not only do I see my own smile but I see my grandmother’s smile and my mother’s smile; that halfway smile that turns up at each corner, ever so slightly. Heartstrings are pulled. Perhaps, my grandmother and mother are smiling down at me. I like to think so.

A special message to my three children that continue to give me reasons to enjoy motherhood. "I love you," and yes, I’m smiling.v

Vickie Jenkins, Kari Moroz (daughter) and Gracie Moroz (granddaughter)
Vickie Jenkins, Kari Moroz (daughter) and Gracie Moroz (granddaughter)

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