The Adventures of a Smile

The Adventures of a Smile

The morning was cool and rainy and gray and the sidewalks were puddled with little looking glasses.

Betty stooped down, grunting a bit in her uncomfortable, bulky raincoat, and pulled on her red boots. The hood slid part way down her head and she pushed it out of her eyes with an angry thrust of her hand.

"Nasty rain, ugly raincoat, clumsy old boots!" She kicked her foot hard against the floor.

Betty's mother came into the hall and smiled. Betty saw the smile as she leaned down to gather up her books from the chair, and she frowned a little as she thought, "Mother can smile because she doesn't have to go out in the rain and spend a whole day in school."

The schoolbooks slipped against the sleeve of Betty's raincoat and went slamming onto the floor. "Oh, these stupid things!" Betty was close to tears as she and her mother knelt to gather up the strewn books, but the mother smiled again as she helped her frowning daughter.

"It's a beautiful morning, Betty dear," she said. "Let's have a smile to start the day."

"Do you call this a beautiful morning? Look at the sloppy walks and the ugly sky. I've got to try to stay dry and go to school and study and stay in at recess, and . . ."

"Betty, God sent the rain this morning to help you. Its melted all of the dirty snow from the lawns and washed the air clean. Everything smells sweet and new like spring. Pretty soon you will be able to jump rope and play jacks and run on the green grass and be shaded from a hot sun by leafy trees. If it weren't for the rain these things wouldn't be. Now let's start the day with an adventure. Lots of people don't know spring is here and they're only going to see mud and rain and gray skies. Its up to you to make them see new buds and tiny blades of grass and hear the birds that have come back to spend the spring and summer with us."

"But, Mother, how can I make them see and hear those things?" asked Betty.

"Smile, dear. It won't be your adventure, but the adventure of your smile. Maybe you'll never know what happens to that smile, but it will go a long way today if only you're willing to start it on its way. Wear it like sunshine and everyone who sees it will take a part of it and pass it along."

At the door Betty turned and smiled before she went out and called back over her shoulder, "Here's a part of my smile, Mother. Share it, won't you?"

Betty ran down to the main sidewalk where the postman was just turning in. "Good morning, Mr. Tracy, isn't this a lovely new day?" Her smile shone out from under her rain hood and Mr. Tracy couldn't help but smile back.

"Betty, I hadn't thought so until now, but looking at such a bright eyes as you, I guess maybe it is." His big black slicker rustled on up toward the house and Mr. Tracy was still smiling as he put the mail in the box.

The Rev. Mr. Wheeler unlocked the door of the church study and looked back at the dismal day.

"Hi, Mr. Wheeler, isn't it a nice morning?" Betty grinned as she slid in a muddy spot. "Spring is really wet, but I like it. It smells so nice and the birds are all singing."

The old minister thought about Betty's words and smiled as she went by. "Yes, yes," he murmured to himself. "Spring is making it a nice morning with the help of pretty little smiling faces like Betty's." He closed the door on the dripping weather and hurried to his study to write a sermon about the importance of smiles.

Betty turned the corner and waited for Pete, the school policeman, to help her across. He looked unhappy and chilly. "Got a cold this morning and now all this rain," he said mournfully.

Betty smiled. "Spring is too nice to miss, so don't be sick and have to stay in very long, will you, Pete? I don't know how we could get along without you."

Pete watched her go and shook his head with a smile. "That's a nice girl. Always so bright and happy, she makes a fellow feel better just to see her pretty smile." And he turned to help another group of children across the busy street and grinned at them as they splashed across the puddles.

Betty took off her raincoat and boots in the cloakroom and hurried into the classroom. The teacher turned from writing on the black­board. "Good morning, children. I see you all managed to stay dry on your way to school. Who had adventures in the rain this morning?"

The teacher looked tired and rather uninterested as each child told of seeing a robin, or getting splashed by a car, or slipping into a puddle.

At last it was Betty's turn. "Well, I guess I'm different. Nothing very important happened to me, but I gave part of my smile to my mother this morning and sent the rest out on an adventure."

Then Betty explained that a smile was like sunshine on a rainy day and that it traveled from face to face. To prove it, she stood very still and smiled at the class and smiled at the teacher and every single one smiled back at her.—Marlis N. Shaver, in Juniors

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