A Word, A Look, A Smile

Last night, Steve and I received (among boxes of other photos and stuff) an old trunk. The trunk was my mother’s. I first remember the sturdy black and brown trunk when we lived in South Bend, but I think she had it for many years prior to the little house on 639 Woodcliff Drive. The black and brown trunk is now in our care. I rose at 7:00 a.m. and thumbed through several photo albums. I kept eyeing the trunk. Finally, I mustered up the courage, reached over, and opened the two heavy latches held by the same chains.

Click, click.

Since the trunk is heavy, I used both hands to lift the attached lid. Inside the trunk is detailed with bright red flowers. A slight scent of must wafts out of the trunk: the scent of memories; the scent of the past; the scent of history.
There is a small shelf with nothing on it, and then a large area that contains stuff: announcements, newspaper clippings, birth announcements, marriage announcements, death announcements, report cards, and an old yearbook from 1906.
In the plethora of brown envelopes that are located in the trunk, I found a folded piece of paper the color of cream; the paper was very light, like Biblical pages. I opened the paper and discovered a poem typed by Burton E. Tobias from Adrian, Michigan:

A WORD, A LOOK, A SMILE

A word, a look, a smile
Can make a life worthwhile.
It’s not the mountains that we climb
But little things, and all the time.

A friendly hand, a kindly deed
These are the things that we always need.
A cheerful word, a kind good night
Will bring a smile, a child’s delight.

And so, at home and on the street
To everyone you often meet,
Let’s say a bright good morning then,
‘Twil bring both joy and hope to men.

It’s not the mountains that we climb
But little things and all the time.
A Word, A Look, A Smile
Can make a life worthwhile.

Soon after, I sift through the same folder and noticed my grandmother’s obituary. The date of her death was October 5, 1983.

She died thirty years ago today.
Was this a coincidence that I found this poem today?
I don’t think so.

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