Mr. Brown was my godfather - born 80 years and 2 days before me. He was an April Fools baby, a constant twinkle in his eye. A wooden fence with step-stool stumps on either side separated our backyard from his. We had ritz cracker and orange juice picnics in his backyard among the dahlias. The rows of brightly colored flowers covered Mr. Brown's backyard and wrapped around his little white house. Nasturtiums grew up twine creating a flower wall on the porch.
A bush of these little roses grew right next to our stepping stumps. I had always called them Mr. Brown's roses and think of him when I see them growing. He would pick one every Sunday and wear it to church in the button hole of his jacket. He would give the fragrant little rose to a new woman at church. I bet for many, this gesture made their day. The little things we do for each other, just because. For no reason other than to make someone smile.
Waiting for my mom one day after swimming a little boy, about 8 years old sat down next to me and smiled. I smiled back and continued waiting. He got up, left and a minute later came back with his hand outstretched. In it was a little glass stone. "You can have it." "Oh, no. That's yours." "That's fine. I have a bunch more at home." So, I held out my hand. A minute later his mom came out. As he walked away holding her hand, he turned back and waved at me. I smiled and waved and continued waiting, playing with the stone in my hand. His gesture made me smile. I have no idea why he choose to give me the little stone, but it made me smile.
Writing about Mr. Brown has made me think about simple kindnesses I can do for other people just to make them smile. So much can start with just a smile.