Saturday Smile

Slice of Life 2020 – Day 21

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on

8:00 a.m.

My husband and son left to help a friend assemble two deer hunting blinds on his hunting land 40 miles away. Neither of them hunts, but I understand why they wanted to go. Besides helping a friend, being in the woods on a sunny spring day exerting themselves after days of being stuck inside, it seemed a great opportunity that still abides with the social distancing directive we’re under.

8:30 a.m.

I made a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up fresh items. The outing was a test of my nerves since I hadn’t been out in a week. My previous trip to the store freaked me out, with everyone buying more than their share. The errand flipped the feeling of uncertainty that had remained ever since. People were calmly buying just what they needed, staying a safe distance apart as recommended, and employees were on top of sanitizing between customers.

9:15 a.m.

I set a bag of craft supplies out for a Market Place porch pick up, which seemed the obvious form of exchange. It’s been fun going through old teaching materials to see what could be useful to parents struggling for ideas to make the transition to learning at home. With the public library closed, my book collections went immediately. Rummaging through things, I found a carton of sidewalk chalk and…

9:30 a.m.

…a quick delivery to a teacher friend’s house, Ding-Dong-Ditch style, was made. I left a container of sidewalk chalk on the porch with an invitation fastened to the top asking her three young boys to “Chalk the Walk” with positive messages for their neighbors. Then, they should pass it along for another neighbor to do the same. Later in the afternoon, everyone could walk around and see everybody’s artwork. Although it’s chilly, it’s a perfect day for sidewalk chalk. I saw the idea online and can’t take credit for it, but I wish I could.

9:45 a.m.

Bundled up and ready for a run, I parked the car near a favorite location close to where my delivery was made. It was a brisk 25 degrees, but with barely a wind and plenty of sunshine, I headed out. One section of the trail still had snow remaining, but it made the sunshine seem all the brighter.

About a mile into my run, I spotted the white jacket walking toward me less than a quarter-mile away. I’ve seen this Walker for a few years now. She walks and I run, and our paths frequently cross, sometimes multiple times a week. In fact, we pass one another so often, I’ve created stories about her in my head while I run. It’s mainly because Walker strides confidently with her head up, but her eyes cast downward. Walker bounces energetically along, but never reciprocates when a smile is offered her way. Saying hi or hello isn’t Walker’s way. It’s not because she’s plugged in and doesn’t hear the friendly gestures. I wonder what’s up, so I make up possible reasons why Walker silently walks on alone.

  • Walker enjoys fitness. She’s not strolling along; she’s moving! She’s focused. I notice she remembers to carry a water bottle too; it’s important to stay hydrated.
  • Walker has several unruly children at home and just needs to get out of the house for a break.
  • Walker is single, by choice or maybe not, and is using the time she walks to heal a broken heart.
  • Walker enjoys the fresh air and being outdoors.
  • Walker has had a health scare and needs to create healthier habits.
  • Walker is training for some big event that benefits a worthy cause.
  • Walker is an empty nester, like me, and walking occupies a space her children once filled.
  • Walker is an introvert, also like me, and often gets misunderstood for her lack of willingness to engage out in public.
  • Walker is listening to podcasts in hopes of expanding her knowledge on topics she’s passionate about or enjoys more entertaining ones to lighten things up.

9:57 a.m.

It didn’t surprise me Walker was out on such a lovely day. The puffy, white jacket approached and right beside was a bright, red jacket. As I reduced the distance between, it appeared the two jackets were walking together. I glided closer only to discover Walker was indeed walking side by side, talking and smiling with Red Jacket. I veered over to my right creating space to pass. Just when we were aligned shoulder to shoulder, Walker looked up and smiled, “hello.”

9:58 a.m.

I smiled back and said, “good morning,” in return. It caused a little extra spring in my step. It’s been years of us passing each other by, and today, Walker lifted her gaze, made eye contact and offered a pleasant greeting.

10:15 a.m.

I hopped back into my car knowing this morning’s exchange between Walker and me would become my Slice of Life for today. This morning left me encouraged for the many positive possibilities ahead. There is time to help one another, care for others, encourage each other, and share with each other, even if it’s just a smile. It only takes a minute.

Published by Patty Nault

Retired elementary teacher with a passion for reading, writing, and living a life full of curiosity. "Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder." -E.B. White

6 thoughts on “Saturday Smile

    1. Thanks Emily. I’m finding it a challenge to stay away from writing about the world as it is today while trying different things in my writing. Writing is proving to be good therapy for dealing with it all. I appreciate the feedback.

  1. It is interesting how now that we are forced to be isolated, we want more connection. I am not a phone person. But I find myself dialing up friends this week.

    1. Same! I have my kids alternating phone calls to grandmothers to help with their days of social isolation. Thank goodness for technology as we navigate our way through this horrific time.

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