The lady in one of the most acclaimed portraits of all time, Mona Lisa, exhibits a sly smile that has drawn much speculation during the past 500 years or so. Just what is she smiling about?

I don’t know what was behind that smile, but I learned what was behind the smiles of those I encountered on a recent morning.

My neighbor, Harry Word, was walking through Norris Court in the cold 24-degree temperature. He had a frozen smile on his face as he waved to me. I rolled down my car window and called out, “What are you smiling about this morning?”

“I’m happy that with my health and age, I’m able to get out,” my 76-year-old friend said. “It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining.”

Going to the library, I met 3-year-old Sam Emmitt. His smile was as big as the cowboy hat he was wearing. Sam said he was smiling because he was going to see Miss Amber. He was looking forward to a program of storytelling and crafts.

Amy Key greeted me at a bank with a pleasant smile, and I asked her the same question. “Part of my job is customer service, and I enjoy my job. I’m happy to be here!”

Her genuine smile reminded me of her mother’s smile that I often saw years ago during our schooldays as classmates.

I stopped by the Big Brothers Big Sisters office and talked with John Botts, the organization’s match co-ordinator. John's smile was so big, I was concerned that he might break his ears. John laughed and smiled often as he talked. When I asked him what he was smiling about, John said, “I have a lot to be happy about. I have a job that I love. I feel like I’m serving.”

Judy Harvey smiled as she greeted me at Wal-Mart. She said she was smiling because “God is so good.

She went on to say she was blessed to have family and friends. Then her smile widened when she mentioned her grandchildren.

In his barbershop, Bobby Druen told me it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. Then he told a joke and we both smiled. “God has blessed me with so much,” Bobby told me, “I can’t help but smile.”

At the post office, Jennifer Bybee offered a big smile as she waited on me. When I asked her what she was smiling about, Jennifer simply replied, “So far it’s been a pretty good day.” Even though it was only 10:05, I had the feeling that with Jennifer’s positive attitude she would be smiling throughout the day.

If I had been there in his studio back in the 16th century when Leonardo Da Vinci was painting the Mona Lisa, I would have asked the model what she was smiling about. That hint of a smile, though, will remain a mystery to me.


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