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Mr. Dawson was an old grouch, and everyone in town knew it. Kids knew not to go into his yard to pick a yummy apple, even off the ground, because old Daws, they said, would come after you with his BB gun.

One Friday, 12 year old Janet was going to stay all night with her friend Amy. They had to walk by Daws house on the way to Amy's house, but as they got close Janet saw him sitting on his front porch and suggested they cross over to the other side of the street. Like most of the children, she was scared of the old man because of the stories she'd heard about him.

Amy said not to worry, Mr. Dawson wouldn't hurt anyone. Still, Janet was growing more nervous with each step closer to the old man's house. When they got close enough, Daws looked up with his usual frown, but when he saw it was Amy, a broad smile changed his entire countenance as he said, "Hello Miss Amy. I see you've got a little friend with you today."

Amy smiled back and told him Janet was staying overnight and they were going to listen to music and play games. Daws told them that sounded fun, and offered them each a fresh picked apple off his tree. They gladly accepted, Daws had the best apples in town.

When they got out of Daws' earshot, Janet asked Amy, "Everyone says he's the meanest man in town. How come he was he so nice to us?"

Amy explained that when she first started walking past his house he wasn't very friendly and she was afraid of him, but she pretended he was wearing an invisible smile and so she always smiled back at him. It took a while, but one day he half-smiled back at her.

After some more time, he started smiling real smiles and then started talking to her. Just a "hello" at first, then more. She said he always offers her an apple now, and is always very kind.

"An invisible smile?" questioned Janet.

"Yes," answered Amy, "my grandma told me that if I pretended I wasn't afraid and pretended he was smiling an invisible smile at me and I smiled back at him, that sooner or later he really would smile. Grandma says smiles are contagious."

If we remember what Amy's grandma said, that everyone wears an invisible smile, we too will find that most people can't resist our smile after a while.

We're always on the go trying to accomplish so much, aren't we? Hauling the kids around, getting groceries, cleaning the house, mowing the yard - it's always something. It's so easy to get caught up in everyday life that we forget how simple it can be to bring cheer to ourselves and others. Giving a smile away takes so little effort and time, let's make sure that we're not the one that others have to pretend is wearing an invisible smile.

When you walk into a party or gathering where everyone is smiling and laughing, it's mighty easy to get into a good mood and get into the spirit of the occasion. On the other hand, just walk into a room where the gloom hangs heavily in the air and people are frowning, and it's equally as easy to start feeling a little lower in spirit.

It all starts somewhere, and if not with you and I, then where? All it takes to uplift the day is to remember to give that smile away! You can't save them, you can't store them, the only way they're any good is to share them. Start by giving yourself a nice, big smile when you're in the bathroom getting ready for the day. Look right in the mirror and smile at yourself and tell yourself it's going to be a great day as you do. You'll be surprised at how much more often you will have great days. To be sure, nothing unusual may happen other than you've improved your outlook. Attitude is everything.

"A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks."
- Charles Gordy

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."
- Leo Buscaglia

"Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other - it doesn't matter who it is - and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other."
- Mother Teresa

"Smile first, smile big, smile often."
- Glenn Dromgoole

Author Unknown

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