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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Shopping For A Smile
By Patty Wysong


“Ok kids, remember what day it is and be good or it’s going to take us even longer here!” We had just entered the store and I was really hoping to make a quick trip of it.

“Mom, do we have a lot to get today?” Jessica asked me.

“Yes, we do. Are you in a hurry?”

“Yeah. I wanna play outside!”

“Here, Bennie, you ride in the cart while Mandy pushes it. Michael, don’t touch things.” I led the way with my shopping list and hoped my heels would be safe from the cart.

Rounding the corner of the pharmacy I almost plowed into an elderly lady. I stopped fast, grabbed Michael and stifled a groan when my cart slammed into me.

The little lady turned to me and smiled. “Would you be a dear and get that arthritis cream down for me? It must be nice to be so tall. I’ve never been able to reach things, and for the life of me I don’t understand why they have to put arthritis cream up so high!” I reached up and retrieved the cream. “Ah, thank you. Are all these your children? My, but don’t they have lovely smiles! Smiles like that brighten up the gloomiest of days! You sure are blessed.” She took the cream, touched a gnarled knuckle to Bennie’s soft cheek and moved on.

Mandy smiled at me. “Sorry about running into you, Mom.”

“That’s ok, it wasn’t my heels.” I consulted my list, grabbed a bottle of vitamins and moved on. We made it two aisles before encountering two older couples blocking the aisle with their carts. They were happily chatting, so rather than interrupt them we circled around.

Back in the main aisle I tried to make up for lost time, and almost mowed down an older gentleman.

“Boy, Mom, the first of the month sure is busy!” Mandy smiled at the gentleman. When he saw it his scowl disappeared, his wrinkles rearranging themselves into a smile as he winked at her. Mandy giggled and waved as we hurried past.

Five more aisles and we caught up to another older man, this one leaning heavily on the cart as he shuffled along, his cane hung over the side, near at hand.

“We need to slow down or we’ll run someone over,” I told the kids as I adjusted my pace.

“But Mom, we won’t have time to play outside if we go this slow!” Jessica moaned.

“People are more important than playing, Jess. You know that. Just relax and smile. Didn’t you see that man light up when Mandy smiled at him? I think he might have been shopping for a smile and finally found one. That’s what your face did last week when we found those shoes you liked so much.” Jessica merely rolled her eyes at me.

Michael tugged on my arm. “Mom! There’s Mrs. Clopton from church!” He let go of me and scooted down the aisle to give her a hug. Jessica finally smiled, seeing one of her favorite church friends.

When I reached Mrs. Clopton she was beaming as she hugged the children. “It’s so good to see you! I think you children grew!”

“We’ve missed you at church!” Jessica said as she gave Mrs. Clopton a big hug.

“Oh, what a month we’ve had. Earl’s been down with back spasms and my knee’s been acting up again.” She hugged Bennie and reveled in the kiss he planted on her wrinkly cheek.

The man Mandy had waved to was coming down our aisle so we scooted to one side, making sure he could get by us. His face was lit with a smile and he winked at Mandy again.

Rather than pass us by he stopped. “You sure do have some fine children here—not hooligans like so many of ‘em ‘round here.” He reached out and ruffled Bennie’s hair. “Smiles on every one of them’s faces. Most kids nowadays don’t have time ta smile at an old man. They rush from here to there, grabbin’ what they want and givin’ no never mind to the people ‘round about them. Makes me sick seeing ‘em, but not this crew. No sirree! This is a good bunch.” Chuckling to himself he shuffled past us.

Mrs. Clopton smiled and squeezed Jessica again. “Isn’t it amazing how smiles and kindness have a way of multiplying and coming back to bless the giver?”

”There is one who scatters, yet increases all the more…The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NASB

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This article has been read 1016 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 03/09/07
Very sweet and nicely written.
Jacquelyn Horne03/11/07
Good example of kindness here. I loved the scripture used. Good job.
julie wood03/12/07
I loved this story! Wonderful descriptions, dialogue, and message! I could see and hear all the characters--young and old alike--they all came alive for me. Delightul, realistic portrayal of the contrasts and similarities between the very young and very old.

I could relate to this because it reminded me of back when my daughters were little and I'd take them with me to volunteer at a nursing home. The people there loved my girls--so long as they were smiling!

Great title, too. Terrific job!
Betty Castleberry03/12/07
Good story that kept my interest. I love how the children interacted positively with the older people. Nicely done.
Jen Davis03/12/07
A delightful story. The first elderly woman’s character was especially cute. I liked this description: “…his wrinkles rearranging themselves into a smile as he winked at her.”
And this: “I think he might have been shopping for a smile.” Great message too.
Myrna Noyes03/13/07
Very nice story with good descriptions of the characters involved! I enjoyed the interaction between young and old.
Sara Harricharan 03/13/07
Nice! What a cute reminder to remember to smile a little more throughout our day! My fave part was with the old gentleman that winked and thanked Mandy for smiling. I really appreciated this piece, great writing! ^_^
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/13/07
I loved your very real characters and the descriptions here. The story left me feeling good!
Mo 03/13/07
Well done!
Joanne Sher 03/14/07
Delightful! I love the whole premise of this, and the details - it felt completely realistic!
Tiffany Secula03/14/07
So Sweet and a wonderful lesson in here. I loved reading this!
LaNaye Perkins03/14/07
Beautiful story, beautiful message! Well done!
Julie Arduini03/15/07
Perfect title, and a really enjoyable story. How often I've had my own time table at a store and nearly run down some really great people! You really made these characters believable. Nice work!!
Rita Garcia03/15/07
Delightful! Great job!