The Gift of a Smile
--by mindyjourney, posted Apr 3, 2018
I heard Mary before I met her.
She was vacuuming the top level of the Mark Twain Museum in Hannibal, MO. We got there just as it opened and there was only one other couple enjoying the interactive displays and the assembled historic memorabilia.
When we finally reached the top level, Mary turned off the vacuum and waited.
I forgot how we got to talking, but before I knew it, Mary was telling me all about how she left home at 15, how she was 83 now and was thinking of retiring this summer, but couldn’t see herself sitting around watching TV and staring at the 4 walls all day.
When she told me why she returned to Hannibal, MO from California in 1957, her voice caught on the tears barely held back.
“My mother had that cancer of the blood, the leukemia,” Mary looked far off, deep into the memory that still hadn’t healed. “I moved in with her. Stayed with her at the hospital too, ‘cause I had to turn her every hour, the pain was so bad.”
We were both silent for a few moments. I gave her a hug, and was happy to see her smile again :))).
“Oh, I know. I need to get this front tooth fixed! Broke it clean off eating some peanut brittle. They wanted $80 to glue it back to my dentures, but I’m gonna wait ‘til I get my new ones. They don’t pay me that much here!”
I just know that Mark Twain would’ve appreciated Mary and her honest, no-nonsense wit and open heart â¤ï¸. I’m grateful to know just enough about Mary, to have found her address :)))
I’ve sent her enough to get that tooth glued in proper, along with a little extra for maybe a supper out, along with my anonymous good wishes and blessings.
Gives me such a smile to think of Mary smiling wide and not being embarrassed to show her pearly whites :))))).