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One person's smile

Jess, shut up!

If anyone recently had to be stopped in the construction zone, as new electrical is being installed on the bridge in Coulee Dam, you might have noticed a certain flagger. You already know the one I am talking about. Her name is Lylah and she is the one that gives us the parade wave and million-dollar smile every time we go through. I do mean every time.

Her positive energy instantly makes my day a better day. I have also heard others saying she makes an impact in their day. We all know that her life cannot be perfect all the time, but she chooses to put on a positive coat, along with her hard hat and stop sign, and gives us all joy in, at best, an inconvenient moment in our commute. Her choosing to spread happiness makes a difference in lives.

What if we all did that? We choose to be happy, no matter the circumstance. I mean, we know that would not always work. Could you see a police officer going into a dangerous situation and smiling and laughing with everyone? That would just be wrong; but what about us in the store, at school, at work and in our communities. Could our positive attitude rub off on others and change a day? I am willing to say yes.

I know that when I greet students every morning at school, sometimes just saying hello puts a brightness on their face. Does it last all day? No, but if everyone was consistently pouring love, laughter and lightheartedness into the same person, then we might see a long-term impact. If everywhere we went people were saying hello, smiling and engaging in general communication of positive impact, then the person having a dark day might see a glimmer of light and make it through the day, eventually passing on the good will to others.

Have you ever noticed a little infant? They look at you with wonder and amazement. Then you smile at them and they smile back. That continues into toddlers, pre-teens and teenagers. (Well, most teenagers, anyway; there are some stoic ones out there.) But that is a buildup, a building of relationships through the good times and the bad, that cause us to respond when we see joy. We see joy and want some. How do we get it? We start by smiling back, and then we engage in the joy to see if we can take it further.

It is not always a smile, either. An act of good will or citizenship can really alter the day of someone struggling. Helping a broken-down motorist, looking for a lost dog, a shoulder to cry on, or a simple generous gesture can improve not only our own atmosphere, but others’ as well.

I understand we live in a society that does not always trust the smile on a stranger’s face. But when did that change? We live in an area, here in Coulee Country, that was founded on neighbors helping each other. Back when they were building the dam, strangers came from far and wide, and they rallied together to build houses, businesses and community among the sagebrush and rattlesnakes. They rallied to pull people from the muddy B Street, they built schools, and they watched the neighborhood kids as many built the grand concrete structure that still employs many here.

A simple smile from a lady doing her job can change a community. I do not know Lylah or anything about her situation at all. I just know that she is a flagger and she has a great wave and smile. So thank you for changing our days, and I look forward to the spread of joy among us all. I’m Jess saying.


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