Give a Pinch and they make a Smile :) The 1st Friday in October was World Smile Day ...

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

I was chatting on the phone this morning (so old school, right?) with a girlfriend who lives 1,800 miles away, and she told me the first time she has really, really laughed ... truly belly laughed since the COVID lockdown ... was at a family gathering last weekend. It was her birthday. She deserved to celebrate, and she deserved to laugh.


As yesterday was World Smile Day, it made me smile to hear that she was having more light-hearted moments since the start of the pandemic pandemonium. She also has two teenage daughters. Since Park and I only have one furry baby, unlike my friend, we didn't have to abruptly adapt to home schooling, as well as the angst of our young-adult offspring being robbed of so many fun times that spring usually holds: Spring break trips, sporting events, dances and proms and graduations.


World Smile Day is in recognition of Harvey Ball, who in 1963 , created the iconic smiley face that is globally recognized. The day was enacted in 1999, so it's been around for a while. I never heard of it before, or perhaps I was just not paying attention ...


Actually, I never knew there were so many "Smile" events - Nationally and Internationally recognized - until it really caught my attention yesterday, and I did a little more research.


There is a "National Smile Month" which was founded in the UK with a dental health theme. In 1984 there were 2 buses that toured the schools and taught sugar-free cooking to kids. There is also a "National Smile Day" named in the US since 2018, also promoting dental health care.


I think I'm going to pitch a "Smile Everyday Day" event, to be celebrated February 4th every year! I went back to my Facebook page, and remembered that I did a "Smile Everyday" post on February 4th - six weeks before this COVID lock-down. Although none of us knew it at the time, it became a challenge we all had to take starting around mid March 2020, like it or not. Here's that Facebook post:



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I've been known to make inanimate objects animate. I mean ... who doesn't have retired ice scraper families hanging out in their back yard? And an Alexa accessorized to the nines?





So when this particular tissue box was empty, I just knew that instead of tossing it into the recycling bin - I needed to give it LIFE and have it be the reminder that each and every day we need to do whatever we can do, within our power, to smile every day ... even during these immense times of change and uncertainty.

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In December 2019 my great nephew was born. I have not met him in person, yet... He lives half way across the country from us and with COVID, we are not traveling. How can it not leave a sad little tinge in my belly that I have not met this handsome little man and have not had an opportunity to pinch those adorable chubby cheeks? I was the chaperone on his Mom and Dad's first date when they were in 4th grade. They got married 3 years ago. (yes, that is him in the pics, permission of his parents. He is already famous and won a Cutest Baby Contest just this summer :)


2017's Hurricane Harvey - clearly not named after Harvey Ball who created the smiley face graphic - struck in Texas and our flight to their wedding was canceled! No flights to be had. We didn't want to drive such a long distance with only the couple days we had off of work, so we took an Amtrak train. Hell or high water, we were going to be at that wedding! We made it safe and sound...


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Just last night we were talking about that train ride as we just had a belly laugh moment over a very funny thing we saw on TV. You know that silly laugh ... and then you truly can't stop the laughing and it becomes almost silent ... except for that little bit of air squeaking out of your throat ... and the laugh hurts, it hurts in a good way though, and the next morning you are reminded of it as you feel you have pulled a couple of muscles ... yah, that laugh ...


We had one of those moments on that Amtrak train ride too. And just recalling it 3 years later, it became a double belly laugh: the TV moment and our remembrance of the Amtrak Train moment.


"Global Belly Laugh Day" is January 24th. It was enacted by Elaine Helle in 2005. It is my sincere hope that all of us are truly celebrating Belly Laugh Day on January 24th, 2021. So much we have learned will be behind us ... and so many positive experiences and lessons lie ahead for us all. :)


Until next week...

Shawn Elaine
















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