Little things to smile about

By: Joe Weaver - Contributing Columnist

There has been a lot of negativity in the press lately. Whether it’s hurricanes or North Korea or the behavior of professional football players, there really hasn’t been much to smile about. Turn on the television and all you get is an all out assault on your emotions and by the time the prime time hours are over, you’re drained and really just want to relax.

Never mind you turned on the television to relax after your long day at work. What you’re getting from your 300 channels of 24-hour entertainment is more stress inducing than your job. You find yourself anxious and tense. Your mind is racing and you can’t disconnect. There has been a long-running argument for as long as there has been television that viewers are being force-fed a political agenda. Whether you buy that or just think television is a creative vacuum, none of it seems to be doing us any good.

Now that the proverbial elephant in the room has been addressed, it can be quickly dismissed. There is still a heck of a lot in the world to be happy about. I know what you are thinking: You’re thinking I am nuts. Those of you who write in every week and complain about what I have to say are smiling so widely right now, your ears just might fall in. That guy with the goofy picture in the paper is going to put his journalistic foot in his mouth again and we’re going to get to roast him on Facebook like we always do. Well, kids, I picked the right day to wear mint-flavored shoes. I am not going to use this column to list in great detail about what is wrong with the world. Let the talking heads on television do that this week. They get paid a lot more than I do. I’m going to remind you of a few things that have seem to have been lost in this world of negativity, whether you like it or not. I don’t want to write a column about the president or the NFL or all of our societal ills.

Lemonade. Yep. Let’s talk a moment about lemonade. You know, lemon juice, water and sugar. That’s about it. Not much to mess up with a glass of lemonade. It’s sweet. It’s tart. It’s perfect at the end of a 100-degree day. Straight and cold or over ice. Yellow or pink, it doesn’t matter. Lemonade is about the perfect summer drink for all ages. I can’t think of a person who doesn’t really like lemonade. If you do, don’t admit it, just drink it. There’s pretty much nothing that goes bad with lemonade. It’s great with candy. It’s great at a cookout. Where I come from, they take a big peppermint stick and jam it into an actual lemon. You suck the lemon juice through the peppermint stick like a straw. It’s sticky, messy and kinda weird, but once you try it, you’ll want another.

Hershey bars. Plain old chocolate. With almonds or without, the Hershey bar is about as good as it gets. You can keep your Godiva, Lindt and Toblerone. A plain old Hershey bar with a glass of milk. That’s good right there. Ask anyone from 8 to 80 and you won’t get any disagreement. I think they should put it right on the wrapper of the candy that it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If it doesn’t, well, maybe you’re just miserable and beyond help.

Vanilla ice cream. Dress it up or eat it plain, vanilla is the ice cream that gets the job done. Put it between two chocolate chip cookies or on top of a piece of apple pie. It’s America on a spoon. Or a cone. Spend the extra and get the waffle cone, though. You’ll be glad you did.

It’s not all food. The next time you are at a parade, listen to a marching band. You will feel it deep inside as the drums and the horns pass by. If you aren’t the least bit stirred, listen a little closer. The rat-a-tat of the snare drum, the boom of the bass drum. You can feel it in the pit of your stomach and you will smile. I guarantee it. Just thinking about it is probably making you grin a little.

There are plenty more, but I only have a limited amount of space in the paper. Take a minute or two and think of what simple pleasures make you smile. Step away from the madness for a while. You’ll be better for it.

If you run into me on the street, say hello. If you happen by the house, there might just be a glass of lemonade waiting for you. If you are nice, I might share my Hershey bar.

Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

Joe Weaver

Contributing Columnist