Stay on the happy side

I have always had this endless effervescence.  My Mother can tell you about the time my high school called.  I get a kick out of this story.  When you think of all the drama happening in schools across America today, can you imagine getting a phone call telling you your daughter is just too darn happy?

“Mrs. Smith?  We’re concerned about Donna.”

“Oh really?  What’s wrong?”

“Well, Donna is very happy.”

“Very happy?”

“Yes, Donna is just too happy.  We believe she may be using drugs.”

What a leap, eh?

My demeanor hasn’t really changed much since then.  I have been answering phones since I rejoined the workplace ten years ago.  Receptionist, Office Manager, Executive Assistant.  I consider it very high praise when I answer the phone, the caller having called several times before, and hear “You’re always so happy, Donna.  It’s such a pleasure to speak with you.  You really make my day!”  I hear it a lot and seriously, I’m flattered.  It’s not something I work hard at; it’s naturally part of my personality.

How many times have you gone through the check out line and had a miserable cashier?  Imagine for a moment what his/her job entails.   You can assist a couple of hundred customers each shift:  Moms with over-tired children trying to complete the weeks shopping, husbands stopping on the way home because the wife needed something (My Dad always picked up milk on his way home!), underage attempts at purchasing alcohol, customers with inadequate funds who have to pick through already bagged groceries to choose what they must put back, WIC checks, language barriers, people trying to use three coupons for the same item, grumpy old/young men/women.  It’s an endless list.  I cashiered for 1.5 years for H-E-B.  I know what it’s like!!  My kids will ask me not to talk to the cashier when we approach the registers.  They know me well!

“Mom, you’re not going to talk to the cashier, right?”

Riiight!  I can’t not be friendly.  I don’t know how!

“Yes, I’m going to talk to the cashier and maybe I’ll ask where the condoms/tampons are!”  (A mother’s revenge!)

It’s very rare when I leave behind a cashier who hasn’t smiled or laughed.  I always walk away hoping I’ve made their day just a little bit brighter, maybe given enough spirit so when the next miserable customer shows up, they offer a smile and pass it on.

There’s mischief, mayhem, murder and marauding going on every day around us.  Is it necessary to internalize all that angst? Is it not enough to acknowledge its existence but not sink into the morass?

We’ve all heard it a hundred times, The Serenity Prayer, but have you ever heard it entirely?  The first portion provides us with a goal; the second bit, however, gives us directions.

The Serenity Prayer  by Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

There’s a song I remember, must have been from Girl Scouts, but I’m not sure.  The lyrics and tune stuck with me and when googled, it popped up as “Stay on the sunny side”.  I’ve always known it as “Stay on the happy side”.

Stay on the happy side,
Always on the happy side,
Stay on the happy side of life!
You will feel no pain as I drive you insane,
Stay on the happy side of life!

Jokes follow, we all fall into gales of laughter and start singing all over again.

Life is like that in my family.  We have our ups, we have our downs, we bicker, disagree, discuss, every once in a while, get angry – but always, we fall into gales of laughter and start all over again.


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