Here’s a little snippet from my Grandma Curtis’s writings. Remember how I mentioned before that her motivation in writing was to make people happy? Well, I thought this was a fun little example.
This morning, as I noticed the morning glories wrapped around the other plants in my flower garden, I straightened them out a little, so they would fill the empty places with their pretty dark pink flowers, and not choke out more tender plants. I always liked Morning Glories. They grew so easily, and once you got a start, they’d come back every year from dropped seeds.
One day I had been helping my Mom weed her garden. The ground was still wet from the rain the night before. It was soft and easy to walk on, or even to kneel on, and the weeds came out of it with just a gentle tug. Besides, it smelled good, all full of green things growing, and flowers blooming. It was like everthing had been washed new and green.
Mom told me to pull up the stray Morning Glories, but I left a few by the post. She thought that was all right. We were just wrapping them around the post when we heard someone coming down the sidewalk.
He spoke in such a cheerful way. His voice seemed full of smiles and happiness, almost as if he had discovered a treasure of some kind. It boomed out:
“Good Morning, Morning Glory,” he said.
Mom and I looked at each other, and I had to duck my head to keep from smiling because he was looking right at my Mom, like she might be the Morning Glory.
“Top of the morning to you, my dear little Morning Glory,” he went on, “and isn’t it a beautiful day?”
“It is that,” Mom was saying, and she was smiling at her early caller, who by then had come down the path to where we were working. I could see he was carrying a suitcase of some kind, and I knew he was a door to door salesman.
Mom let him talk a few minutes about the products he was selling, then she said what she always did, “I know they must be really nice, and I wouldn’t mind having them, the only trouble is, no money.”
Mom always said it in a way they knew it to be true, so they hardly ever argued. But this was a nice man, even if he was middle-aged and kind of shabby looking. He still had the nicest smile and the cheeriest voice. I remember how he kind of touched his hat, like men did for ladies in those days, as if to show respect, and smiling as much as ever he still said, “But it was a pleasure to meet you, all the same, my lovely, Morning Glory.”
At the supper time that night as we gathered around the table, each of us telling the interesting things that had happened to us during the day, I had to tell our Dad how the stranger had admired our Mom and called her a Morning Glory.
He looked at her. She was kind of blushing, or maybe it only seemed that way, Mom always had pretty pink cheeks. Dad kind of grunted, half-disgusted. I wished he would say she was his morning glory, too, but he just thought it was foolish.
Mom didn’t let that bother her. She told her sisters about it, and had a good time thinking how they could still be thought beautiful even after four or five children, and all the hard life they had been through. Mom said how wonderful it was that a funny little man like that, could still want to make someone else happy.
I thought at the time that he was a pretty smart salesman. Maybe with some, it would work, too. Just get a person feeling happier about life, and just maybe they would buy something.
Since I’m older now, I think like my Mom did, that he didn’t have much himself. Maybe it made him feel happier to give someone a compliment. It didn’t cost him a thing. It made my Mom feel kind of special all day… maybe even kind of special for the rest of her life. Do you know why I think so?
Because many times, in the years that followed, even after she was an invalid in a bed, she’d call out to any of us, “Well, Good Morning!” and there’d be such a note of happiness and cheer in her voice that we knew she really meant it.
Sometimes, just for me, she’d add the rest of the sentence, “Good morning, Morning Glory,” and we’d both smile, remembering.
Sometimes, when you give a gift like that to someone, you just never know how long it will last, or how many lives it will touch. It is a lovely morning.