My voter registration card is pristine today, and it would absolutely never occur to me to keep it any other way. That card brings a smile to my face every single time that I look at it because it reminds me of just how much weight what we say can have and how we seldom realize that even a casual word can touch another’s heart forever.
I often find that I can be having an absolutely horrible day when suddenly a kind word or even just an unexpected smile from a total stranger can make the sun come right out from behind the day’s dark clouds, and immediately my day feels a whole lot brighter.
I think of this very thing every single election year, which I realize makes no sense to you, but you see, it was in an election year…voting day at that…when Mrs. Cyril Irby handed out the kind word that I have never forgotten.
I was very young, and Mrs. Irby was still “Mrs. Irby” to me. (You know how it is with your “old” teachers.) When Rickey and I handed her our voter registration cards, Mrs. Irby made a really big deal out of the fact that our cards were “absolutely pristine.”
Well, let me tell you, from that day forward, I swelled with pride every year when I handed my card to the person (usually Mrs. Irby) behind the desk.
Today, I can sit back and laugh at that silly young girl from many years ago, but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned that day. I only wish that (before Mrs. Irby was gone) I had learned about handing out roses while people are still here to receive them. Somehow I think she would have liked to know how much her words touched me.
But since I didn’t do that, I suppose I’ll just go on remembering Mrs. Irby every election year and smiling to myself, “Mrs. Irby would be so proud of me!”