A Great Big Brownie Smile

Were you in Brownies? Girl Scouts? Boy Scouts? Remember any of the songs we sang around the campfire? How about this one. Ive got something in my pocket a great big Brownie Smile! Or this one? Make new friends, and keep the old. One is silver, and the other gold. I was reminded of those sweet little songs in the oddest place yesterday. I was visiting at the assisted living home where my mother lives.

Theres a wonderful volunteer there, named Sandy. When shes there, it makes my day. If you can imagine sunshine personified, thats Sandy. Ive mentioned Sandy before, specifically in my post called Happy Hour. When I walked in yesterday morning, I heard Sandy leading the chair exercises at 10:30. My mother was not among the exercisers, which is really too bad. Shes missing out on a good way to socialize and another opportunity to be blessed by Sandys enthusiasm and cheerfulness. But Mom has always hated exercising, so theres no reason for me to expect her to start at the age of 96. She did go with me to the Bible study at 11:00 though, and then to lunch in the dining room.

Above the hum of conversation and the clinking of forks against plates, I heard the cheery voice of Sandy, working the room. What a perfect volunteer job for this gregarious woman. With a slight southern accent and a huge smile, she made her way from table to table, greeting residents by name.

At 1:00, about 10 residents gathered in the chapel room for Inspiring Words with Sandy, a weekly activity. For yesterdays session, she had brought in an old Brownie handbook, published in 1963. She read portions of it aloud, and those of us who had been Brownies, girl Scouts, or Campfire Girls shared some fond memories of our girlhoods. We even broke into song a couple of times, pulling the words out from the distant past. As Sandy read from the handbook some of the projects suggested for meetings, we were reminded of how instrumental the Girl Scouts were in teaching basic manners and decorum for young ladies. Back in those days, it was important to learn how to set the table in an attractive way, how to start a conversation with a new friend, and how to behave at meetings. Are these things being taught anywhere today? Or is it up to Grandmothers to do it? If so, weve got to figure out how to do it in 144 characters or fewer, so the lessons will fit into a tweet. Will my granddaughters think its dumb to learn a song about making new friends and keeping the old? Would that even make sense to them in a world where making a friend means adding them to your face book? And can you give someone a great big Brownie smile with a pair of parentheses, a colon, and a hyphen? Indeed, my mother, the other ladies in the group, Sandy, and I were blessed to have grown up in a time when doing our best for God and our country, especially at home was truly valued.

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