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Posted by on Feb 6, 2018 in Blog, Essays | 0 comments

A Reason to Smile



“Better to be the one who smiled than the one who didn’t smile back.”


I turn 56 today.  The September of my years.

At this point in my life, I don’t really need anything.  Sure, it would be nice to have more money or drive a new car.  But if the best metric of happiness is good health and loyal friends, then I’m a millionaire several times over.  I can’t ask for anything more.

About a week ago, I was greeted by one of those annoying Facebook pop up ads.  In anticipation of my upcoming special day, the prompt asked if I wanted to set up something called a “birthday fundraiser.”

I almost deleted the post on the spot.  But then, I got to thinking more about the uniqueness of this opportunity.  Birthdays don’t excite me anymore.  I normally don’t send out birthday greetings to others and I don’t expect anything in return.  Mind you, I’m not sour on birthdays.  It’s just another day to me.

However, every February 6th — I receive many birthday wishes from friends, family, and associates who all mean well.  I do appreciate the kind thoughts.  Truly, I do.

So, I accepted this year’s Facebook prompt.  I decided to set up my first “birthday fundraiser.”  I presumed that in lieu of the usual images of birthday balloons which kinda’ scream — “hey, look at me!” — instead most of the attention would go to my chosen charity.

I selected St. Jude Children’s Hospital as my charity of choice because I know they are a highly responsible and honest charity that does many wonderful things for children and their families.

Everything at St. Jude is free.  The children who are diagnosed with many life-threatening ailments are given every available treatment.  Their families are housed free of charge.  Meals are provided.  St. Jude was founded by the late great entertainer Danny Thomas.  It’s now chaired by his daughter, Marlo Thomas (best known as late 1960’s TV’s “That Girl!”).  I don’t believe in the supernatural.  I don’t believe in saints.  But I know St. Jude does saintly work and helps a lot of people who could sure use a miracle.

So, that’s why I picked St. Jude.

The fundraising bar was set modestly low.  Not wanting to make a major deal out of this, I figured a couple of hundred dollars would be a nice little donation — each and every penny going straight to St. Jude.  Well, more than a week has passed, and I’m beyond moved.  So far 27 nice people have made a donation.  As of today, $1,450 has been raised.  I don’t know how much of a difference $1,450 will make, but someone’s life will be made a little easier because of the random kindness of strangers.  Every little bit counts.

Please allow me to share with you the names of people who were kind and generous and brought a smile to my face on this day.  Here’s the very thoughtful people who sent in a donation to St. Jude:

Earl Burton

Ken Kubey

Marissa Chien

Larry Greenfield

Michael Hunter

Matthew Moring

John W.L. Berry

John Butremovic

Bruce Frank

Dave Tuley

Jennifer Winter

Brad Willis

Ross Poppel

Dan Goldman

Mike Exinger

Linda Johnson

Bob Ogus

Jan Fisher

Dave Tuley

Ed Martin-from-Houston

Mike Stone

Maureen Feduniak

Herbie Montalbano

Paul Berkowitz

Todd Bechtold

Randy Cowdery

Barry Thomson


Thank you.

Today truly is a wonderful day.  What a terrific way to celebrate a birthday.

Thank you for the smile.


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