When I was a little girl, my smile was the best. People commented on my smile a lot, even people I hardly knew. My uncle Jim said I had a smile like Haley Mills because my smile lit up the whole room, just like hers. Haley was only a couple of years older than me.
Still, I cried a lot, too. I cried about all kinds of things. I cried when I was sad; I cried when I was angry or frustrated; I cried when I got tired. Back then I never cried because I was happy. One big problem with my crying is that I was not a pretty crier. I was such an ugly crier that Mom took pictures of me.
I was happy most of the time, so my mouth knew how to turn up in a smile and laugh right out loud. Dad said I had the best smile in the whole wide world. He never saw such a great smile. Mom cried when she was out of her mind happy. Sure she knew how to laugh, she did it quite a bit. I especially liked when she laughed with her head thrown back and all her fillings showing. She learned that from Grandma, except Grandma didn’t have any fillings, on account of she had false teeth. Sometimes Grandma laughed so hard her teeth came loose and slipped half-way out of her mouth.
Anyways, sometimes Mom got so happy she cried. Like the year me and Deanna and Bonita saved up all our allowances and bought a coo-coo clock for her Christmas present. She always said she wanted one. Her happy crying was sorta like Dad’s twinking eyes, only all that sparkle just went overboard and spilled out and ran down Mom’s face. Underneath there was laughing and super-duper happiness. I never knew a coo-coo clock could make somebody so happy. After that Christmas, we had a goal to make happy tears come out of Mom every Christmas.
My crying was sort of ugly ’cause my face got all squinchy and my nose got running, my eyes puffed almost shut, and if I cried hard enough I started to hiccough. I cried my heart out when I failed at paint-by-number and paint smeared all over me, and turpentine went all the way up into my brain and gave me a headache. That must’ve been the ugliest crying of all, seeing as I had paint smeared all over my face mixed in with the tears and snot from my nose running.
Deanna hardly ever cried, but if she did, she looked like a movie star: shiny tear drops ran down her checks one at a time, and her rose bud lips stuck out a little, sorta like Shirley Temple.
Bonita cried alligator tears out of her big brown cow eyes, and she wailed like a a crime got committed or like her leg got cut off. I tell you, Bonita knew how to get sympathy. She could probably make that old grouch, Scrooge, feel sorry for her.
Once Bonita’s 4-H cow, Black-Eyes, ran away from her in the show ring. Bonita gave a howling wail, and laid down in the dirt like she was dead. I knew she was faking it, like she always did. Still, the announcer and everyone watching got super-excited and started to shout.
“Somebody catch that cow! Somebody get the girl! Get that cow! Get that girl out of the ring!”
Man-o-man, Bonita sure knew how to work the crowd. A man ran in and carried poor Bonita out in his arms. And guess who had to go in and get Black-Eyes? Yep. That was me. Bonita was dirty from being dragged in the dirt a little, that’s all.
“But it was soooo embarrassing,” Bonita whined. Her brown eyes looked so sad, and there went her pouty lip.
“Uh-huh. It was,” I said. If Bonita got my meaning she ignored me.
Deanna said I was gonna get sent to the nut-house ’cause of all my crazy crying. “I heard Mom and Dad talking,” she said. “Just ask ’em, if you don’t believe me. I double-dare you.”
I was gonna ask, but then I chickened out, just in case Deanna was telling the truth, and me asking about it gave Mom and Dad just the opening they needed to start their plan in motion.
I still have one of the pictures Mom took of me crying. I’m holding a miniature broom and dustpan on a Christmas morning. G-Money loves that picture. He says he still sees that look on my face from time to time. (I’d show you, but somehow it got lost.)
I admit, although I prefer smiling, I’m still a crier. Anger, sadness, and frustration, still bring tears to my eyes, so does happiness. I still feel weepy when I get overtired.
I’m still a pretty ugly crier. I don’t feel so bad about that part anymore, because now I know of someone with a great smile, who is just about as ugly crying as me. Just like Haley Milles and Adele, I can sing. The only difference is no one wants to hear me sing! I keep that bit to myself.