Smiling Gnome

Look for something positive every day even if you have to look a little harder. It is out there waiting to be found and waiting to bring a smile to our faces. Stop. Look around. What do you see? 


Today I saw a gnome before 6am. Then, I saw another one around 12:30pm. The third one I caught staring at me from the neighbor’s front deck walking to the mailbox. My days are busy-crazy and my evenings the same. Before bed I finally opened the mail. I have received a cute card with a gnome in a precious red hat grinning at me. What in the gnome is going on with all these little men sightings?


I admit seeing my alarm first thing at 5:30am is not positive or is the steady beeping sound ringing in my ears. I struggle with the bedsheets and blankets slowly making my feet hit the hardwood floors and shuffle to the bathroom to start the day. I find I mumble a lot under my breath about what to wear, where is what to where, and wear are my glasses for “Pete’s Sake?” Stumbling over one of the dogs barking at me for breakfast before my bathroom time is a constant given. I can barely manage each morning to protect my center of gravity and balance by reaching out and grabbing the trim around the door frame while protecting my coffee mug as the dogs continue to weave in and out between my ankles. I notice on the floor an art magazine has slid off my dresser and landed sunny side up and open to a page with a gnome in a garden spying on a younger gardener bent over planting seeds. Gnome number one sighting. Bending to pick up the magazine coffee spills out all over the floor in pretty little pools. Grrrr…….


Lunch time at 11:05am is not a positive time as well. It is too early to eat. I end up wasting fifteen minutes of it at work attempting to catch up and clean up in my library after students leave which in turn leaves me hurrying and stumbling again to get out the building, drive home, let the dogs out, find something to satisfy an empty stomach, and rush back to work hopefully on time and not tardy. Being tardy to class as the teacher in charge lends itself to vocal reprimands and jokes from middle school monkeys. Yes, monkeys. My monkeys are the best in the entire school building. I enjoy being their teacher. “Mrs. Miller you were almost tardy today,” says Lauren pointing her pencil at me with gnomes faces printed around the wood. Gnome number two sighting. I have to give an excuse, “I had a flat tire and needed to change it before I could drive back to see all you monkeys.” Flat tires……the bane of my existence.


Pulling mail out of my mailbox usually results in the *B* word: Bills. You guessed it. Not a positive moment. Walking to the mailbox is good. It is especially good because work is done for the day. Happy Dance! I enjoy teaching, but I enjoy going home more. Thirty years in a row is a long time to spend in one career. Turning the corner and glancing in the yard of the empty neighborhood house next door I notice a tabby cat sitting next to a faded statue on the second step of the porch leading to the sun-bleached deck. Her letter M on the top of her head tells me she is a pure breed. A gnome towers over her orange fur on the step as she grooms her ears with a paw. There is a red, eight-inch, polka dot hat, green overalls, and black suspenders adorning the ceramic figurine. He looks hand painted. Gnome number three is looking at me with a smile. Making it to my own front door and swinging it open. I am greeted by the three dog, alarm system. I can’t help but notice the medical bills as I toss the pile of envelopes on the kitchen counter. My husband’s gallbladder surgery in December turned into two more within four weeks. I count four medical envelopes. Remember the “B” word? Bills is what I mean you silly goose. 


I can end the day on a downward slope, or not. I choose not. Coffee spills, flat tires, bills, and all the other stresses life throws at me every stinking five minutes will pass. I have a gratitude journal I keep setting next to my bed that I write in. I started my gratitude journal years ago in a class I was taking to help my students in creative writing. The habit has stuck and picking up the leather-bound book I start thinking about the good things the day has brought. The Lord blessed me with another day to walk to the mail box after a day of teaching. I may have the medical bills at the moment, yet I know they will soon be paid because of my teaching job. Better still is the fact my husband is well and working again. I see Cher tickets setting on my dresser next to that magazine I picked up off the floor and quickly write it down on paper. One last task before lights off is to open the mail. I kept an envelope from a friend to read tucked under the covers. Guess what was on the front of the card? A gnome in a green hat. Another smiling gnome. I finish writing for the evening by spelling out “smiling gnomes” on the last line. Truthfully though, what I appreciate the most is God, then my family and friends, and then my Yorkshire Terriers Sadie and Zu along with my Bichon Sophie. The three of them have found their spots on the bed and curled up for the night. We all will be snoring before long after I reach up to turn off the lamp. As I do so I see Sadie has brought to bed with her a favorite toy. Yes, a gnome.

Leave a Comment