If You’re Happy & You Know It

We are all in this world together — there’s no reason it can’t be a pleasant ride.

I love to ride my bike around the lake. I especially enjoy it when it’s quiet and peaceful, though I have met a lot of people while riding. Being a friendly sort, I like to greet people as I pass them. And over the years, I’ve gotten to know some regulars — both human and animal. When I ride, I feel like I am ten years old and am as “free as a bird,” as in the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Songs drop in all the time. Sometimes I sing out loud while I’m riding. If it’s slightly windy, I might belt out Ride Like the Wind by Christopher Cross, or if the winds are strong, Against the Wind by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. I see plenty of thumbs up and smiles when I pass. I think it reminds people to be themselves no matter where they are.

And I talk to people. There are two guys I’ve seen for years — an older man and a younger one, who carries a jug. They always go to a rock and sit. I have often wondered what the jug contains. For years, I called them my “Muppet Men” because they reminded me of the two Muppet characters who are bolted to their seats at the Disney World show, Muppet Vision 3D. The characters are grumpy old men who complain about everything. These guys were just that, grumpy and gruff.

I decided that I would smile and say “hello” every time I saw them. For the longest time, all they responded with was a grumbling grunt — no smile, no wave of the hand, just that signature grunt. I smiled anyway.

One day, several months after my project began, I passed them and offered my normal greeting. This time both of them looked at me and smiled. I about fell off my bike. Something was definitely up. On my next visit, I came up from behind them, my pace steady and strong.

“Hi, guys!” I shouted.

Again, they both looked up, smiled, and this time said, “Hey girl!”

Wow! I thought. Miracles happen every day!

It has been over three years, and we now know each other by name. Tom is the father, who is almost 80 years old. Kelly, the one with the jug, is his son. They walk the lake every day. I once asked Kelly what was in the jug. He just smiled and flashed his jug up in the air as if to drink. You know…here in the South, moonshine is still around. I wonder…

So, if I see you on my bike, if I see you at the lake, or if I see you anywhere in my life, I’ll say hello and smile. I might even be singing the Girl Scout song, If You’re Happy and You Know It. Why? Because we are all in this world together — there’s no reason it can’t be a pleasant ride.

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