Grin Reapers

by Jim Gustafson - Date: 2006-12-19 - Word Count: 318 Share This!

She was just a head of me in the check-out line of a department store. In her arms she held a bright purple throw rug. Her feet were shod in shiny purple shoes, from her wrist there hung a matching purple purse. A purple pull over completed the ensemble. I took a risk and asked her, "Do you like purple." "I sure do," she said with as big a smile as I have ever seen. Her eyes twinkled when she said, "They call me the purple princess." "Who are 'they,'" I asked. "The people I visit," was her answer. She went on to tell me that she was a hospice volunteer. She spent three days each week going to the homes of terminally ill patience to help with household matters, clean, prepare food, or just visit. "I have more fun doing it. I dress in purple to brighten their days." "You sure brightened my day," I said. "Great!" she said with that broad grin as she left the store.

I didn't get her name. To me she is and will remain The Purple Princes. She is a smile spreader, a grin reaper. She spreads her smile as seeds and reaps the grins she sows. I don't think it is a coincidence that she does the work of hospice. Those who are terminally ill confirm for those who aren't our own mortality. "Old or young, we're on our last cruise," wrote Robert Louis Stevenson. Though we don't dwell on it, the awareness can help keep things in perspective. It keeps us mindful of the value of each day and that truly makes a difference.

John Gardner once said, "There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are." The Purple Princess, this marvelous grin reaper is the perfect example. Today is a great day to sow smiles and reap grins….. Let's do

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