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Rated: E · Short Story · Experience · #2208740
Love, Relationships, and Kindness
All It Takes Is a Smile

All it takes is a smile to
Make someone's day;
A nod of the head, a handshake
To send them o their way;
All it takes is a smile and
A little time to say I love you
And to tell someone
God loves them too;
This is what Christianity is all about.
It's self-sacrificing and looking to the
Welfare of other's,
Putting someone else first.

All it takes is a smile;
A simple little smile
Gives light to the darkest of days.
No use for words;
All it takes is a smile.

© Janice Bumbalough Marler
Revised 12/27/2019

The Russian Teacher

Several years ago, when I was a police officer at Duke University in Durham, NC, I was given instructions to go to the airport and retrieve a young lady from Leningrad, Russia. She was a teacher. I was told she didn't speak English. I asked my lieutenant "Do I look like I speak Russian?"

When I arrived at the airport, I wasn't certain how I was going to communicate with her. She looked just like the little ladies looked in photos I'd seen of Russian women. This little lady only had two pieces of luggage with her. One was an overnighter and the other a regular suitcase. She would not let any of us touch them, nor put them into my patrol car.

I wasn't certain how I was going to communicate with this lovely person who appeared to be in her forties. Somehow, she had lost her connection at Dukes English Department. This lovely lady came to Duke and would be teaching for three months. Since I was under the impression she didn't speak English, I knew everyone knew what a hug was. So, I hugged her. When we got into my patrol car, she noticed the' Fasten Your Seatbelt' sign on my dashboard. And said to me, (Note I do not speak Russian),"Va's est duos?" Since I don't speak Russian, I have no idea how to spell it. What she asked, and I understood was "What is this?" So I showed her, as if she were a little child, "This means fasten your seatbelt. Okay?"

I thought to myself all Russians know what vodka is so I, ignorantly said to her, "Vodka." She looked at me as if I was crazy and I repeated it, "Vodka?" I shook my head and repeated the word vodka to her. She looked totally confused, but when I said "Smirnoff." She laughed and said, "Ah Vodka." We both had a good laugh and she did indeed speak English. She said to me, "You teach me English and I will teach you Russian." And she did. I kept asking her if she was hungry and she told me she wasn't . Someone in New York gave her ten dollars. Since we didn't know who her Duke contact was, the Chaplin's Fund paid for her a motel room. I knew she would only be there for three months, and I had hoped her first impression of a Duke Police Officer was a good one. At the airport she asked me, when we got into my patrol car, if she was in trouble. I told her she wasn't. She also said to me, "You teach me English and I teach you Russian." And she did. What a lovely lady. That day became one of the most momentous days of my life.
When I took her to headquarters, she asked me to do a promenade with her to the Chapel. A promenade simply means 'walking'. We spoke about the foliage and landscape of Russia and I think we talked about their food. Since the classrooms are located near the chapel, it wasn't difficult to find the English Department where she would be teaching. She was able to find the name of her contact. I immediately radioed headquarters letting them know who they needed to call. This way she could settle down in her 'flat', apartment, they had rented for her. We walked back to headquarters where I picked up my patrol car, and took her back to the motel. It would be the last time I would ever see her again. Looking back, oh how I wish I had taken her information so I could have kept in touch with her.

Imagine my shock when, at the end of her stay in America, she came by headquarters and left a package for me. I cry, today, thinking about how it might have turned out if I had had prejudices. Praise God, He taught me how to love everyone. Of all the people she came in contact with, during her three months at the University, I was the recipient of a most lovely gift. The gift of friendship and a token of love from her country. It still sits on my TV stand to this day. Every time I look at it I think of her and I am reminded of our Savior's love of mankind. Oh by the way, inside of the little box was another surprise. America had boycotted the Russian Olympics in the seventies, and inside the little jewelry box were souvenirs from those Olympics.
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