My co-worker greeted me immediately as I arrived to relieve him and start my shift at Spruce Tree House.

“Thank God,” he said, “I didn’t think I could stand these guys for another minute.” He gestured with his thumb to a large group of Japanese tourists. “They just can’t stay off the walls.”

“Awesome,” I responded sarcastically as he suited up for his hike back up the hill.

“Yeah, good luck” he said with a crinkled nose before walking off.

I faced the site tensely. They were a large group, but I didn’t see any current wrongdoings, so I let my shoulders soften and broadened my mouth into a smile. Almost immediately I was approached politely by some members of the group. They didn’t speak English, but I could tell by their motions that they wanted to know if it was alright if they took my picture. Usually people don’t ask at all, so I smiled and nodded. A few moments later I felt a tap on my shoulder. A small, old woman pulled out a piece of paper. She folded it into the shape of a peacock and held it out to me. A gift.

I smiled hugely. I hugged her. It was so far away from the experience the previous ranger had had. I felt happy. And lucky. Another lady approached me. She asked a question in broken English and we talked for the better part of ten minutes. A crowd gathered as she translated the questions of her fellow travelers. Their questions were well-thought out and intelligent, if not a little difficult to translate. Not a single person asked where the Ancestral Puebloans pooped or what the big round rooms were for. They had read the literature and were well informed. Our conversations were a joy.

As their leader motioned to them that it was time to leave, another old lady approached me. She was tinier than all the rest, and appeared very frail. She too pulled out a piece of paper, this time molding it into the shape of a crane. She pulled on its tail and the origami bird flapped its wings.

“Beautiful,” I told her as I accepted the gift.

“Ranger beautiful,” she responded with a smile, before waving and walking slowly away.

Pretty amazing the gifts a smile can bring you huh?

5 thoughts on “Gifts

  1. A smile is a universal language understood by all. It has been said that a persons eyes are a window into their soul. I believe that it is not only the eyes but the smile on a persons face that let people see a bit your heart and soul. Even as a child your smile had the ability to bring a smile to another person. Just like a beautiful sunrise or sunset does. Your beauty and kindness shine through.

  2. Hi Melissa! im so glad you responded.The resaons i have against parents friending their kids on FB etc are based on 2 things:1.- Most parents dont have the trust of their children and do not respect either their privacy or the dont overreact rule so all they do is stalk the teen to know every little thing, overreact on everything even if it is the most innocent thing and ground them for thing they (parents) dont even understand because they dont see the entire context i.e. a comment made by a girl to his/her daugther like omg u were so on that cute boy last night!!! <3" or so and the parents will probably make a scandal and even ground the girl for something that is only in the parent's imagination when in truth the girl was just dreaming to talk to that boy and nothing ever happened!This point is all about communication, if communication is good in the family there is no reason for all this to happen.2.- This will sound ridiculous but it happens. Their friends wont trust your kids if you are in FB and able to read everything your teen's friends post! Nobody likes a spy parent online! ive seen it among my friends and its both hilarious and sad they stop writing to the one who has her parents on FB because they fear they will tell their own parents about their life online.I hate writing so much but i rarely have the oportunity to exchange ideas with someone like you!

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