19 January, 2014    smile

“That young man has the nicest smile. Always so sincere. We can all learn from that.” - a comment from a member at the Y

“That young man has the nicest smile. Always so sincere. We can all learn from that.” – a comment from a member at the Y

We were just walking around at the Y and a person walked up to us and said that right out of the blue. You can see why he said it.

My blog says it’s about “people unlike anyone else” but I don’t often take the opportunity to introduce anyone. Allow me to introduce my old and dear friend KD. He is unlike anyone else:

We swim at the Y every Friday:

KD has many favorite places. The pool is only one of them.

KD has many favorite places. The pool is only one of them.

That is an enlightened smile if ever there was one. KD’s Dad introduced us when we were much younger:

Many years ago!

Many years ago!

We’re not so young anymore:

He used to look UP to me!

He used to look UP to me!

We first met in 2000, when KD was eleven. He’ll be twenty-five this summer. This was KD helping me put gas in my car when he was thirteen. He helped me put gas in my car the day before yesterday; he was this happy or happier:

February of 2003 - notice the smile?!

February of 2002 – notice the smile?!

In 2000 KD went to R.C. Longan Elementary in Richmond’s West End. In 2011 he graduated from The Faison School near Willow Lawn. Did you smile like this at your graduation? I smiled, but it wasn’t like this:

Everybody's happy to FINALLY graduate...

Everybody’s happy to FINALLY graduate…

We worked for a few years at the Positive Vibe Cafe. We cleaned tables and swept and vacuumed and took out the trash and the recycling and cleaned the restrooms, you name it. I wish I had pictures from back then but oh well. If you’ve never tried Positive Vibe, you owe it to yourself. The food is top-notch, the service is second to none and I promise you’ll leave with a greater appreciation of fine  dining than you had when you arrived. That place is a treasure.

KD has a lot of favorite things. Listed in no particular order he likes: swimming, 5 Guys, riding in the car, listening to Paul Simon, putting gas in the car, Starbucks, Bubba’s Barber Shop, Pony Pasture, hiking, most music, the list is endless.

He loves to get his hair cut at Bubba’s:

Haircut first, then head for the pool

Haircut first, then head for the pool

I’ve spent lots and lots of time with this guy. We’ve been together fourteen years, that’s a long time. I probably have a hundred great pictures of him. This blog is three years old and I’ve done over a hundred posts and normally I have some goal or idea of how to wrap up. This one I don’t. Just to say that, in fourteen years, in a zillion hours together, I have never heard him judge anyone. He’s never said an unkind word. He’s never complained in some situations where, believe me, I complain. He’s not fabulously wealthy, he’s strictly middle class like most of us, but everywhere he goes, people are happy to see him. Without fail. I’ve got a lot of education and I’ve been a lot of places. But I still have a lot to learn from him. I can hardly wait to see him next week!



About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Fun, People, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to smile

  1. Gilpin Brown says:

    I had to smile. Wonderful post, Jay. It’s obvious how fond of each other you two are. Thanks.

    • Thanks for the note Gilpin – great to hear from you! We are very fond of each other – it’s nice to have a friend as sincere and thoughtful as KD. I’m glad you got a smile! Have a great day,


  2. Jenny says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Really enjoyed it!

    • Hi Jenny!
      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I certainly enjoyed putting it together. And I enjoy spending time with KD, I’m extremely fortunate. Thanks for the note and have a great day,


  3. mike shiflett says:

    …this is a wonderful blog…thanks Jay…whatsoever a man sows, also shall he reap…

  4. Frank says:

    Smiling here!

  5. Barbara Mann says:

    Jay– Your smile can ‘light up’ a room! The two of you together must be blindingly bright to all who have the pleasure of your company!!!
    ‘Twas great to talk with you this AM—-your support and humor are so very welcome!


    • Hi Barbara!
      It’s always great to talk with you. I hope the rest of your day was unremarkable!

      It’s easy to smile when I’m around KD. Everybody’s always so happy to see him, I just get to tag along and have fun.

      Thanks for the note and have a great day,


  6. Clare T says:

    i heard on the news this morning that smiling, laughing and enjoying life in general lengthens your life span not to mention keeps you healthier – of course on the news they were showing a lot of folks raising a glass in bars – so Jay thanks for showing us smiles, laughter and genuine joie de vie (i may not have spelled that right ::-)) from being real & connecting with the human race and taking the time to be someone’s friend – what a role model you are!

    • Hi Clare!
      Great to hear from you, as always. If smiling lengthens your lifespan, KD is going to live forever! And KD is a GREAT model for, as you said, “being real & connecting with the human race.” Because this whole post began when that member walked up to us at the Y and said how sincere KD always is. He’s very real! And a great role model for ME!

      Have a great day and I hope to see you at the river soon,


  7. Cindi says:

    Jay, beautiful job on this blog; so touching, brings back so many memories; how fortunate K is to have had you in his life all these years; he continues to teach us all and shower his light onto those who can receive it. God Bless for many many more years.–K’s mom

    • Hi Cindi!
      I’m glad you enjoyed the blog. It certainly brought back a lot of memories when I was putting it together! He’s really doing great these days, a credit to his hard work and yours. Have a great day and I’ll see you soon,


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