ethel’s words

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If you see a photo of a group of, say, seven persons, you can tell right away if they are Americans (“Yankee Americans”).

First clue is, are they all “smiling”? Not a mere curve of the lips--no: mouths open and teeth bare. As many teeth as possible, upper and lower. Americans prize their shiny, white, frail teeth. They are expensive to keep.

Another thing that might help you recognize Americans (now we’re talking Yankees, not Meso- nor South Americans) is that the laughter connotes joy, not humor. You may have noticed on T-V (a mere glance shows it) that if the actors are joyful, it is advertising. If there is sorrow, pain, violence, and misery, it is a dramatic presentation.

In other depictions of aged persons (but youthful to the core) they are gleeful, doing something silly and probably not prudent. (But for all I know, they may be doing these things all the time.) Like, there will be a photo of an oldish man holding wheelbarrow handles, while a young-looking (allegedly senior) woman in the wheelbarrow tilts her head back and has her mouth wide open. Another common picture is a gray-haired but vigorous-looking man, with a thin, brown-haired woman on his back, piggy-back style, like dads do with their kids. The man’s mouth is open, but he is smiling, not gasping for breath. The woman is laughing, apparently; her mouth is wide open to the heavens.

(In Yankee America we have killed all the bees, hornets, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies, yellow-jackets (but not mosquitos) so we can run, walk, sit, mow lawns, cut flowers, poison hummingbirds, with our mouths wide open and fear only mosquitos.)

Nevertheless, we must celebrate with the oldies when we see them, liberated, open-mouthed with joy, waving to us while steering their motorized “wheelchairs” with one hand.

Golden years, indeed.

Ethel C. Hale