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by Abigail Van Buren

Moms Debate Loading Question in Supermarket Parking Lots

DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter took me to a large shopping center to buy some things I needed. While she finished her shopping, I waited in the food court, watching the crowd.

All of a sudden, a woman who had just walked by turned back, put her arms around me, gave me a squeeze and said, "You are blessed. You have saved my day." Confused, I asked, "What did I do?"

"You smiled at me," she answered, and walked away.

Abby, I'll be 99 in a few months. I have smiled all my life, but never dreamed it could make such a difference in someone's life -– especially my own.

I promised myself then and there to smile a lot more, and I hope those who read this will resolve to do the same. It takes only 13 muscles to smile, and it's worth the effort. Look at yourself in the mirror and smile. See the difference? -– KATHRYN OF A MILLION SMILES, MANSFIELD, OHIO

DEAR KATHRYN: A smile is contagious. It's an acknowledgment of another person's worth, and usually an indication that the smiler feels good about him- or herself. And who's to say –- it might even have something to do with your longevity. Here's hoping you'll be sharing that glow for many years to come.