Things that make me smile

Susan Manzke
Bob heading outside wearing his new jacket.

Some days a person just doesn’t want to get out of bed. This can happen when we are having bad weather—I have to admit that I’m already dreading future bad winter weather.

The good thing is that there are many things that pick up my spirits and get me moving again. Friends have different ways of making me smile.

Last Tuesday, I met my friends for coffee at Sissy’s in Seymour. I had been feeling a little punk, fighting some kind of bug, but not so bad that I had to stay home. It turned out that a friend had something special to share with me.

This day, my friend had brought one of her late husband’s jackets to give away. She hemmed and hawed some, saying it wasn’t perfect, that it would be great as a work jacket. Immediately, I thought of my husband, knowing he was the right size.

Bob had been wearing a red Wisconsin jacket for many years—seen in photos with this column. His jacket had worn out many years back, but he wouldn’t let me throw it out. Finally, it could be tossed. Bob would exchange the Wisconsin red and white for Green Bay green and gold.

Bob’s old jacket lost its red color long ago.

In the past, I had bought Bob a work jacket but he wouldn’t wear it. “It’s too good,” he’d tell me. Well, the jacket from our friend was perfect. It had a bit of a stain on the gold, so Bob didn’t have to worry about getting it smudged himself.

Every day since Bob has been wearing his ‘new’ jacket. The red one has gone into the trash—though one day before garbage pickup Bob did consider rescuing it from the bin.

Well, he won’t have the temptation of the old jacket. The garbage truck has picked it up and the green and gold is so much warmer and brighter—I can easily spot him mowing leaves across the lawn.

The gift of the jacket picked up both our spirits—it continues being special and also reminds us of our late friend.

Another happening also picked up my spirits the very same week when author, storyteller, and historian Jerry Apps spoke in Seymour.

Friends of the Muehl Public Library and Outagamie County Home and Community Education Association brought Jerry Apps to the area for us. I actually never thought I’d meet this man. His programs on Wisconsin Public Television were on my favorite’s list.

When Bob and I got to the Emmanuel Lutheran Fellowship Hall that afternoon, we claimed chairs near the front and then went to peruse Jerry’s selection of books for sale. Though we wanted them all, we finally decided to choose one, Old Farm: A history, which seemed appropriate for us.

Jerry Apps, Susan and Bob.

We waited a few minutes so we could get Jerry to sign the book. When we got to the head of the line, I told Jerry that I was also a writer. He recognized my name and remembered that we lived near Seymour. Jerry then saw Bob behind me and asked, “How are you doing, Bob?”

I was on cloud nine. Yes, Jerry and I actually write for the same paper, The Wisconsin State Farmer. But the best part is that he actually reads my column. After the program, a man came up to Bob and me. He had heard me speak at a library a little while back. He also added joy to my day.

There are many things that can perk up a gloomy day like letters and phone calls. These were just two that made me smile. I hope many more bright days and moments come our way. Even little ones will make a cold snowy winter less miserable. Here’s wishing you many of your own good days.

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165;; .