The following was prompted by a recent sermon by Dr. Robin Myers, professor of rhetoric at Oklahoma City University and pastor of the Mayflower Congregational Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. Henry Ward Beecher was pastor (mid-1800s) of The Plymouth Church — same denomination — in Brooklyn, N.Y. Beecher, a political activist, told people he was always glad to pray with Abraham Lincoln and give advice; he would have been an intimate friend of Lincoln except for the fact that Lincoln despised him.

Harriet Beecher Stowe, sister two years older than Henry Ward, is the person to whom Lincoln once said, “So you’re the little lady who started this war.”

The gist of Dr. Myers’ sermon: God so loved the world that he sent not politicians, statesmen, et cetera, but you, the individual, to serve others. Stop thinking about yourself and ask, “What do you want me to do for you?” Robin Myers’ previous week’s sermon is broadcast on KOMA, 1520, each Sunday.

This small corner of the world has hopes of writing a book someday titled “Make Someone Happy, Just Someone Happy” – “High Hopes,” or, as another song says, “Dream When You’re Sad And Blue, Dream ...”

The premise: Use every encounter with anyone – clerk, associate, worker, owner – to make people feel good about themselves.

Speak of yourself – “I’ve been there, done that” – only to reinforce or relate to the other person’s comments. Explain to younger ones (isn’t everyone?) that it is your right, as one of those senior citizen types, to rant and rave.

Advise youth, when talking to peers about whatever, they listen only to talk about themselves (all humans are selfish).

My wife, Carol, and I (always list the female first — males aren’t doing so pretty-good in this world) never let an opportunity pass to make people feel good about themselves.

Glance at the name tag, relate it to something: “Your name’s Sara? My mother’s name was Sara — you gotta be OK!”

Our son is an orthodontist, so we always look at teeth: “Did you once wear braces? You have lovely teeth.” Ask your doctor about his kids, ask the clerk about her grandkids: “You’re not old enough!” Don’t flatter anyone. There is always some feature upon which you can comment — dwell on it so long as no one is waiting, and even then, when one’s an old geezer, one’s got a right to rant and rave!

Abraham Lincoln said he couldn’t have survived the Civil War had he not had a sense of humor. Research shows people who love music and have a sense of humor live longer and are happier, so go live it up (moderately) and laugh it up (immoderately).

’Tis a fact: Each individual is unique – never has been anyone like you, never will be anyone the likes of you! Some may say, “Thank the Good Lord for that!” Life would be s-o-o-o boring otherwise!

Another fact — there are 500-plus Laughter Clubs worldwide. Laughter is good for just about everything; smoking is bad for just about everything. Research has proven that a sense of humor, laughter, adds seven years to a person’s life!

So, have fun! Miss no opportunity! Leave no person unnoticed!

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