IT WAS DAY 30 of our 48-day U.S. Marine Band concert tour. As I dragged my suitcase and instrument through the hotel to the tour bus waiting outside, I replayed my last telephone conversation with my husband, Brett. He'd described how our son had taken his first steps yesterday with me five states away! As I stood in the pouring rain, waiting to board the bus that would take us to our next stop, I thought about the performances that remained before I'd get to be with my family again.
Then I noticed a colleague also waiting to board the bus. I smiled and said, "Good morning."
Wet from the rain, he reached to help me with my suitcase and said simply, "Thanks for your smile."
Surprised by his comment, I stared at him. Like me, he must have expected the usual prickly behavior from coworkers this far into a trip.
"It's easy to get depressed when you're away from home this long," he said. "But your smile cheers me."
In the midst of a grueling routine and homesickness, my spirits rose. I grinned the whole morning and was buoyed for days--ail because of my colleague's remark.
THIS ISN'T THE first time another person's encouraging words have affected me deeply. During college and …