Madonna Joanna

Virgin and Child, by Elisabetta Sirani, 1663, Natl Museum of Women in the Arts

Virgin and Child, by Elisabetta Sirani, 1663, Natl Museum of Women in the Arts

Back from a glorious trip of hiking and sun — but a subject for another blogpost, perhaps.  Now I am back to my home and thankful for small pleasures such as a comfy bed and decent coffee.  And I am back getting my exercise at the gym, rather than on exotic far-flung mountains.

So, it was in the hot tub of the gym this morning that I encountered Madonna Joanna.   I have no idea what her real name is.  I didn’t dare exchange a word with her for fear that I would pop the evanescent bubble of her beatific smile.  She looked like she was barely suppressing a wonderful secret — like, say, she had just received a proposal of marriage.   If I had talked with her, I might have found out that she was, in fact, having a bad day.  I am calling her “Joanna” because of the lyric in the old Henry Mancini song, “Joanna’s smile lights up the sky for miles.”

I kept sneaking looks at her, and the beatific smile hardly wavered.  I am jealous.  When called upon to look pleasant (“Say Cheese!”), I have typically grimaced — as my third-grade school pictures will attest.  Now that I have Parkinson’s, I apparently have the “Parkinson’s mask”, caused by a low blink rate.   And my teeth and jaw are still a bit jagged after falling on them a year ago.   So encountering Madonna Joanna is a reminder that I should consciously work on my smile.  I too have a wonderful secret — life is good.

About Laura Kennedy Gould

Author of "The Magic Trick -- Life with Parkinson's
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One Response to Madonna Joanna

  1. Jean Davis says:

    Both you and Pope Francis are happy to be here. Not to mention Madonna Joanna. Life is good!

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