He lay quietly, recalling the smiles of those he’d loved. The first one he thought of, of course, was that of his own mother. When he was tiny she would watch him, and each time he moved purposefully, each sound that resembled a word, each discovery he sought to share with her, the corners of her eyes would crinkle and the corners of her mouth would lift, and the Sun herself would shine the brighter for it.
As for his dad--the Gaffer had different smiles for different reasons. Any time he was pleased with a job well done there was that quiet smile of pride that half-hid behind gruff words as if should it show itself openly it would encourage his children to think too highly of themselves. Then there was the smile he’d give when old Mr. Bilbo would say something clever and outrageous--a bit delayed as he tested what his Master had said as if to see if it had been indeed the words he’d thought he’d heard; then the grin would spread slowly, almost reluctantly until it was across his face, and one could see that in spite of his pretensions toward plainspokeness Hamfast Gamgee still could be amused by clever barbs well delivered. And then there was the smile, half of pride at his own hand in the affair, half of awe at the wonders given by the Creator Himself to see just how beautiful the flowers and fruits and vegetables that grew in the gardens he tended could become.
Hamson’s smile had always been a slow bloomer, usually accompanying a pithy statement made. Hal’s was thoughtful, and very reminiscent of the one his father gave his gardens. Daisy’s was impatient, appearing and disappearing swiftly, but always hovering near at hand, or so it seemed to her younger brother. May’s was quite the opposite--steady and pleasant. Marigold’s, on the other hand, always seemed to be accompanied by shreds of songs and nursery rhymes. Sometimes Sam had thought perhaps she ought to have been the one to study reading and writing and ciphering with old Mr. Bilbo, as they seemed to share so much love of words and music.
Strider’s had been so rare at first, and so constant later. Gandalf’s, especially at the end, had been so filled with joy and delight and humor. He’d learned to see Gimli’s beyond the great mass of beard and mustaches, sly and satisfied. That of Legolas could be supercilious--or it could be achingly kind and caring, while those of Merry and Pippin, even now in their advanced age, could be so filled with humor.
Elanor’s smile had ever been one of delight; Frodo-lad’s had shone most when his head was involved. Rosie-lass had always had the most patient smile, while Goldilocks had the most beautiful one. Merry and Pippin-lad’s had both been mischievous, just like their name-fathers; Ruby’s had always tended to be rather shy. Bilbo-lad’s would always take you by surprise--one moment he’d be looking at you as serious as serious, and then there the smile would be breaking out suddenly as the dawn itself. As had been true of the grandfather after whom he’d been named, Hamfast’s was always rather half-hidden, while Robin’s embraced everyone equally. Those of Primrose and our Daisy were so nearly the same, tending to show more to the left than the right, while young Tolman’s always seemed filled with wonder, and reminded Sam most of his Gammer Bell’s.
And then there had been that of his own Rosie--so gentle when looking on their children; so filled with promise when directed at himself. Oh, the things her smile had always promised him, and never had he been disappointed--or not that he could remember now. That was the smile he missed most right now, he thought as he rolled over on his couch and opened his eyes to face the new day, and caught a glimpse of the smile he’d missed so much for more than half a century, the one so recently restored to him. Good morning, my Sam. A thrill ran through him as his heart lifted to see the smile of his so beloved friend once more, a smile to lead the birds themselves to sing and the butterflies to rejoice to open their wings to the morning’s sun.
“And a blessed mornin’ to you, too, my Mr. Frodo.”
And that sweet smile widened the more....