Earlier this week I joined a friend for lunch in a local restaurant. While we were eating, a small girl and her mother came through the front door and headed for the table closest to us. The child instantly caught my eye. She was beautiful, stunningly beautiful: a perfect face and a mass of golden curly hair that reminded me of the girl who sings "Tomorrow, Tomorrow," in the Broadway musical, Annie.

As the mother and daughter came nearer, I smiled at the child, wiggled my fingers in a miniature wave and said, "hi." I half-expected her to look away, perhaps move to her mother's other side so that she felt protected from a stranger.

But she didn't. Instead, she instantly smiled, waved, and said "hi" back to me.

I must tell you. The child was so charming that one might be excused if, for a moment, he seriously questioned the Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity. At least in her case. And this said simply on the basis of a smile, a wave, and a "hi."

When my friend and I were finished eating, ...

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