PINE STREET PAINT JOB: Gympie’s Debra Glover gives herself plenty of reasons to smile. One of them is the recently completed artwork on her “hippy van”. PHOTO by Patrick Wood
PINE STREET PAINT JOB: Gympie’s Debra Glover gives herself plenty of reasons to smile. One of them is the recently completed artwork on her “hippy van”. PHOTO by Patrick Wood

A smile a minute makes life good

DEBRA Glover wants other people to be happy, because she is.

Laughter really is the best medicine, she says.

"If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours," she says - and she should know.

A painful chronic illness first diagnosed when she was two years old has taught her not to worry about the small trials that bother most of us.

For most of us it would seem that she has had precious little to smile about.

Recently though, life took a big turn for the better.

And in some ways, her new "hippy van" is her way of expressing her enjoyment of all the good things of a challenging life.

Visual expression is what she does, though mostly through the medium of oil paintings.

"Now she also expresses herself through the paint job on her "Hippy Van," all of it done by hand by her and her friend Ken Magri.

Ken mostly does sculpture carved in wood, but his work on the ban proves he is pretty good with an airbrush too.

"I always wanted a Hippy Van," she said, referring to the trend towards painting intricate artwork, a lot of it airbrushed and all of it done by hand, on touring vans.

Her design features ET, the odd Yin-Yang symbol, a depiction of the universe and a whole lot of other interesting and even amusing work, sort of hippy-looking in general.

And she hopes it makes people smile.

She was born with the very uncomfortable and often debilitating intestinal ailment, Hirschsprungs disease, which affects about one in 5000 newborn babies.

It is an abnormality which results in the wall of the bowel being at least partly lacking in the nerve cells that allow digestion and the passage of intestinal contents.

"Going out is really hard, especially eating out, because you have to understand what you eat.

"I can have normal cream, but if anyone cooks with cream I can't eat it.

"A lot of oils are out too. I can have raw coconut oil but not cooked oil.

"I can't have margarine or sauces because you never know what's in them.

"But I found that because I look normal, it's really hard when you go to doctors to get help."

In her new van she no longer looks quite so normal, but she does find people like it.

And sometimes they smile.

Gympie Times


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