Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where Can You Get Some Happiness?

When I wake up each morning, I let the cat in for his breakfast, brew a cup of coffee, and crank up the internet in case someone is emailing to say my novel Drama Queen Rules is gonna be made into a movie! Then I switch on the morning show on TV. They have these young folks reading the news so it is usually interesting enough for me to stop fooling around with some computer solitaire in order to see what’s gone wrong in the world while I was asleep. I am often less than pleased with what I hear. There just isn’t that much good news any more, although I sincerely wish there was.

Sometimes I notice things when I’m not up to my ears in the romance of my next book because writing is both compelling and isolating. I have noticed that when people are nice to you (like the waitress out at Kay’s Restaurant over at the airport), you then tend to be nicer to the other people in your world later on. Nice spreads, and isn’t it a blessing?

If you can, do me a favor and please don’t forget to be pleasant to your waitress: her feet hurt, her back is out, the fool she is living one is lazier than a pet cat, and she makes less than a dollar an hour after taxes. She needs the tips, but an encouraging word is priceless.

Another thing I have noticed is that people seem to have too much stuff. Too much stuff isn’t good. For one thing it pretty much screws up your feng shui. For another, stuff isn’t what we are after in the first place. We are looking for something else.

I have an idea that the solution to too much stuff would be to either barter or give it away. Money’s scarce, the government spent it all. The secret is that if you need or want a piece of my stuff, then maybe we could swap – or I could give you a thing that you admire that really doesn’t mean much to me. That sort of transaction doesn’t take any cash money for the government to worry about – and your feng shui gets better.

All the stuff you hate gums up your environment and your peace of mind. Sometimes you just gotta get rid of the what-nots, and old books, and table sweepings from your beading hobby. It is amazing how much good our junk can do if we simply put it out there. Take old cars for instance. How many dead cars are there lurking in back yards or huddled around old barns? Oh, and don’t forget the fenced junk yards. There’s an awful lot of iron out there that could be used for all sorts of things. What if everyone with more than one dead car took it to a recycler and just give it to them? The view of your barn would get better at the very least.

About a year ago my friend Sue gave me a very elegant set of heavy gourmet cooking pots to replace the enamel pans and Farberwear I had collected from here and there over the years. I washed the old cookware and put it out on my stoop knowing that young people walk the street a lot – and that some of them just setting up housekeeping for the first time.

Then I closed the front door.

I love my new kitchenware gift and that is a blessing that keeps on giving because every time I take a pan out of the cupboard I remember the woman who gifted me with such a costly and beautiful gift. Back in Appalachia, they didn’t have nice pans to cook in. All the enamel was chipped and all the pots were burned from sitting on the wood stove before the fire died down.

It seems like the happiest people I know don’t take life too seriously. They learn to laugh early in what some might call difficult lives. They know without a doubt that laughter is indeed good medicine, and they offer it to all comers, understanding the responsibility that comes along with the gift.

I like a good laugh myself. There’s nothing like a one-liner to break up the tension. I think as much of our lives as possible should be spent laughing. For one thing, laughter is much cheaper than all the drugs we are supposed to need in order to live longer than ever before. What on earth are they going to do with all the old farts they keep alive when we live in a world where kids can’t get work and rock and roll reminds us of our tender youth?

Happiness isn’t that hard to get. It comes with an encouraging word, a gift with no strings and a little good news. Hope you have a happy day and keep on the sunny side! Terry

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