No longer forward nor behind
        I look in hope or fear;
        But, grateful, take the good I find,
        The best of now and here.”

                                         John Greenleaf Whittier

It was the mid-seventies and my father called, incredulous. “You want to vomit?” he asked. Without waiting for response, he noted that a good friend’s child, fresh from college, had passed on a home purchase since the house had but one bath. “Can you imagine,” he opined, “It wasn’t good enough.”

Decades later the words echo, as does a picture…quite different:

December ‘69, and I was showing a girl my home town.

“This is where I grew up,” I said, pointing to the bungalow at Bayard and Wrenford, and this is where we played ball. “
“Wait a minute,” she interrupted, ignoring the swift-pitching wall,
“You lived in THAT house?”
“Yeah!” I answered, still unaware that to women, size matters.

(I had no idea our house was small. It never occurred to me. Intellectually, I suppose, had I thought about it, YES, Wieder’s split level was larger and SURE, Fenton and Cohn, over on Temblethurst and Langerdale—they had bigger spreads. Heck, and come to think of it, everyone else lived in colonials, up and down. I just had NEVER noticed it).

Not that it mattered. We thrived on simple things—my brother and I. We’d play wiffle ball out back and football up front in a yard bordered only by love. It was a time of innocence, bliss and vigor.

I’ve turned recently, to those days…to the era when health was expected and life a clear given.

No longer innocent, I’ve watched my brother lay in a hospital, hit every pitch thrown at him and still slide head-first into life. I’ve heard him speak gratefully of a chance, after six days, just to eat breakfast. I’ve marveled, yet I’ve understood.

Life was simpler when omnipotent, but it was no better.

In a world bordered only by love, the future’s bright, and even cream-of-wheat tastes good. Especially, Hal points out, when you eat it at home.

2 Responses to “HAPPINESS IS…”

  1. bob says:

    Hal, keep sliding head first.

  2. JS says:

    happiness is a warm gun

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