List the Happiest People you know:
- My friend, Mary. She owns a “Toy Museum,” for heaven’s sake! A narrow, winding path through wildflowers leads to the door. Above the door, old wooden children’s blocks spell out, “A little nonsense works.” Inside, she displays antique and collectible toys, cards and campaign buttons amidst her “for sale” items that include her own creations along with toys and novelties. “Her own creations” consist of art (watercolor paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, and on and on; there is nothing she won’t try and everything she tries turns into something magical), photographs, jewelry, note cards, perfumes and crocheted bags. Other items are stored in old-fashioned drawers and bins, and priced so that you could give a child a quarter, and they’d have dozens of things to choose from. It’s easy to spend hours there, investigating all the nooks and crannies of wonderful treasures. Mary is generally humming a tune from her spot behind the counter. Out the back door, a little playhouse waits to entertain visiting children. Paths, lined with Mary’s ceramic sculptures and old shoes and dishes filled with the succulent “hens and chicks” plants, lead to a small gallery in one direction, and up the slope to her home in the other. The path to Mary’s house is a tunnel of vines and hanging flowers. The house, that she converted from an old horse barn, includes wonders like an indoor koi pond and a tiny studio at the top-most level. Mary has not had an easier life than anyone else, but she has found the magic and joy in every day.
- My sister, Brenda, who insists on seeing the good in every single thing. Brenda always looks on “the bright side.” Which is, no doubt, a wonderful way to be. It is a great contrast to my “dark side” tendencies. Sometimes, though, when I just want to wallow in self-pity or grief, and choose Brenda to commiserate with, I have to admit, I have been aggravated by her cheery attitude. When I am wasting too much time on self-pity and need a good pep talk, Brenda is the one I call. When I’m afraid of a challenge and want to hear words of encouragement, I always know Brenda has them. I have to be selective, though. I once phoned her, heart-broken and sobbing over a break-up. “Aren’t you glad that happened?”, she asked, “Better now than after you invested any more time…” “I’ve gotta go,” I whimpered, thinking, “I’ve gotta call someone without such a good attitude!”
- My old neighbor, Tom. Though he lived next door to me for more than ten years, I don’t really know Tom very well. What I do know is that he greets everyone with a smile, and often a hug, too, just for good measure. I know he greets every setback, no matter how great (a fire that destroyed his home, a fall, when scaffolding failed, that could have crippled him), with grace and good humor.
- My new neighbor, Erin. Though she has lived next door to me for several months now, I don’t really know Erin that well. What I see, though, is an optimistic, enthusiastic young person who takes great joy in her family, her new home, and her life on Beaver Island, and who always greets me with a cheery smile.