What Makes You Happy

Jeremy— “Yeah, okay. My happiest moment. Let’s see. Once, I watched the sun come up, sitting on top a three-story office building in Atlanta, that morning my wife had called to tell me she was pregnant. Almost passed out. Happiest moment of my life.”

Carter— “A happiest moment? Hmmm. Well, I always wanted to be in a band, but never got the chance. My daughter started playing music at church, couple years ago. They’re guitar player bailed, so she told her friends, ‘Hey, my dad plays.’ I got to share my lifelong dream with my daughter. That was pretty cool.”

Greg—“Happiness to me is when my son and I go turkey hunting. He’s a diabetic, it can make college kinda hard for him. But out there, he’s just a normal guy. Last time, he killed a twenty-eight-pound gobbler. I was ecstatic.”

Rosalie—“Sure, I’ll tell you a happy story. I was at a farmer’s market buying stuff when we opened our restaurant, years ago. In back, I saw this guy with a baby pig and some chickens he was selling. So I bought the pig. My mom was like, ‘A pig? What’re you gonna do with a pig?” Best pet I ever had. He’s eight now.”

Darlene—“Well, after my dad got diagnosed with stage-four cancer, Mom rented a cabin in the mountains for a month. Our family stayed there, to be near him during treatment. We had so much fun. We rode four-wheelers, played games… Funny, how the worst part of your life can also be the happiest. I miss him.”

Me—What makes me happy? Stories. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but stories have changed my life. I’ve made friends I never knew were out there.

In fact, on quests for decent stories, I’ve visited retirement homes, schools, kitchens, farms, trailer parks, small towns, churches, hospitals, beer joints, barbecue joints, and one Willie Nelson concert. I’ve met people stronger than I am, some who have nothing, others who remind me of me.

I cried when I talked to the woman whose daughter drowned saving her little sister. Or: when I spoke to the man whose son sliced his wrists in the bathroom. When my friend sent me a photo of her nephew getting baptized in prison. Or: when an old man told me Alzheimer’s felt a lot like dying in slow motion.

I don’t know much about life, but I’m learning. I’m learning that most everyone is doing the best they can at it. I guess what I’m trying to say is: you want to know what makes me happy?



  1. Maureen - August 19, 2016 8:59 pm

    peace would make me happy

  2. Janet Mary Lee - May 15, 2018 5:59 pm

    I love being able to look back on older stories before you were delivered to my inbox! It is so special! And so are you! Good and heart soothing. And how you have grown as a writer! Solitude to enjoy the moment makes me happiest! And loved ones and friends for sharing for other times!


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