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In My Happy Place (uh…that being my life) I have three actual Happy Places. These are magical spots where (sing that “Cheers” song with me!) everybody knows my name..and they’re always glad I came. I can count on these spots–no matter how bad I’m feeling–to feel good.
The General Store: The General Store is the local feed store! It’s a large rectangular cement block building full of…umm…feed. It also has garden plants, birdseed and (bliss!) little animals. It’s not the kind of place I would have been attracted to as a young professional teacher but it fits me just fine now! The owners talked me through my first flock of day-old chicks and my first–disastrous!–garden. In the middle of the shelves of hamster cages and bird aviaries, there are seven chairs and a little table sitting primly upon a rug; smiling people sit there…talking about such things as animal vaccinations, goat worming, or–if I’m there–what’s going on in Facebook Land. It’s magical, I tell you!
The Library: When my third daughter was born, our first outing was the library. I handed out chocolate chip cookies instead of cigars (the librarians aren’t so big on cigars). I like the word “public” in “Public Library” because that means they have to let me in the door…even if I bring toddlers who drool on books. Yes, I love to be able to read the latest Lisa Samson book for free…check out Scooby Doo for the kids…and even get “Elvis’ Greatest Hits” for the car, but the main reason I go is to see my librarian friends. The librarians have known my kids since they were born: sang goofy songs with them at Story Hour, talked me through the painful years of teaching dyslexics to read, and suggested the first “Warriors” book to the child who (finally) entered the world of chapter books. They know me and they care.
Home: Yes, this one seems like it should be obvious, but I suspect some people don’t think home is happy. My home holds four people who really truly love me just as I am…even before my morning coffee. Since our house was transformed from a raccoon and opossum hide-out dump to a cute-but-unusual cozy abode, I am thankful for every little nook and cranny (don’t you love that term? “nook and cranny”?). I’m also at my happiest in the garden or the rabbit yards.
Do you have a Happy Place?
If not, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Happy Places are made, not found. Lots of people come in and out of The General Store and the library and yet never feel the magic. They’ve never thought to ask the feed store owners for gardening advice and then come back with some of the produce to share. They’ve never asked a librarian to recommend a book and then returned to thank her and tell her how much they appreciate her. And my happy home is happy because I put time and effort in to it: I hug those kids, I talk with the husband and…yes…I feed them (note: that’s how I keep the bunny yard happy, too).
My hope is for the people (and animals) in my happy places to always be glad I came.