Joyful Simplicity

Growing up in the country as a child in the 70’s the electricity would go out frequently. Sometimes it took hours or even days to go back on. That meant no TV which forced our family to rely on simpler entertainment. Our home would be lit by candlelight. My scratchpad and pencils next to a nearby flame allowed enough light to trace images from my coloring book for hours. Oftentimes my family would agree to play board games and cards. Those family stories shared during those moments of darkness with just little flames of light are still cherished. 

While reflecting on those simpler days thinking of all the special moments where very little money was required to be happy, I remember:

  • Climbing our large apple trees and enjoying the fragrance filling the Spring air of the apple blossoms that were in full bloom.
  • Waking up to the birds’ singing in the morning with a slight breeze coming through the open farmhouse window making the sheer curtains dance peacefully in my room.
  • Being taught how to put a worm on a hook by my Dad and getting to cast my line all by myself. Even if no fish would bite during those fishing trips, I still have fond memories of getting to enjoy a picnic lunch in the peaceful silence of nature with maybe an occasional sound of cows mooing in the distance.
  • Picking wild strawberries on the side of a country road and running back home to share my exciting harvest of a handful. Or more accurately the remains of the leftovers after I ate the largest ones even before they could be washed.
  • Walking down to our nearby pond/mudhole and catching tadpoles with my sisters.
  • Going in the hay mile to play and finding a surprise litter of kittens.
  • Watching the amazing ability of an ant carry food more than twice his size for what could have been hours.
  • Getting to go along with my older brothers and sisters to pick up large rocks out of a field before my Dad and older brothers and sisters could plow the fields.
  • The satisfaction of touching a cute brown little piglet through the fence long enough to feel his coarse hair and admiring his pretty long-eyelashes.
  • Pushing the bubbles of pitch on the tar country road on a hot summer day.
  • Getting to grill out and eat with the family on a picnic table in the barnyard.
  • Watching Mom make apple pies and getting to play with the leftover dough

Making mud pies, finding toads, and embracing the feeling of grass on our bare feet while dancing around in the yard are some of the simple things of childhood that brought many of us joy. 

Now in adulthood with larger houses, entertainment at our fingertips, no time for hobbies or board games, many of us have begun taking the ordinary things for granted. Usually, when unfortunate circumstances occur, it can become a wake-up call to a larger life lesson that leads us to appreciate each other and the simplest of life’s pleasures once more.

Whatever obstacles that could be in front of us with economic uncertainty, one thing remains in our control, our attitude and outlook to overcome our struggles.  Remember tough moments too shall pass.  Meanwhile, whether it is memories of your youth or simple pleasures from today, share your favorite moments where it was the simple things that brought you joy.  Hope and optimism can conquer all fear.

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