I was listening to the radio the other day, and they were talking about happiness.
An author, whose name I didn’t catch, had asked famous people to describe their happiest moments on this Earth.
One woman had reminisced about sitting at a restaurant alone and watching snow fall outside her window, while she was safe and warm inside.
It seemed odd that she would be happiest while alone.
But my wife has a cherished memory of sitting by her dorm room window with a cup of hot chocolate and watching a winter storm blanket the world. It was a rare treat for a Louisiana girl.
My wife and I spent the remainder of our car ride sharing some of our happiest memories. The thoughts trickled for a while, then turned into a flood.
Though I wasn’t sure what to expect, the results were surprising. For instance, I’d judged that woman’s moment as “odd” because conventional wisdom says we should be happiest in the presence of others.
Then I went through my inventory of good times and found several solitary moments.
In my life as a single, young adult, I hopped in my Bronco II one day with no destination in mind, until I came upon a park. It was hot, but I didn’t bring swim trunks, so I took off my shirt and used it as a pillow while sunning myself on a flat rock. These days, I smile every time I drive by that park.
I also remember Granny and Granddaddy’s house on a rainy Christmas Eve. I’m sure potential presents occupied my mind then, but I can’t think of a single toy.
I can picture Dad and Uncle Jr. shooting Roman candles off the front porch and through the rain – sizzle, poof, orange, sizzle, poof, green, sizzle, poof, pink.
Here’s another moment: building a makeshift dam in a ditch. It was third or fourth grade, when my friends and I jumped in a ditch and piled rocks and mud to stop the water. The dam was doomed to fail, but we fought a tough, muddy fight.
More than seven years ago, I introduced my Tupelo grandmother, Mama Ree Morris, to my daughter, Olivia.
Mama Ree was better at remembering the past than keeping up with the present. It took persistence to get her out of bed at Traceway Retirement Community.
“Come on, get up and meet my daughter,” I said.
It was slow-going, but as soon as we put Olivia in her arms, Mama Ree gave a clinic on how to hold a baby. She was pretty good at cooing, too. We had a bright, wonderful day a few months before Mama Ree left this world.
We keep a picture on the refrigerator of Olivia in Mama Ree’s wrinkled hands. It’s the only photo I have of the happy times I’ve listed, but all of the events are clear in my mind.
Once you start thinking of genuinely happy moments, new ones keep popping up. It’s a rewarding game. If you try it, I hope you have a difficult time picking a favorite.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal