How Does One Cope With Life’s Little Surprises?

As I sit here pondering what to write about, I stop for a moment, thinking briefly of what took place one week ago tonight (I am writing this article on September 17) and where we were when it happened. As many of us will never forget, Hurricane Irma decided to make its way through Lakeland around midnight, one week ago this evening. We were tucked away at our daughter’s, hunkered down for the evening, using lanterns for lighting as their electricity went off around midnight.

Like I said, many of us will never forget that night or the days and nights that followed as many of us were without electricity for almost one whole week during a time when the weather here in Lakeland was extremely hot and muggy. But survive we did.

Writers have their own little nook, space, desk, or what have you where they do what they love to do best – write. I prefer to be in my office because in here, should I get in a funk or not know what to write about, I can stop for a moment and take notice of all the little reminders of things that make me smile. The things I have in my office are little reminders of happy times in my life. They are the things that lighten up not only my workspace – but are representative of the great life we have had.

Directly in front of me is a picture of my son, eighteen beautiful ladies and myself taken in June of 2002. We had gone to visit him and one morning while having breakfast, out of the blue he said to me – “Oh, by the way Dad, I forgot to tell you, you are going to be one of the judges at this year’s Miss Hawaiian Tropic Beauty contest being held later this evening.”…………………… Can you see me smiling?

A few feet away is an autographed photo of Charlie Daniels and a separate picture of Dolly and I in Charlie’s trailer where we visited briefly with him after one of his performances. What a true southern gentleman. Happy times!

And then there is the picture of a Beagle with his paw on an open book along with a pair of glasses reminding me of the years I spent studying which upon thinking back helped me get to where we are today. The saying in the picture reads:

The more I study,
the more I know
The more I know,
the more I forget
The more I forget,
the less I know
So why study?

I also have an old Conestoga wagon that one of my sons made during his school years, a guitar the other one wanted to learn to play but never did, a picture of several of us dressed in old western costumes that make me smile every time I look at. There are a couple of dolls made in Mexico that we purchased during our four years of living in Bisbee, Arizona. They aren’t worth anything but the memories they bring back are priceless.

On the door to my office is a picture of a matador which was the last gift my dad purchased for me before he passed. A few feet away from the beauty contest picture is a picture of my mom sitting in her favorite rocker looking directly at me as much as to say – not to worry – this too shall pass!

Adding to the comical side of me is the latest addition to my collection of wild and crazy stuff, a stuffed “Yoda” that looks over me each day. When I look at it I am reminded of yet another saying I think of often: “May the Force be With You!”

My office is not your typical office. Entering my office takes one into the world of the old west. I don’t know if you are aware of what “scene setters” are but instead of paneling or painted walls, I have walls that appear to display whiskey bottles, six guns, and horseshoes. The door to my closet looks like saloon doors complete with bullet holes in them. Another scene reflects old-time gas lanterns that appear to be lit. On yet another wall is a sombrero from Mexico also depicting the time we spent out west, along with a pair of a bull’s horns, again from out west and other fun stuff that remind me of funnier, happy times.

Were someone to see my office, they might think the items I have mentioned are just junk or clutter and may even think it is stuff just for kids. I would disagree though. You see, to me, a person’s surroundings help influences our mood. I used to walk five days a week for at least two miles (something I need to get back to) and while it is hard to describe, the feeling one gets after taking their morning walk is like the feeling I get after spending an hour or so in my office either reading or writing. It rejuvenates me and changes my energy flow.

Retirement is but another phase of our lives. Too many people today are always uptight and stressed out. Truth be told, having such a whimsical office with all the little reminders of the good times we have had in our life are an excellent way to help me lighten up and thus live in a happier, less-stressed environment.

Who knows, I may even consider taking up the Banjo – that appears to be something fun to do.

You all have a magical day – but do take time to smell the roses!

Until next time!

1 Comment

  1. I love your “stuff!” Sometimes, people just don’t get that things can be more than things. I like to think that I am not materialistic and that I have memories too beautiful to ever fade, even without a tangible reminder. On the other hand, surrounding myself with items that invoke warm, loving feelings makes my life happier. I think I would love your office!

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