It's the little things that make me so happy

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. — Abraham Lincoln

My funky little cottage is falling apart at the seams. My blood pressure is on the rise. And, like most journalists, my job is no doubt teetering on the brink.

But there is much in my life for which I am immensely grateful. And, on Wednesday, my cup overflowed. Again.

This week's happy attack had me dancing around the living room, singing rollicking ditties to the parrots with the cat cradled in my arms. No need to call animal control. The critters are used to my spontaneous outbursts of joy. Thankfully.

Lunch that day had included a delicious salmon salad at a friend's newly decorated home — and a puppy fix. Puppies are guaranteed to get just about anyone smiling. Right? My friend's four-legged companion was newly adopted from a local shelter just 24 hours prior.

Truthfully, Ms. Molly is 5 years old. Not precisely a puppy. But she will always look youthful due to her big brown eyes, curly black locks and sprightly spirit. This lucky pooch is getting a new lease on life. So is my friend, still recovering from the loss of her spouse. The pup and pal pairing was a double reason for glee.

Later that day, I visited with my sister. This best of all female siblings is due for some big-time happy in her overstressed life. But the first thing out of Sis' mouth was good news for me.

"I have some clothes for you," Sis said.

Score! Sis and I share the clothes shopping gene. We also hate to try things on in the stores. Combining three-way mirrors and fluorescent lighting is an evil plot designed to ruin women's self-esteem. Everyone over the age of 18 knows this simple truth.

But our refusal to test-drive purchases also means that various items of "What was I thinking?" buyer's remorse, tags still attached, are passed back and forth. Mostly in my direction. An anonymous quote attributed to a 4-year-old named Lauren pretty much sums up our situation: "I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones."

However, on this particular Wednesday, I had in my car a sack of clothes ready for donation. Sis scored a sweater for herself and a top for her daughter. It was nice to be able to return her generosity. Even just a bit.

Headed home, I plotted my attack on the depressing weedfest that had become my yard. My lawn mower and weedwhacker had been on the fritz for almost two months. My half acre had become a landscape better suited to a haunted house than a beloved home. Apologies had been extended to my neighbors. And The Englishman had repaired my garden implements. I would spend this three-day weekend overhauling my overgrown yard, I vowed.

But as I pulled into my driveway, I noticed an astonishing transformation. From the highway right-of-way to the river's edge, my yard was mown, blown and perfectly edged. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. Where were the dandelions? The hip-high grasses? The storm-blown branches? Who? What?

Turns out I have a fairy godmother living next door. Neighbor Jan hired her gardeners to give my yard a thorough grooming while I was at work Wednesday. She wanted to surprise me with a "treat," she said.

Jan's incredibly thoughtful gift freed me to spend time with family and friends. And to plant my veggie starts. I'll share the garden's bounty later this summer. Jan loves vine-ripened tomatoes, still warm from the sun, handed to her over the garden fence.

Life is good.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or e-mail

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