Where Happiness Comes From Where Happiness Comes From by Tonia L. Harmon Their farm was two hundred acres of corn fields, cows, pigs, and, of course, chickens. No farm would be complete without chickens. At the southeast corner of the farm, behind the smaller corn field, was the brook with clear cold water that reached past my knees. On most weekends my family would go to visit our friends, the Tailors, who had at one time seven boys to keep them company.
All of them were grown with their own lives to attend to, except for Dan, who stayed on at the farm to help keep up the crops. His younger brother Dave still came back to the farm, from the busy city, to visit and bring his children to see their grandparents. Even though they were about the same age as my brother and I, we did not play with them because they were greedy and didn’t suit our playing qualifications by continuously changing rules and cheating. It was rare that we encountered them anyhow, and that suited us fine. Most of the time we would stay the whole weekend.
Our parent’s elected to sleep in a tent, while my brother and I slept in one of the many cozy bedrooms of the farmhouse. We loved it there and secretly both he and I wished that we could stay forever. There were separate reasons why we loved it there. My brother, Forest, had a choice of over a dozen different old cars and trucks. Forest was allowed under the hoods so that he could tinker with the engines and figure out how they functioned.
He was a ten-year old mechanical genius. Everyone knew that he was going to grow up to be a mechanic. When he was five or six, Forest found an old transmission behind the barn; in two hours he had taken it apart and put it back together again without prior instruction. Old mister Tailor watched from a distance while Forest disassembled and methodically assembled the transmission to its original form. Our parent’s are proud and still equally impressed as the day it happened. They still brag and carry on about his genius endeavor, as they do with both of us for the many special encounters accumulated during our formative years.
My reasons for loving that farm cannot be so simply expressed. I cannot narrow my reason into one great memory, and I cannot say when exactly I fell in love with the Tailor farm; perhaps it was from the first time I stepped onto the warm and inviting soil. There were moments when I’d get a burst of happy energy and run through the field with my hair flying behind me. The corn was at least four feet above my head. Running through it gave me a secret place all my own, like a completely separate planet that was occupied by only me.
Most often, after playing in the corn field I went to the bend in the brook where the deepest spot was, and after removing all unnecessary clothing I swam, pretending I was a mermaid in the ocean. I loved to watch my long red hair sway under the water with my graceful swimming motion. If the sun’s ray danced on my hair just right, beautiful colors would stream through the clear utopian water. After supper each night everyone collected on the large screened-in front porch. The grown-ups drank cans of cold Coors beer while my brother and I sipped cans of Sprite or 7-up.
Lightening bugs danced in the near darkness while crickets sang to the melody. After a time the porch light came on and a card game would emerge for the men to play. My mother and Mrs. Tailor would stay at their seats to talk or share recipes. Forest and I shared the responsibility of getting cold beer from the kitchen keeping all satisfied.
On one occasion I asked to join the game. Surprisingly, I was more than welcome; Forest was invited too but declined. He was more interested in finding a Mason jar to collect lightning bugs. I received a quick lesson in the poker game, Five card draw. As poker is mostly played with cash, each player spotted me a dollar, starting me at three dollars. I won the first real hand with a full-house.
An hour later my three dollars was close to a hundred and I was pronounced the lucky winner. On Sunday after church I used that money to treat everyone to breakfast. Leaving the farm to go back to our small town was difficult for me. I would cry or throw up a fuss, stomping my feet, and refusing to leave. The times that our family only stayed for the day, Mrs.
Tailor would volunteer to keep me over for the weekend and return me home on Sunday after church. I think she enjoyed my presence because all of her children had been boys. On occasions when it was impossible for me to stay, Mrs. Tailor would give me a comforting hug, and remind me that next week we would be back again. Those words soothed my discontent and solved any other matter that I suffered. Mrs.
Tailor was to me what women on the cover of magazines are to most young girls today. I would attempt to copy how she walked; or how she would brush her long gray hair. I mimicked her words, as if by using them I would somehow be more intelligent, even if I didn’t know the meaning of them. I even copied the way she dialed the phone with one of the extra rotary phones. I tried on her shoes prancing around pretending to be Cinderella at the ball or some other character from a story.
Looking back at these memories now, I realize how I needed to have those good memories. Later, when my family was torn in many directions, I depended on these memories to get past the pain. I constantly tried to soothe my alcoholic and violent parents by reminding them of the good times. Sometimes my efforts worked other times my parent=s didn’t even seem to care. It was the hope of the future and being able to reflect upon these memories that put a smile on my face when things seemed unmanageable.
I knew that happiness was possible; I had felt it before. Those distant but vivid memories were all I had. During those times, I vowed to make new memories of happiness, instead of wearing out the only ones I had. Someone once told me that happiness came from the inside and they were right. I wasn’t able to be truly happy again until I found that place inside my heart and was comfortable with what I found.
Simply pleasing others was not a substitute for expressing love. Creative Writing.