Simple things

More than 25 years ago, I worked with a young mother who had three small children.  She loved her kids and cherished the time she spent with them.

One year for Christmas, she gave our co-worker, the front end manager in the grocery store where we both worked, a desk set – a pencil cup and note pad with an outdoor scene of a fence and a wooded lane. The pencil cup said, “Happiness is found in simple things. E.B. Michaels”

On the next Christmas morning, after a short illness, that young mother died.

The cup became for me a symbol of the way she somehow knew to savor the simple things – good friends, a child’s giggles, time with her youngsters.

When the front end manager moved on to pursue happiness in simple things, he left the cup behind. When I left, I passed it on to my successors, reminding them of the wisdom of those words our friend left us.

The store where we all worked is now closed, and thanks to friends who remembered how much that symbol and those words meant to me, the pencil cup now sits on my desk.

One of my favorite desks is a simple thing salvaged from my grandma’s wash house and refinished to a beautiful patina which still shows some of the scars left over a lifetime. Upon it sits a discarded manual typewriter rescued from my in-laws’ garage. They are simple things that make me happy.