By Tony Hooker
Is anyone else just over the COVID-19 pandemic?
Of course, I think we all are to varying degrees. I know it’s dominated my thoughts and my writing for the past two months plus, and it doesn’t look like there’s an end in sight.
With that being said, I’ve decided to come up with a list of things that make me smile, during these trying times. And so, in no particular order, here is my list.
* Family game night- I’ve raised some competitive kids, and Mrs. HLS and I have been together for so long that the thought of figuratively beating my brains in at UNO fills her with joy, since she’s much too refined to hit me with a frying pan or something. The pressure at the Hookerville kitchen table can get pretty intense, especially when Monopoly is involved.
* Kids out splashing in puddles after a rain-There is something so pure and innocent about the laughter of a child in a mud puddle or kiddie pool. My secret prayer is that they always retain just a hint of that joy in their hearts as they grow older.
* The smile on my son’s face when I cook something especially for him- The dude’s working 60 hours a week, so if I can bring a little ray of sunshine into his busy life, I’m happy to do so. Unfortunately, his enthusiasm for ribs and fried fish aren’t shared with the female denizens of Hookerville, so it’s a rare occasion that I’m able to indulge him.
* Both bowers and the ace and getting to name trump-I’ve been playing euchre since I was 8 years old, and I taught Jules and the kids years ago, so they’re all excellent players in their own right. So it’s gratifying to get a loaner and actually get to play it!
* The tired sense of accomplishment I feel after completing a long walk. Even though I sometimes call it my “Shakira” moment because as she said in her song, “The hips don’t lie”, and mine are telling me that they’re old and decrepit, I still love to go for an hour or longer. It’s a great way to ruminate about life’s problems and issues and I often am able to come up with solutions. Of course I also invariably come up with some harebrained idea that is usually punctured by the missus whenever I broach it. Her common sense has kept my flighty self out of trouble for three decades now.
* The friendship of a good person. I’ve had tons of friendly acquaintances over the years, and I truly value the experiences that we shared at that particular moment in time, but a true, lifelong friend is a much different, rarer breed. I’m lucky to call Astro my brother from another mother, since 1981. That’s almost four decades with only one squabble in all those years. We’ll blame that one on a girl!
* My kids-though we don’t always see eye to eye, I am so very proud of the adults that they are. They have each fought their own battles without asking me for help or often even knowing of their struggles, and they’re fearless and tough and all-around awesome in their own way.
* The friendship of my parents. I am blessed to still have my mom and stepdad to hang out with, and though our roles have changed over time, I still love hanging out with them whenever possible. Reebster, I’ll keep letting you try my kitchen experiments, even when they’re not the greatest, and Donnie B, this is the year we add another wall hanger to the collection in November. I love you both.
* Last but in no way least, the Missus. Jules. The Rock. The CFO. Without her, I’m not sure where I would be, but I know I would be missing a piece of me.
There you have it. My self-indulgent look at a few of the things that make me smile, and I encourage you to make a list of your own. It’s a good reminder of how blessed we truly all are. Have a great week, and enjoy your Memorial Day Holiday.