Where Happiness Comes From Essay Research Paper

Where Happiness Comes From Essay, Research Paper

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


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.


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