October 02, 2013
The best is within reach — but you need the right lens to see it
I remember summers back in the late 1950s, when I would ride my (at least it felt that way to me) 800-pound solid steel one-speed bicycle with balloon tires a couple miles down to the stockyards in Milwaukee at 18th and St. Paul Avenue to gather discarded Coke bottles.
Two cents a bottle when I returned them for the deposit!
That was serious money to me, when a pack of baseball cards cost a nickel and you got a big (compared to the postage stamp size iterations offered today) thick slab of pink bubble gum to go with it.
I received no allowance or anything like that till I was 11 so I was pretty much on my own as regards spending money.
If I had an especially great day collecting bottles — I'm talking maybe 10-12 — I'd give myself a treat and buy a Coke, spending a precious nickel from my earnings and sitting quietly in the shade somewhere on that hot, still, humid afternoon and enjoying every icy sip from that curvy thick 6.5 ounce bottle (top).
That was — and remains — as good as life ever got.
Well, this afternoon, watching Gray Cat go through her routines and all around the house, up and down the stairs and out and back from the front step, it occurred to me that she's the best pet in the world: I cannot imagine having another animal — forget about a human being — as great to spend every waking (and sleeping) minute around, up close and personal all the time.
So once again, somehow I have been privileged to have the very best thing possible, just like that Coke I drank in the 50s: no one, no matter how rich or powerful they were/are, could have had a better Coke nor could anyone on the planet be happier than I am with Gray Cat.
So you see, in the end every single person who ever lives has a shot at having the best.
You just have to be able to see it when it's right in front of your eyes.
October 2, 2013 at 08:01 PM | Permalink
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Joe - I would say you are blessed. Good post too - thanks.
Posted by: Pamela Keown | Oct 3, 2013 8:39:56 PM
We found a bunch of Quart bottles that the local steelworkers
threw at the RR tracks worth a nickel each!
We dinned at Bernard's Bar on Slim Jims, Nip Cheese and Royal Crown Cola.
I never had a better meal since.
Posted by: Joe Peach | Oct 3, 2013 4:57:39 PM
Darth Vader...thats all i see
Posted by: cezl | Oct 3, 2013 4:52:55 PM
I was just thinking on my drive home yesterday what a great visual feast we have for our eyes every day: variety of trees, architecture, signs, colors and so forth. Imagine if we never had vision and just one day, bam, we can see. Imagine what fascination it would be. Yup, if we stop and think about, there is much to appreciate in life.
Posted by: Bubbub | Oct 3, 2013 12:23:38 PM
It's hard to believe that people were once satisfied with 6.5 ounces of Coke. And remember the machines that dispensed a tiny little cup of Coke, no ice?
The most perfect happiness I've ever felt was comfy in my bed on a rainy night, with two warm cats snuggled up, reading a book I'm completely absorbed in, all ringing things turned off. Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh....
Posted by: Flautist | Oct 3, 2013 9:14:39 AM
Joe, I couldn't agree more. It is truly a shame that more people see their world through a greedy, "I-would-be-happier-if-I-had-more-stuff" lens rather than a simple "look-at-all-I-have!" lens. I am truly thankful to be living with my daughter, son-in-law, 20 month old granddaughter and my two sweet Italian Greyhounds in a small, older home that isn't much to look at, but is just filled to overflowing with love and laughter!!!
Posted by: Marla | Oct 3, 2013 9:06:45 AM
I'm so glad someone else remembers bottle collection as a source of income. I grew up in a college town so we used to dumpster-dive the frat houses - lots and lots of beer bottles to get a Hershey bar or two and the occasional Playboy which had nearly infinite barter value.
Posted by: Scott | Oct 3, 2013 7:08:17 AM
So true-a gift.
Posted by: Marianne | Oct 2, 2013 9:54:55 PM
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