The Pursuit of Happiness

Photography by Hallie Duesenberg

Photography by Hallie Duesenberg

 

By Susan "Honey" Good

A stranger, a woman, approached me one day as I was walking my pooch, Orchid, at the dog park.

“You’re Honey Good?” she asked.  I almost fell over, darlings!

“I am shocked that you recognized me!" I said. "Yes I am Honey. How did you know?”

“I read your stories, see the pictures of you and your dog. It was your hair style.”

And then she said out of the blue, “Is Kankakee by the Sea in Hawaii?”

I started to laugh!

“No! It is a small industrial city with a winding brown and dangerous river. Kankakee sits in the middle of the State of Illinois with miles and miles of farmland surrounding it. It is thousands of miles from any Sea!”

“Then, why do you call it ‘Kankakee by the Sea’?” she asked.

“The phrase makes me happy! I love the sea! And, the contradiction between the real Kankakee and my fantasy is so absurd that it makes me smile, laugh and feel utter happiness!"

She asked me if she and her dog could walk along with us.

"Of course," I replied, and we hit the trail, with our dogs, walking and talking together, like old soul mates for 50 minutes!

She began to talk about the word happiness! She said, “I know I feel happiness but I want to pursue happiness further. I am not sure how to capture it."

Just then I noticed two types of terrain. One nourished me with several full-grown olive trees, the other was a desert that made me feel like a fish out of water!

So, I said, “I know I am at my ‘happiest’ and most productive when I am surrounded by places and people that are in sync with me…where I can recognize myself.”

And then she said astutely and excitedly, "You hit the nail on the head! And then she added, very excitedly, “I think we can find happiness in seeking out ‘new’ people and places, too. We shouldn’t keep ourselves from reaching out to new people and new places where we have a feeling of compatibility."

“You are so right.” I replied. And I told her of two new women friends in my life; one an engaging woman in the political world and the other a beguiling and witty author and writer.

 And she said, "Would you consider becoming a new friend of mine?  I think we are in sync!"

“Yes," I said, "I will because you are right. We are compatible. We even have dogs that are in the terrier family!"

We continued to walk and talk about the pursuit of happiness and how we could own it to a degree.

And this is what we mutually decided at the end of our first walk…

The pursuit of owning happiness is:

Stop expecting yourself to do things or spend time with others that are alien to your nature; that are antagonistic to your essential self.

Create or recreate a life that looks, and is, you, darlings!

Our meeting would be believed by most to accidental, but I believe there are no accidents. I was meant to meet Betsy. She was meant to meet me.  We ‘tuned’ into our mutual compatibility and left one another a bit wiser and therefore…happier, darlings!