The Pecos River is a desultory presence here, her waters languidly wind their way through town. I walk her banks most mornings as the sun is coming up and the mists float above her surface. The path is lined with many benches for those who need to catch their breath during their morning exertions or maybe they are there for those who just need to stop and breathe for a moment. Each bench is flanked by two plaques that have been placed there in memory of someone. Mothers, Fathers, daughters, sons, friends… I stop to read the plaques as I walk by. I figure if someone cared enough about that person that they placed a testimony to them, it is probably worth my time to read it.
You know, it’s funny but you can tell who the happy people were by the words other people used to describe them. I’m sure all of the people that have plaques placed in their memory are wonderful people. Nobody would bother with a plaque, if they weren’t. But there are a few that you can just tell had a different spirit, a lucky few that must have housed happy buoyant souls. So much so that the friends or loved ones that placed their plaques wanted the world to know that these weren’t just your run-of-the-mill, ordinary folk. These people were one-of-a-kind treasures and happiness was their fortune.
Lately I’ve been feeling a strange, vaguely familiar feeling. It happens out of the blue. It can occur when I pass someone on that morning walk and they stop to give me a smile and greeting, or it can happen when I’m sitting outside and the autumn sun warms my cheek. It starts in my chest and bubbles up to my mouth and I smile. I think I remember this feeling. I think I used to call it happiness.
As I pass those plaques, I wonder if someone will place a memorial to me someday. If they do, I hope they place it where people can walk by and if they want stop and read it instead of out in some lonely cemetery. I want a happy person plaque. I hope it says.
What do you want yours to say?
So today I’m just out there doing my best to laugh long and hard and remember that I have cookies in the oven.