Nostalgia is Like a Salad

Greek salad by Cheryl

We fondly look to the past, recalling care-free days filled with fun, laughter, friends and family. Our first kiss; most memorable car; best friend; beloved pet(s); dreams of travel and adventure, and on-and-on the list goes. We look at the gilded past through diffused lenses. Unless our coming-of-age-days were horrible (and for some they were) we weed-out the unpleasant things and recall the good things. We all had some bad stuff.

Life is a toss-up of sorts: a mix of greens, veggies, toppings we can and can’t always discern, cheeses, maybe select meats, and usually coated with a dressing of choice. Sometimes we separate the items we don’t like and eat the ones we do. Or, we eat all of it and recall the unique sensual flavor of every bite. Nostalgia is like a salad.

Nostalgia can become a futile exercise. What I mean is that if we view the past through rose colored glasses and consistently recall the days of yore to be nothing but blissful moments of joy, we short-change ourselves in the present. I have very fond memories of my formative years, raising our children, and my continuing love affair with my wife. I am deeply grateful I have them. Although the years were/are ripe with many difficulties, challenges, struggles and sorrows, my fondness for these days rests upon the happy and joyful moments.

Interesting to me that the span of tough times seem to have been pretty much an underlying constant while the positive recollections only snapshots, but that is how my mind works. The moments of quality overcome the quantity of monotony and struggle. I suppose this is a psychological survival dynamic given to us by a benevolent and loving God.

Recently, my thoughts have focused on my failures and mistakes. No optimistic clichés, please. I have read and stated most of them. I understand the power of positive thinking. My mind simply chooses to wander into dangerous territory. I remind myself that life’s circumstances have shaped me into the man I am today. The past doesn’t define me, but it has affected me. So, I choose to push aside the distasteful parts of my salad and eat with gusto the yummy ones. And, I look forward to the next appetizer. Consider this a note to self.

The Good Life


“The good life-the one that truly satisfies-exists only when we stop wanting a better one.

It is the condition of savoring what is rather than longing for what might be. The itch for things, the lust for more-so brilliantly injected by those who peddle them-is a virus draining our souls of happy contentment.

Satisfaction comes when we step off the escalator of desire and say, ‘ This is enough. What I have will do’. “

Chuck Swindoll (2012 quote)

Powerful words of insight and wisdom. Of course, this appears to apply more to the middle and upper classes of the world’s population, yet the poor are not immune to the pull of longing. In many cases this pull is justified if the daily needs of existence are not being met…and who defines what those are? But, being human can bring out the best and the worst in all of us.

The Italians have a beautiful saying, La Dolce Vita, which captures the good (sweet) life in a much more romantic way. So, to all of us, consider stepping off the escalator for a moment or two and give contentment a chance !

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

In a world that seems to have gone mad, much like millions thought during the world wars, it is often difficult to be happy. I mean really happy for an extended period of time; like for an entire summer. As I thought about all of the fighting, the political posturing, the violence, the poor and the refugees, the over-worked, ill and depressed, I wondered how many folk are truly happy. Without answering my own question, I decided to share a bit of nostalgia which resonated with me. For a moment, set aside all that hinders and relax as I share the following. Idyllic? Of course it is. Anyway, try to enjoy the moment.

1963 Dodge Dart

I bought this advertisement about a year ago at a garage sale for fifty cents. I thought it represented a snapshot of Americana during a more blissful-although imperfect-time. As you will note, this ad was meant to appeal to the white, middle class segment of the population at the time…1963 to be exact. The sixties was a decade of immense change in America. The younger generation wanted to separate themselves from their parent’s generation-and they did in many subtle, and sublime ways. Inequality among color and gender was brought to the forefront on a daily basis. Without boring you with the facts, I simply want to share a happy moment. The following lyrics were sung quite successfully by Nate King Cole, a black entertainer with a most beautiful voice. I urge you to YouTube his rendition of this song. BTW, he recorded it in 1963-the same year as this car ad!

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; dust off the sun and moon and sing a song of cheer.

Just fill your basket full of sandwiches and weenies; then lock the house up, now you’re set. And, on the beech you’ll see the girls in their bikinis; as cute as ever but they never get ’em wet.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; dust off the sun and the moon and sing a song of cheer.

Don’t hafta tell a girl and fella about a drive-in; or some romantic moon it seems. Right from the moment that those lovers start arrivin’; you’ll see more kissin’ in the cars than on the screen.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer. Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; you’ll wish that summer could always be here.

You’ll wish that summer could always be here; you’ll wish that summer could always be here.