August is, among other things, Happiness Happens Month and, to kick it off, as the first week of August, it’s “National Happiness Happens Week”, according to its founder, the Society of Happy People. Culminating next Monday with National Happiness Happens Day. Happiness begets happiness!
Mom used to tell me, whenever I was feeling unhappy in my life, that happiness isn’t found in the things I want or have; but, rather, in who I am – as well as in those with whom I choose to surround myself – insisting that true happiness came from within each of us, first. Again, happiness begets happiness!
Yet, there are those who truly believe that their level of happiness (even if it’s only perceived as such) is in direct proportion to their level of success; which, in turn, is in direct proportion to their financial worth and the things they own. Mom believed that real happiness/success came from how we lived our lives – for the good of ourselves, “our maker”, and others – after all, happiness begets happiness!
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)
MORE THAN FRIENDS
FRIENDS ARE A TREASURE and, when we count our blessings, we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered.
Some of our best ideas that come from our friends, and we happily share the good they have offered. But even before the recipes were a part of our livelihood, I was learning from friends, holding dear the wonderful ideas they offered.
From Dolores Garavaglia, one of my first friends when Paul and I were married, I learned how to make a terrific Italian spaghetti sauce. We were visiting Ray and Dolores at their cottage, recently, near Houghton Lake [MI], and laughing over the dramatic shortcuts we’ve learned to take since those days, over 30 years ago, when we cooked ‘from scratch’ and thought nothing of an 18-ingredient recipe.
Julia Bulgarelli, another long-time dear friend, has always given me good ideas and she came from the cottage next door to Ray and Dolores to share an ‘oven stew’ recipe with me that we used in our January-February 1990 issue of our newsletter.
Our files are full of such wonderful dishes. But, in addition to that, we learn about living and about loving from our friends. There is a reciprocation that blooms with affectionate exchanges, whether by mail or with personal visits.
Sherry Ellis came to my aid more than once when I was bogged down and needed another pair of hands. I appreciate her sparkle and enthusiasm for just about everything.
Sophie Wesley and I have been super friends since we bowled together years ago and, when I least expect it, and needed it the most, a card would come in the mail from Sophie, reflecting the beautiful thoughts that comfort when comfort is needed.
Betty Pumford and I became friends through Flossie Taylor, who passed away a few years ago. Flossie [also] introduced me to Elsie Masterton’s cookbooks, which I truly treasure. Some of Flossie’s recipes dated back to her childhood when she remembered visiting her Aunt Clara and Uncle Henry at Fairlane, their home in Dearborn, Michigan.
Betty and I had wonderful lunches with Flossie and after Flossie was gone, [we] carried on the happy tradition, also exchanging some great recipes along the way, as well as understanding and happy conversations.
From Harold and Anna Muzzi, we have derived a sense of appreciation for a friendship that goes back to Paul’s childhood when Harold [Muzzi] and Ray Garavaglia were his best friends and neighbors.
Since our camping experiences with the national RV organization, ‘Good Sam’, we have truly adopted their slogan… ‘In Good Sam there are no strangers – only friends you haven’t met yet!’ How very true. What would we have done had we not been blessed with meeting Irv and Helen Henze [or] Helen and Chuck Mogg? How much we miss Chuck since he passed away.
‘Friends are those people who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow!’ – Gloria Pitzer
According to a study seen at npr.org, which was conducted over a decade ago and still rings true, happiness is contagious! The study indicated that when one person is happy, the effect can spread up to three degrees in a social network; thereby, reaching family and friends, as well as the family and friends of their family and friends. Like I’ve said all along, happiness begets happiness!
Today is also observing, among other things, National Girlfriends Day. Similarly, Sunday will be National Friendship Day and National Sisters Day. Mom was especially grateful for her girlfriends, of whom she often thought as her “chosen sisters”; as well as her older sister, Hazel, of whom she always thought as her friend. Happiness is… friendship! Once more, happiness begets happiness!
Mom always taught me to find happiness within myself, first; then surround myself with others of the like. I always find happiness in the people with whom I choose to surround myself (my “special family”), as well as in other “things” that can’t be owned because happiness comes in moments.
Examples include long hugs from loved ones, the colors of a rainbow sparkling in the sun after a storm, the cheerful chirping of birds during the day and tree frogs in the evening, the sun shining on the magnificent blue waters of our beautiful Great Lakes, and the mouth-watering aroma of a Sunday crock-pot-supper, slow-cooking throughout the day.
‘The trouble with trying to be happy all the time is that most people look for one particular condition or experience or possession, from which they hope to derive complete contentment, forgetting that happiness is a moment – not a forever!’ – Gloria Pitzer, from Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, p. 1)
Personally, I also find happiness floating down a gentle river with my husband (and our friends), under an azure blue, sunny sky, speckled with a few passing puffs of white clouds and surrounded by peaceful wilderness. A yearly trip to which I always await with anticipation. Where do you find happiness?
Do you find happiness in chocolate brownies? In honor of August, being National Brownies at Brunch Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Share-A-Lease Brownies”; as seen in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 21). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
Other August observances include: National Dog Month, International Peace Month, National Catfish Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Panini Month, National Sandwich Month, National Romance Awareness Month, and National Back to School Month!
Additionally, Farmer’s Almanac claims July 3rd to Aug. 11th is considered to be The Dog Days of Summer! The first full week is of August is also… National Farmers Market Week and Simplify Your Life Week!
August 2nd, is… National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!
August 6th is… National Root Beer Float Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of August (for 2022), it’s also… National Play Outside Day (which is the first Saturday of EVERY month), National Jamaican Patty Day, National Mustard Day, and Mead Day!
August 7th is… National Lighthouse Day and National Raspberries N’ Cream Day! This is also… the OFFICIAL midpoint of summer, according to Farmer’s Almanac. Plus, as the first Sunday in August (for 2022), it’s… American Family Day AND this is Family Fun Month, too.
…31 down and 21 to go!