What’s Your Sweet Life?

What’s your sweet life?  Once upon a time,  THIS was mine.  I didn’t choose it,  my parents did.  We moved here in 1965 when my dad retired from the army and took a job with Boeing.

What made it a sweet life for me?

It was (and still is)  a beautiful small town.  Tree-lined streets,  a “downtown” within easy walking distance including the public library,  including a small independent book store,  a hardware store, a pizza and hoagie shop, the drug store/pharmacy and the college.

The campus and the college woods.  And the meadow.

We walked everywhere.  Including school.  Including up to the train station where we could hop a commuter train and be in center city Philadelphia in about 40 minutes.

As a family, this town was our last stop;  there would be no more cross-country moves to accommodate my dad’s military career.   We settled in.  Put roots down.  Lived here for years.

Part of my family still lives here.

The sweet life.  Not deliberately chosen.  But.  Years later,  my life – my sweet life – would be almost a mirror image of the life I lived in this small town.

Where I am today:

The streets are lined with trees and many of the village houses date back over 100 years.  Everything is within easy walking distance except the schools.  It is a pretty town.

This is a street around the corner from where I live.  I walk it a lot.  Know a lot of the families who live on this street.  Watched their kids grow up.  As I’m sure they watched mine.

Most of us have dogs – and some of us have dogs and cats.  Quite a few of us walk every day.  And, if the weather’s inviting to conversation,  we’ll stop and gossip,  let our dogs get social too.

We’re pretty fortunate that we can either walk the village streets or we can walk over to the canal and walk along the canal path.  And, if we head east along that path, we end up right smack in the “downtown” part of the village.

Like where I lived a long time ago.  There are even trains that goes through town every day.  A lot.  Freight trains.  Seems that we’re on one of the major train routes for this part of the country.

At certain times of the day,  traffic on Main Street stops.  Literally.  For the trains.  And, sometimes for the boats along the canal too.

When the train goes through at the same time that the boats go through,  Main Street traffic backs up.  Stops.  And, we all wait.

We moved into this town when our son was three years old.  He turned 25 this past April.  The house that we bought was the house that belonged to my grandparents for over 25 years.

Their sweet life.  Some of it bitter-sweet.

But.  They were a stoic German couple.  They would not tell you that about themselves.

They’re buried in a cemetery within driving distance of my/their house.  My in-laws are buried in the cemetery that is within walking distance of my house.

I take my dogs to both cemeteries for walks when I don’t want to be bothered by stupid dog people and when I want to mark the passage of time.

When I want to see the tangible evidence of other sweet lives.

Headstones.  Family burial plots.  Solitary individuals.  Lives lived well and long; lives lived short and sweet.

What’s your sweet life?

How much of your life is the result of deliberate choice and how much is the result of seemingly inconsequential acts that add up to the total of what your life is now?

How much is bitter and how much is sweet?



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