John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Being happy doesn’t mean having the best of everything

Being happy doesn’t mean having the best of everything, although having the best of everything is wonderful. When I was a boy we lived, barely survived really,  in about the worst place in town, a cobblestone, dead end street, darkened by the shadow of a massive old foundry that never closed and whose noise drowned out everything else, all day and all night with the smashing sound of enormous machines.  The river was nearby and it was badly polluted and smelled to high heavens. It left the stench of rotten eggs on our clothes and on us.  We had no toys, we lived on welfare and we wore our shoes until they literary fell off our feet.
But yet I recall those years as the best and happiest of my life because I shared it with my brothers and sisters. I was never alone.  We dreamed up more adventures in one day in that God forsaken neighborhood then Hollywood could make up in a decade. We made the best out of what we had. And that’s the key to being happy; make the best of what you have.

You know I think about those years a lot. Every now and then I go back there. The cobble stone are paved over and the factory is closed and the river runs a little cleaner these days but otherwise it’s all the same.  Vast herds of poor kids run the streets in second hand clothes. The poverty is still there, so I asked God, I said “Hey, God, why don’t you do something about this?” and God said “I did, I brought it to your attention”