While I walked along Wildcat Boulevard the other day, I was thinking about a newspaper column I had read recently. The column was titled “Bargains galore” and listed some of life’s pleasures which bring joy at no cost.
Some of the writer’s bargains are like mine such as: a field of wildflowers, a rainbow after a storm, the sound of a babbling brook or waves washing on a beach, the sight of a V of wild geese flying overhead, and seeing the American flag extended in the wind.
Still I have many of my own “bargains” which deal with hearing such as: the sound of laughter from children playing, the clanging sound of church bells calling worshippers to service, the rhythmic sounds of the Neosho High School band practicing early in the morning, or hearing the sound of a jet airplane flying over and spotting it before it disappears into the distance.
Smells, too, provide many bargains in life. Nearly everyone likes the strong smell of bacon frying in a pan or a fresh pot of coffee brewing on the stove. Sometimes in the spring we are almost overpowered by the sickly sweet smell of honeysuckle on a neighbor’s fence or the unforgettable scent of lilies of the valley or flowering lilac bushes.
Sometimes even sadness is a bargain in life. Do you have a movie that will make you cry? In “The Field of Dreams” is a scene where a young man makes a decision to give up his lifelong dream to save a little girl from dying. My eyes “water up” just thinking about this.
There are other little things that are life’s bargains. Finding that first ripe tomato in the garden and cutting it up for a supper salad is enjoyable. The wonderful colors of fall leaves like we have been blessed with this fall are a spectacle of beauty that costs nothing.
Knowing you have done something that helps another person can also be a rewarding bargain in life. Volunteering to help an organization can many times give more pleasure to the volunteer than the organization.
Sometimes mere words are bargains of life. Having someone greet you with “Good morning, sir,” is nice. Or someone saying, “Excuse me!” or “Bless you” is, too. Perhaps the best bargain words though are “please” and “thank you.” “I love you” is not bad.
Take a walk, tip your hat to a lady and see her eyes widen with surprise and pleasure, use those signal lights, appreciate all the bargains life has to offer, and see what you notice while passing along your Wildcat Boulevard.
Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.