Did you have times like these in your life? Times that you look back on with a sense of loss even though they weren’t exactly easy? Times that were tough but carefree enough that you recall them with nostalgia? Maybe you’re still living them. Diving down the back of the sofa to find the lost coins that will pay the bus fare. And really enjoying the hot sauce on the baked beans more than once a week. And then – pay-day! And a packet of notes and coins heavy in your hand and just waiting to be spent.
Do you think of those days as the good life?
Here’s Tracy K. Smith poem from 2011. In June she was named US poet laureate.
The Good Life
When some people talk about money
They speak as if it were a mysterious lover
Who went out to buy milk and never
Came back, and it makes me nostalgic
For the years I lived on coffee and bread,
Hungry all the time, walking to work on payday
Like a woman journeying for water
From a village without a well, then living
One or two nights like everyone else
On roast chicken and red wine.
– Tracy K. Smith
Anyone remember “The Good Life”? It was a popular BBC sit-com in the mid 1970’s (retitled “The Good Neighbors in the US.)
It starred Richard Briars and Felicity Kendall as Tom and Barbara Good who turn their backs on the rat-race of corporate life. They convert their suburban back garden into a smallholding and dream of self-sufficiency. Their stuffy and conventional neighbors Margot and Jerry Leadbetter (played by Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington) are not amused.
Four seasons of hilarity ensued as the series skewered both the naivety of the new agey back-to-the-landers as well as the middle class snobbery of their neighbors.