Happy hour

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Dreamed last night that I was given an assignment, evidently at school, to write something about happy hour. Maybe the assignment was conveyed to me by a classmate and I lost something in translation, because I had to ask, in class, whether everyone had to write about the same scene or situation. I think the answer was yes, and so I was redirected toward a more neutral scene, perhaps having nothing to do with happy hour.

Mom and Fred
Mom, Mary Zeck, and her younger brother Fred Curtis, back in the happy day and happy hour.

But this idea, and phrase, has deep meaning for me (is cathected, in psychoanalytical language, the way “our song” may be cathected for a happy couple, or a once happy couple, who upon hearing the song wax rhapsodic or nostalgic about everything it means to them. In my family, happy hour was the time from four to six, or five to six, in which we sat down together, as adults, Mom and Dad and the kids, sharing a few drinks and telling family stories.

“Happy hour” is also a reminder that our time on earth is short and our time to be happy as fleeting as the hours. Life is our happy hour, the only hour we have to be happy, and if we miss out on it then we miss life.

Perhaps, I’m thinking, this assignment to write about happy hour is from the ego itself. If I, in my brief life, as brief as yours, am to fulfill the mystery of why I’m here, I must write about happy hour. About my family, that is, and my place in it. About the pleasure of sharing drinks and stories (see entry above about the kinds of stories we told). About the fragility of these times together.

Happy hour. The briefest of hours. The most pleasurable too. It will not last, unless you grasp and form it in memory, or recollection. Unless you write it down, where others too may share its magical and transient charms. This happy hour begs to be a drama, that is, a play. No matter that I’ve written poetry and fiction but not drama. The genre is of no moment, and all moments. And don’t I have plenty of play left in me still?

6 thoughts on “Happy hour

  1. I appreciate your use of happy hour as a metaphor for life. Two nights ago I was listening to Tara Brach, a Buddhist teacher and psychologist, explain how meditating on impermanence and the brevity of our time on earth can help us be patient, kind, and generous with our children, our partners, co-workers, neighbors, et al. This lesson was helpful when I took Luke & Jack to the Children’s Museum the next day; I was patient with Luke, even when he behaved like a three year old (which he did a few times because he is three, and he will hold up the appropriate number of fingers to show you). Lovingkindness helps produce a happy hour. You contribute to my happiness, precious brother. I’m glad to share this hour with you.

  2. Thanks, Sis. We are indeed impermanent, all the way from the womb to the tomb. What an astonishing and unacceptable idea! And there it is! Hugs to you, Luke, and the sibs.

    1. It’s one of those pix that might not make any impression on non-family members. But that’s the usual reaction, isn’t it? To others it means nothing, but to us it’s precious. Keeps those memories alive and almost resurrects the dead so they jump up in their winding sheets and shout hosannah!

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