Little big things

There is a quote I like by Kurt Vonnegut that goes, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things. “

Achievements and accolades are nice but if you really think about the memories that mean the most to you I would wager that many simply involve spending time in the company of other people. Making the highlight reel of my life are such little things as a hug at an airport, taking naps with my then infant sons, a special lunch in a restaurant with my folks, and several episodes of just telling stories, joking around and laughing with friends.

The great thing about little things is that they are something most of us have in common. People of all ages, incomes, nationalities, religions, races and political persuasions experience and value them. At times it may seem that we are very different from each other, but if we look below the surface we often find we enjoy many of the same things.

If you like little big things Middleton is a great place to live. I think just about everyone in town has been on a float or marched in the good neighbor parade at one point in their life. Nearly as many have likely spent a few quarters trying to win a stuffed animal or taken a ride on the tilt-a-whirl at the good neighbor festival.

Middleton is full of places where little big things occur. The world class Performing Arts Center at the high school is figuratively and occasionally literally hopping with local talent. Our schools are terrific as are the extra-curricular activities available through them. If you enjoy following sports then you are in luck too as Middleton is the home to many fine community and school based sports programs. In addition there are plenty of great recreational resources to get you in the game as well.

I greatly enjoy stumbling across little things that make a big impression or simply brighten my day, and in the coming weeks I look forward to sharing a few of these stumblings with you.

Just to whet your appetite (and as an aside the expression “whet your appetite” dates back to the 1600s and is believed to originate from the need to lubricate whet stones used to grind tools to prevent their overheating… and as a second aside in case you were wondering I didn’t actually know that until just a few minutes ago when I looked it up) the following is a sampling of little big things I have stumbled across in the recent past:

• Hearing stories about life in Middleton at different times from my grandmother who still lives on Hubbard Avenue in the house her grandmother used to live in (e.g. there used to be a bootlegger operating out of a chicken shack next to the current Middleton firehouse and those in the know remarked that the chickens died of old age on their frequent drives between Middleton and the stills operating out in the countryside).
• Buying a guitar from and making a connection with a musician from a different generation.
• Taking a drive down memory lane (otherwise known as Columbus Drive) on a snowy winter day.
• Watching a group of teenagers spontaneously play music and sing with and for each other.

And I am sure there are many other yet to be encountered little big things that I will stumble into soon. For example just this past weekend I ventured out to a new restaurant (new to me anyway as the restaurant has been there for years) and very much enjoyed overhearing the following conversation between our server and the establishment’s proprietor:

Server: “…Look at this plant! How do you expect to keep a dog alive if you can’t even keep a plant alive?”
Proprietor: “(pause)… A dog will remind me when it is thirsty.”

A little thing that made me smile, and I am hoping the retelling might just make you smile too.

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