This article is about Maurice Franklin, a wood turner who is now in his 90s, having only left his lathe to fight in world war II.
From the article:
ďAre you happy?Ē I queried, provocative in my eagerness to seize this opportunity of learning something about being a nonagenarian. ďIíll tell you why I am happy.Ē said Maurice, with a grin of unqualified delight and raising one hand to count off his blessings, ďIíve got a wonderful family and wonderful children. Iíve been successful and Iíve got an appetite for life, and Iíve eaten every day and slept every night.Ē Maurice was on a roll now. ďI was going to write a book once,Ē he continued, ďbut thereís no time in this life. By the time you know how to live, itís over. This life is like a dress rehearsal, you just make it up as you go along. One life is not enough, everyone should live twice.Ē
Read the whole thing – it’s excellent!
It reminded me of one of my favorite books, Harpo Speaks, the autobiography of Harpo Marx, another virtuoso. Here’s a passage from that book:
I canít remember ever having a bad meal. Iíve eaten […] in the finest restaurants in Paris, but the absolutely most delicious food I ever ate was prepared by the most inspired chef I ever knew Ė my father. My father had to be inspired, because he had so little to work with.
I canít remember ever having a poor night’s sleep. Iíve slept in the mansions of the Vanderbilts and Otto H. Kahn and in the Gloverville jail. Iíve slept on pool tables, dressing-room tables, piano tops, bathhouse benches, in rag baskets and harp cases. I have known the supreme luxury of snoozing in the July sun, on the lawn, while the string of a flying kite tickled the bottom of my feet.
I canít remember ever seeing a bad show. If Iím trapped in a theatre, and a show starts disappointingly, I have a handy way to avoid seeing it. I fall asleep.
This is the attitude we must cultivate in life, if we want to be happy.