Finding Happiness in your back yard

Judy and I love to travel. We love to find new adventures, and that brings us hope and happiness.
But sometimes, you can find your happiness in your own backyard.
It seems like every year, we get a new “summer visitor” at our home.
Last year it was a Writing Spider, also known as a garden spider, zipper spider, corn spider and whose scientific name is Argiope aurantia. But to me it was a writing spider because he (or she, I never checked) wove its web just outside my window in the room in which I do my writing. It became my muse. I even gave it a name, Poe. (I know it was a stretch, but Edgar Allan Poe lived in Richmond. The University of Richmond’s nickname is “Spiders”. )
I kept watching for the spider to write “Haynes writes best-selling novel.” But it never did.
This year we began hearing a croaking in the area of our pool. It had to be a bull-frog. It’s booming bellows could be heard inside the house with the heat-pump going. I love frog legs, and it would be a welcomed menu item when I found it.
A few days later I went to the pool, and as I started up the steps, I looked to my left, and there sat a tiny frog about the size of a silver dollar. In fact it was silver. Its black spots were all that made it distinguishable from the gray decking. It just sat there, so I actually petted it. I picked it up and brought it to show to Judy.
He still gives us our nightly serenades. It’s become almost a treasure hunt to where we might next find him. Last week Judy was pulling weeds in our back yard where we have our berry bushes and grape vines. There he sat on a blackberry leaf.
This morning, I went outside to turn the water on to top off the pool. There he sat on the top of the water spigot.
So my Bringing Hope and Happiness message to you today is don’t think you have to travel to exotic places to find Hope and Happiness. Look for them in your own back yard.
Just take time to smell the roses.
Or in this case, pet the frog. Maybe you shouldn’t kiss it though.

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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.

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