Journeys of the Heart

An author's journey

Simple Pleasures

rt 2008 redu (2)This past weekend I had the pleasure of participating in Lehigh Valley Civil War Days.  Despite the long days, the heat and some of the other inconveniences (can you say porta-john?) one of my favorite aspects of this hobby is that modern technology is left behind.  Cell phones are for the most part turned off and hidden away.  There is no television, no radio, no internet to distract or entertain us.  Instead we are forced to do the almost unthinkable these days, sit and engage in polite conversation.  Other than the battles where the gentlemen get to play with their guns, entertainment consists primarily of period music performed and sung by the participants themselves, period dancing and visiting friends at their tents for more chat fests around the camp fire—simple pleasures all.

This brings me to a recent article in the morning paper about parents holding birthday parties mid-week and scaling down the celebrations to something less than royal galas.  Apparently some parents are beginning to realize they’d like to keep the weekend to spend with their families.  And although finances in these tight times have something to do with the new trend, parents are also discovering that hosting a small intimate group of friends at Chucky Cheese, or one of the other kid friendly birthday places on a Wednesday evening is actually more fun than a huge, expensive mega event. 

As someone who can count the number of birthday parties on one hand, I had to chuckle.  Recently a fellow author blogged about her memories of her family’s annual three day holiday to the beach.  For many years, my older sister and I spent our summers with our grandmother.  On summer evenings we’d catch fireflies or take a walk and pick black raspberries along the train tracks.  One of our favorite pastimes was to sit outside next to the tall stocks of hollyhocks our grandmother grew in every conceivable color.  She would supply us with a box of toothpicks and we’d make hollyhock ladies and men while she conversed with my aunt or one of the neighbors who dropped by. 

I remember each of the special times I mentioned, as does my friend who blogged about her beach experience, because they were just that—special.  I can’t help but wonder if today’s children will have the same sort of memories when they’re grown or will their memories merge into a blur of noise, popcorn and frenetic activity.  If this new trend of smaller and fewer parties continues children might have a chance to make some beloved special memories.  Perhaps they and their families might even consider becoming Civil War re-enactors, where simple pleasures are still the rule. 

For a peek at Lehigh Valley Civil War Days check out this site:


June 18, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Getting back to the simple things in life I think is a great idea. What ever happened to back yard birthday parties, cake, ice cream, games? When you need a professional party planner and a caterer for an 8 y/o I think things have gotten out of hand. Kids just wanna have fun. Fun can be collecting blueberries or wading in water to catch a frog or collecting fireflies in a mason jar.

    Comment by Kathy Kulig | June 19, 2009 | Reply

  2. Kathy…. Thanks for the article on Simple Pleasures. We certainly have rich rememberences from our summers with Granny. Everything from marbles, jacks, playing school, shelling peas, husking corn, picnics, making black raspberry jelly, going to the river, shopping at a real 5 & 10, playing banking, cake walk and chicken corn soup suppers at the fire company, roller skating, getting home from the Cove by the 4 o’clock whistle, cold Hershey bars in the fridge, Bible School, etc. Sigh. As is true with good writing, quality life memories often stem from: “Less is more.”
    ~Karen (the Older Sister)

    Comment by Karen Hudgins | July 20, 2009 | Reply

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