Enjoying the Pleasures of Life

“Louisa said she liked the singing, and Lee Buck told her that that night he would fiddle for her. When they were home Rie showed her the fiddle, kept in the back room hung carefully on two nails. It was of dark red cedar wood, whittled and shaped and smoothed by hand. “Pop made hit,” Rie told her proudly, and Louisa marveled at the man’s patience and cunning to do such work with the tools he had. She thought of gates that needed hinges, and leaky outhouses, and steps with missing teeth, and the owner of such things made a fiddle and played it in all probability when there was work to do. Was he a shiftless and a no-good, or was he merely wise and brave, doing the things he wanted to do because the doing of them gave him more pleasure than firm gates and solid steps could give.”

Mountain Path – Harriette Simpson Arnow


I was reminded of the quote above last week when my long to-do list left me in a bad mood. I wanted to clean the house like I do every week, I wanted to do a bunch of chores outside while the weather was pretty, and I needed to continue working on the blog pictures that broke during my website move.

Once I realized the weekend wasn’t long enough to accomplish everything on my list I felt frustrated beyond reason.

After a few minutes of stomping around the yard quarreling to myself I realized: I’ve cleaned my house pretty much every week for the last 20 years so if I miss a week of cleaning it’ll probably be alright.

Lee Buck may have had a rickety gate and steps with missing treads, but he was smarter than I am by a country mile.


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  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    April 26, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    I was 40 or so when I decided I didn’t want “SHE HAD A CLEAN HOUSE” on my tombstone. Since then, I have
    worked out what I think is a realistic balance: I keep my house tidy, but I don’t clean every week. Reading books,
    enjoying leisurely meals, watching Netflix movies and good TV on PBS, visiting with friends, occasional travel, church work, naps, making gifts, writing poems, listening to music, writing letters, gardening, and reading “Blind Pig” are all important things, too.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    April 26, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Sometimes we fear the judgement of others if we don’t get those chores done instead of doing what makes us happy. I know. We beat ourselves up if the house is not spic and span. But we need to relax and spend happy time. I struggle with this issue as well and constantly remind myself that spending time with friends and spending time writing or researching genealogy is far more important to my wellbeing than housework. Housework will always be with us, loved ones will not. On our death beds we will not wish we had spent more time cleaning house. Your blog means so much to so many, but don’t let it interfere with other things you enjoy doing. Live life to the fullest.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    No matter how much work I need to get done, It goes better if I sit down and listen to a couple of songs by your family first.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    I hired a teenager to do some work that I can’t do anymore. I told him how I did it and said, “You can do it my way or your way if that makes it easier. It was worth the money watching him try to figure a better way to do it and finally doing it my way.

  • Reply
    Paul D Certo
    April 26, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    It’s a week, no big deal. You can clean every day of your life, but when you die they bury you in dirt! Take a break, listen to The Housewife’s Lament to cheer you.

    • Reply
      April 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      Paul-thank you for the comment and for the great video! I just loved the song 🙂

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Just let it go for awhile, you do enough anyway. Today is my Birthday, and I’m waiting for my youngest daughter to get here. She asked me what kind and I told her “I’m a Choco-a-haulic”. We’ll call her older sister when she gets here. …Ken

    • Reply
      April 26, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Happy Happy Birthday Ken!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Papaw Ammons
      April 26, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Happy Birthday Monroe!! I can’t remember birthdays! I can’t even remember what month it is! But I do remember middle names!

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Had an Elderly Neighbor tell me, ” Son the more you do the more you see needs doing”. Hey face it, you can turn anything into a hamster wheel, if you live long enough there”ll come a time you”ll wish you had spent more time doing the things you enjoy, instead of the things you think need doing.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    April 26, 2018 at 10:05 am

    I recently replaced the starter,serpentine belt, and changed oil and filter on my truck. I also changed a flat tire on my lawnmower, Now I have another flat. Well it will have to wait for I’ve got a new metal detector and I’m going coin hunting.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    April 26, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Mama told us often about Grandpapa Clark’s fiddle. She and all her sisters were fascinated by the beautiful case it was stored in. Grandpapa played for parties and home dances. Sadly, their house burned when Mama was around ten and the fiddle was destroyed and never replaced. I don’t know if it was financial or if he just lost heart.

    i admire your house cleaning!! We have company coming and have been doing the “white tornado” routine for days but still have a ways to go. I always vow to do better but always fall by the way.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Housework will be around long after we’re gone. I’ve learned to take time to enjoy myself. Being outside on the pretty days really perks me up.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    April 26, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I learned after 78 years that the dust bunnies and furry friend hairs are not going anywhere and will still be there tomorrow. One thing for sure is if you come to my house and leave without a furry friend hair on you I know you did not sit down. If a dust bunny bothers you please feel free to use the dust cloth hanging by the door to remove it.
    Mother always said your house should be clean enough to be healthy but dirty enough to be fun. Now I know what she meant. Don’t let housework become more important that living life.

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    April 26, 2018 at 9:04 am

    A man who can take a piece of wood and give it a voice is not shiftless or a no-good by any stretch of the imagination. He is an artist². Or more than squared. It is like a painting in 3D-with sound. And, let’s not forget touch and smell. If you have never stroked the contoured shapes of a hand made wooden instrument and felt the vibrations amplified through its body, you are missing half the musical experience. In the case of the violin or fiddle its all right there in your face. The smell of the tone wood, the resin and even the hair of the bow add to the music. And to think it was made by one man with only some pieces of wood, some wires and some hair from a horses tail. Nah! Its best to find someone else to fix the tin on the toilet.

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 9:03 am

    With the gloomy weather we have had this spring, I am feeling as if I will never get caught up. I have been wearing my favorite long sleeve t-shirt a lot lately that clearly says it all – Do What You Love. Love what you do. Somehow that slogan reminds me that it’s ok to read my book rather than trim the trees.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 26, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Tipper–The simple fact of the matter is that most folks with deep Appalachian roots are solidly imbued with what Max Weber or some pointy-headed intellectual long ago dubbed “the Protestant ethic.” In a nutshell that involves a deep sense of guilt if we aren’t working.

    Most of the time that ingrained compulsion to work serves us well, but at times it can be stifling when it comes to creativity or just plain loafering. I reckon the key is to find the proper balance, although I must confess that in my personal life I’ve yet to do so.

    One other thing today’s blog reminded me of was that I haven’t read any of Harriet Arnow in a ‘coon’s age. I need to go back to this book and “Seedtime on the Cumberland.”

    Jim Casada

    P. S. Reckon reading, which I do a great deal of, falls on the loafering side of life?

  • Reply
    April 26, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I am also a get ‘er done kind of person. If I try to put it off I keep hearing that old saying of, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” If fact, it seems if I put it off its a bigger mess or I feel guilty. Sometimes, we have to feed the spirit! In those times just throw caution to the wind, and do exactly what we want without guilt. It is those times that my heart says, “It will be there tomorrow.” Somewhere long ago, I heard that things won’t matter in a hundred years, and I do like to think will it matter a week from now? Tipper, we won’t remember the work we got done, but we will remember those moments when we enjoyed life and broke our own rules. Again, you have me thinking too much for early morn 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 26, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Smarter than us by a country mile indeed. There us doing and there is being and we need to find some balance or we’ll tip over and fall. A life not enjoyed is not worth living.
    Balance is what we need most. To stop all this other nonsense should be our quest!
    Is there a contest for the most cleaned house?

    • Reply
      April 26, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Ah, just had to mention my Mom sure knew how to balance life. She told us once we would not remember if her house was clean or her pictures organized. Pictures were kept in an old cigar box for as long as I can remember. I do recall how she loved yard sales and talking to folks, and canning for days. Word of wisdom she gave to me once was, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 26, 2018 at 7:17 am

    Well, I don’t know for sure. There is a middle way in there somewhere. One can work too much and play too little but the opposite is true to. You did the smart thing though to understand that the frustration required an adjustment of some kind. And loosening our grip is the right one sometimes. Whatever you decide you are the best Tipper Pressley I know and your being the only one doesn’t change it.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paul
    April 26, 2018 at 6:18 am

    Oh, I think he was smarter than most of us

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