“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”

– Aristotle

Sherry and I own a menagerie of animated animals made from a bunch of stainless steel plates and pipes. They come from an artist by the name of Jim Saurer, of tiny Slinger, Wisconsin, and they have changed my life in a merry, mythological manner.


Over the years, we have collected many of these whimsical characters, and strategically placed them so we can rediscover joy in them every day. Of course, we’ve named each one of these sculptures as well. Lavernius Cole is a golfing troll. Shelby Waters is a violin-playing turtle. There’s Mel Formé (a singing skunk), Hondo (a happy hippo), and on and on.


These guys have become my good friends. I talk to them and, in secluded moments, they talk back to me. This is part of the magic world of young children and older adults that is hidden from normal people who work for a living, watch hours of The Big Bang Theory and fuss with their handheld devices.


Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with Mel Formé about what makes us happy. “My stainless steel body is pretty much stuck in one place,” Mel said. “But, Don, you can pick where you go, what you see and who you engage with all day long.” And I got thinking, darn if Mel wasn’t crooning the truth. With minor adjustments, I can spend more of my time around those things and those people that bring me the most inner peace and contentment.  


Mel Formé and Aristotle can’t both be wrong. So, in 2016, I’m headed back to Slinger, Wisconsin, for more happiness. Where are you headed?