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Henry Thoreau, Walden : If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen...
Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.
[Masters put Cooney Potter and Fiddler Jones on facing pages - coincidence?]
59. Cooney Potter
I INHERITED forty acres from my Father
And, by working my wife, my two sons and two daughters
From dawn to dusk, I acquired
A thousand acres. But not content,
Wishing to own two thousand acres, 5
I bustled through the years with axe and plow,
Toiling, denying myself, my wife, my sons, my daughters.
Squire Higbee wrongs me to say
That I died from smoking Red Eagle cigars.
Eating hot pie and gulping coffee 10
During the scorching hours of harvest time
Brought me here ere I had reached my sixtieth year.
60. Fiddler Jones
THE EARTH keeps some vibration going
There in your heart, and that is you.
And if the people find you can fiddle,
Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
What do you see, a harvest of clover? 5
Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands
For beeves hereafter ready for market;
Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove. 10
To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
How could I till my forty acres 15
Not to speak of getting more,
With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?
And I never started to plow in my life 20
That some one did not stop in the road
And take me away to a dance or picnic.
I ended up with forty acres;
I ended up with a broken fiddle—
And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories, 25
And not a single regret.
jamiebk wrote:If money is too thin after I retire, I will opt for stacking cans at Home Depot...or anything other than a job whose responsibilities stick like flypaper when I should be relaxing at home.
Catmando wrote:I would love to see a day where one works (full time) at their job 4 days a week, 5 hours a day.
I've made a conscious decision over the last few years to work very little overtime. The vast majority of the time, I'm in at 6:45AM and leave at 2:45PM. There are times at 1/4 end and Year End that I realize I have to (or may have to) work some extra time, but only when absolutely necessary.
The sad part is when I leave the office at 2:45PM, after having put in a full day of work, you get the odd comment by people who think they're funny, or they look at their watch and say "Leaving already?" or "Ooh, must be nice!"
I know I've sacrificed some future promotion opportunities, but I've never wanting to become what my manager has become. I look at her "life" and think it is sad. Very sad.
Selma in Sandy Eggo wrote:"Must be nice" gets a "Yes. Yes, it is."
"Leaving already?" is answered "Yup. Buh-bye."
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