“Though the big estates are interspersed now with middle-class homes, the overall impression is of money, carefully cultivated and preserved, vintage elegance harking back to a time when wealth was handled with discretion and material display reserved for one’s financial peers.” Kinsey Millhone’s observation in “C” is for Corpse
Sue Grafton is one of my rereads. You know, those books that become good friends, that bring you comfort and make you feel cozy all over just by picking it up? I highly recommend her alphabet series or anything else she writes, but it is her character Kinsey Millhone that provokes great thought for me. As I reread each book there is always something that stands out that did not the last time.
Yesterday was one of those A Plus days for me. The kind where wonderful things happen, one after another, and you end up driving along thinking, “I think I have everything I could possibly want in this life.”
And in that moment of absolute bliss came a mixture of emotion. I want to shout from the roof tops or stop every person walking along and tell them how perfect my life is, and then it occurred to me that so many people are in pain for one reason or another. There are problems, terrible sad problems.
Would my expression on joy be just that, an expression? Or was I thinking the world should just be happy because in that moment I was happy? Should I feel guilty at what I have and others do not?
I recognized that what I should be, and was, is grateful for my good fortune. I wondered how I could reconcile what joy I had with the poorer states of others. Loved ones, struggling, worried.
And then I thought of the above quote I had read yesterday, “when wealth was handled with discretion”, and it occurred to me that happiness and good fortune should be handled the same way. Not at all, SEE WHAT I HAVE? SEE HOW HAPPY I AM? SEE MY GOOD FORTUNE?
But with discretion, and gratitude.
Kinsey’s adventures are some of the best you will read, but her draw for me is where her head is at. What she thinks. What she observes. I think of her often throughout a day because in her I find a monitor of some sort. Not perfection but honesty that is clean, humorous, and core basic. I am not sure if that makes any sense to you but I do like how it rolls around my gray matter. I think I could write a book about the kind of person she is but Grafton pretty much has done that also with her book, “Kinsey and Me.”
What I realize is that our society is all about showing off what we have, what we do, where we go and who we know. The thought about discretion and being circumspect (another word that comes to mind in this), is appealing, and comforting, and proper somehow, though the idea of ‘proper’ seems to be shamed and scorned these days.
**In case you are wondering, no I did not win the lottery (yet), and nothing earth shaking happened, except a couple of very small things made me realize I am Blessed and Grateful. And I wish the same for all of you.
*** Yeah yeah I know, bad miserable days when nothing goes right will come again, but for now there is happiness!!
9 thoughts on “Handle with Discretion”
“Handling wealth with discretion” seems to be a lost art, its disappearance occurring about the time that MacMansions began to appear in middle class neighborhoods. I try not to make too big a deal of having a great day, knowing full well that tomorrow could bring drastic changes. I do, however, commit these happy days to my “emotional memory”, to be recalled when things aren’t going so well. I find it’s far more effective than reminding myself that “This, too, shall pass.”
I love the idea of ’emotional memories’! Thanks!
Thanks Chris. I had forgotten Sue Grafton. I think the last one I read was M is for Murder. So shall look out the copies I have and if that fails shall go to the library courtesy Driving Miss Daisy.
So many good authors, so little time! We are lucky!
It´s OK to be happy and on top of the world at times. We need to remember those days when life goes sideways, as it always does.
Exactly right Darlene!