Good Days

Mike McGough
December 2021

As a home inspector, he spent a good deal of time on the road and interacting with clients.  He liked his work, and he was good at it.  He appreciated a good day’s work.  He learned early on in life that he couldn’t always control the encounters and scenarios that would come his way, so he learned how to make the best of situations.  When he got a break, when some little turn of luck came his way, or when a real blessing graced him, he appreciated them, but he never expected them or thought they were owed to him.

On this particular day, he could have used a break, something to go in his favor, but it didn’t happen.  It was just another of those days when things just seem to roll along, neither hindered by any negatives nor advanced by any real positives.  He just followed his usual routine, let the day play out, and that was fine with him.  He had no complaints, and as usual, felt good about the day.  It was Friday, and he was looking forward to the weekend.

That evening, he and his wife had been invited out for dinner.  Some friends held a large picnic each year.  This year it was a pig roast.  He was looking forward to the gathering.  There would be friends, food, and conversation, three things he really enjoyed.  He thought this would be a nice end to his week.

When they arrived, greetings from friends, some he had not seen in a while, smells of the food, and plenty of conversation combined to create a really inviting atmosphere.  He liked to talk to people, and on this evening, he jumped right into conversation.  He was as poised a listener as he was a comfortable talker. But as he moved from conversation to conversation throughout the evening, he began to sense a trend in almost all of the conversations.  At first, he thought he might be overreacting to a few comments, but when they continued, he knew it wasn’t his imagination.

Most everyone in this particular friends’ group was middle aged or a bit older.   They were a working-class group, and they represented a broad range of professions, careers, and lines of work.  As such they had all had their share of good days, bad days, and just routine days.  Over the years they had shared their days with others in the group, and he had been party to many of those conversations.  But that night’s conversations were different.  There was a common element, and it was how they defined a good day. 

Time and again that evening a good day was defined as a day when something beneficial, something profitable, something special, or something of personal benefit happened.  Then and only then was the adjective good use to define a period of time like a day, a week, or a month for example.   Other than that, time was not marked by either good or bad, but relegated to just another day, week, or month.  This was not only true when talking about their work lives, but also when referring to the personal and family lives. 

Once it caught his attention, he began looking for it.  He wanted to see for sure if it was his imagination or was what he thought he was hearing really part of the tone and temper of that evening conversations.  In time he came to see that it most definitely was.  As a result of this attention to listening, he didn’t join into conversations as freely as he generally did.  He was more interested in listening.

No one said anything at the party, but on the ride home, his wife said he seemed a bit quieter than usual.  He explained what he had noticed early on in the evening and that he wanted to see if that was really a conversational trend.  When he pointed it out and she reflected on the conversations to which she had been party, she agreed that there did seem to be a bit of a passive or ungrateful tone to several of the conversations.   She asked him what he thought, and he summed it up rather nicely.

“I have got to be honest with you, I like it when good things happen to you, our family, our friends, and me. I’m appreciative and thankful.  But I’m also happy and sometimes count myself really blessed, when I consider all of the negative things that haven’t come our way.  That too has to be a part of the measure of what makes for a good day, doesn’t it?”

A routine day when nothing really negative happens can and should be recognized and appreciated for what it really is—a GOOD DAY!