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News[letter] From The Happy Side

For this News[letter], I (Alan) am going to be self-indulgent and offer you all a glimpse into my own personal happiness, which I experienced over the course of my and Alice’s 23 day east coast independent bookstore book signing and promotional tour of The Sea Knows. We all find happiness in different ways and from different things. Here are some of the ways I found happiness during what we coined our “March to the Sea”.

Happiness is deciding to go on our east coast trip even though our country is still in the grips of the covid pandemic, and so many of us are fearful. Happiness is pushing through fear.

Happiness is deciding to take Petey (my 2005 PT Cruiser convertible) even though he can be temperamental and decide every now and then to simply not start, and driving him with the top down at all times (other than in pouring rain).

Happiness is stopping in Washington, DC and seeing the Fourth of July fireworks along with others from all walks of life and feeling that our country is still united in some ways.

Happiness is getting to Chincoteague Island, Virginia, driving over the bridge, getting our first breath of fresh, sea air, and sitting next to the water eating fresh seafood (steamed shrimp).

Happiness is going to Sundial Books on the Island and meeting John and Jane, the owners, and seeing our book for the first time prominently displayed in a bookstore.

Sundial Books with owners

Happiness is riding our bikes all around Chincoteague’s nature preserve looking for the famed wild ponies, and walking the ocean beach for the first time on our trip. We didn’t see the horses, but happiness is in the journey, not the destination.

Happiness is walking on the many beaches on our trip.

Happiness is meeting so many wonderful people along the way, from strangers sharing a ferry ride, to waitresses fascinated by two children’s book authors who wrote a book about the sea, to all the hard working, passionate, bookstore owners and staff committed to getting through this difficult time and working for a brighter tomorrow.

Happiness is being asked to autograph books, hundreds of them, and then to see some sold immediately after we signed them.

Happiness is seeing all the Bed & Breakfast owners and feeling their spirits rise, hoping that our stay is evidence that more will come in the near future.

Happiness is the vast beaches and beach towns of Delaware and New Jersey; Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Stone Harbor, Sea Isle City, Surf City, and Point Pleasant Beach.

The sea by Cape May

Happiness is getting past some difficult times and pushing forward; a tough time in Wildwood, NJ with rain, a run-down motel, and un-masked people not social distancing. Stopping in Deep River, CT only to have Petey decide not to start (we rented a car and continued).

Happiness is waking up each morning smelling the sea nearby and knowing that each day will bring us back to it.

Happiness is all the wonderful food, mostly seafood and ice cream (not at the same time), that we ate each day in wonderful outdoor locations, often on the water.

Happiness is Ocean Grove, NJ, with its big, old, Victorian style houses lining wide streets inviting you to the ocean and to its boardwalk, where we had a wonderful outdoor dinner at a Cuban restaurant.

Happiness is a tiny bookstore in Bayonne, NJ, The Little Boho Bookshop, and its owner Sandra Dear, who both shine with energy and positivity and hope.

The Little Boho Bookshop

Happiness is beautiful towns along the shore of Long Island, NY, like Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, and Greenport. And towns in Connecticut like Mystic with its drawbridge and boats and famed “Mystic Pizza” . . . “a slice of heaven”.

Happiness is Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with places like Provincetown on its furthermost tip, bustling with excitement from of all kinds of people flooding its main street, and its beautiful sand dunes as you head out of town.

Front window of Provincetown Books

And East Dennis, Cape Cod, with its quiet, sleepy, beach that we had all to ourselves.

East Dennis beach

Happiness is spending time in Newport, Rhode Island, with all its boats, harbor, and history.

Harbor, Newport, Rhode Island

Happiness is Cape Ann, Massachusetts, with its small pocket communities on the water like Beverly, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport.

Rockport, Massachusetts

Happiness is the rocky shores of Maine, like around Kennebunkport, where time seems to slow to a crawl, and the evening’s lobster was caught earlier that day.

Kennebunkport, Maine shoreline

Happiness is having to return to Newport, Rhode Island for another night so that we can return our rental car and pick up a repaired Petey.

Happiness is a view of the ocean from our hotel room and the cool, fresh, breeze blowing in through open windows as we slept.

The biggest happiness of all is having done all this with my co-author, partner, and better half.

And happiness is returning home and going to my nearby lake to write this newsletter and realizing that I’m so lucky to be living exactly where I am.

May we all actively seek out our own happiness each day of our lives.

Quotes From the Happy Side

“Nobody’d have a rainbow if they didn’t have the rain.”
Jim Croce

“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.”
Mary Lou Retton

Song From the Happy Side

Tomorrow’s Gunna Be a Brighter Day, by Jim Croce


Alice and Alan

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