May 12, 2021
A man discovered the true meaning of contentment and the value of a happy life in a tiny out-of-the-way fishing village.
Hank Landon was a rich man, but he wasn't exactly a happy man, and he couldn't for the life of him figure out why. His third marriage was on the rocks, his youngest children barely knew him, his oldest didn't want to know him.
So Hank told his business partners that he was going away to Capri with one of his latest flings, but instead, he got into his car and he drove south, aimlessly, looking for a signpost that would point him in the right direction.
Seven days into his aimless road trip, stopping off in one-horse-towns, sleeping in seedy motels, he crossed the border into Mexico. Twenty-four hours later he saw a signpost leading off into a secondary road indicating that "Felicidade" was 23 miles away.
"Felicidade, twenty-three miles away," said Hank to himself, "Twenty-three miles to Happiness! That's what I need." And Hank turned off and drove the twenty-three miles to a tiny fishing village that looked for all the world like a slice of heaven.
He stopped in front of a small bodega, walked in, and ordered a beer from the sweet-faced middle-aged woman behind the bar. Hank was sure it was the best beer he had ever tasted.
He smiled at the woman. "Buenos dias, Señora. Do you know if there is a motel or a guest house in town where I could stay for a few days?"
The woman smiled back. "We don't have a hotel or a guest house, but my son José rents out a small cottage on the beach to sports fishermen. I don't think he has guests."
Hank woke up feeling completely at peace with himself for the first time in his life.
Half an hour later, Hank was comfortable ensconced in a delightfully rustic cottage, driving another beer, watching the blue ocean cover the golden beach with a frill of foam.
That night, he walked into the village and had dinner in the bodega -- one of the best meals he's ever had. Afterward, Hank leaned back in his chair and listened as a group of locals played music together.
Children ran down the street, waving sparklers, chased by their anxious mothers and a mongrel puppy, barking excitedly. And through it all the men played joyfully, while the younger people danced.
Hank thought to himself: "This is what I want. This is what I need." and he walked over to José who was helping his mother behind the bar and made him an offer on his cottage.
The next morning Hank woke up feeling completely at peace with himself for the first time in his life. He sent his partners a message informing them that he was retiring, and another message to his wife, inviting her to Felicidade.
Then he took a long walk along the golden beach that ribboned out of sight into the misty horizon. He caught sight of a fisherman pulling in his boat and walked over.
The man, strong and handsome, was in his early twenties and looked friendly. He was unloading two huge yellow-finned that would bring in a hefty price in New York. "Good catch there!" Hank greeted the man.
The man turned and smiled. "Yes indeed, a good day's work!"
Hank glanced at his watch startled. "Day's work? You're finished for the day?"
"Yes," the man smiled, "My wife is waiting for me for lunch, my children will be getting home from school..."
"But man, if you put in 10 or 12 hours, you could quadruple your take. If you made a few contacts and sold your fish directly to restaurants in New York, you could fly your catch in and still make a huge profit!"
"Why would I do that?" asked the man puzzled.
"You'd make a fortune, and in ten or twelve years, you could retire to a nice out-of-the-way village, spend time with your wife, enjoy your children, make music with your friends, go fishing..."
Hank was stunned when the man answered: "But, Señor, that is the life I already have!"
Horrified Hank realized that he had spent his entire life in the mad pursuit of money, ruined his marriages, neglected his wife and children, and it hadn't brought him any peace or satisfaction.
The tranquil, contented man he'd presumed to advise already knew the secret that had escaped Hank his entire life. Hank discovered the secret to happiness in Felicidade, and when his wife arrived a few days later, he shared it with her.
Any resemblance in this story to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about a cheating husband who dared to bring his girlfriend into the house while his wife was asleep.