One thing I have been thinking about while jogging through my town is the vision I’ve had since a kid of what it means to live “the good life”. That mental picture is of a two-story log home nestled in the woods. The house has a big front porch and is protected by a fence in the back. However, the house is not so far away from civilization that one can’t pop over to a coffee shop or get your daughter to school relatively fast.
When I was younger this home appeared a few times in my dreams. There, I shared a room with my younger brother. We had bunk beds. They were also constructed of logs. The room was big. There was only a lamp or two, so it was rather dark and moody. It was just the way I liked it. In my dream, it was seemingly always a Friday night, as my family was carefree and excited about ordering pizza to eat together as we gathered around to listen to the hip music of the day or watch a film on the TV. My family wasn’t concerned about the chores of the next day and everyone was living in the moment.
It was straight out of the movie “E.T.” where Elliott and his family had ordered pizza on a foggy fall night just before discovering an alien in his closet. (I’m assuming watching “E.T.” influenced some of my “good life” dreams.) I have always been influenced greatly by contemporary pop culture and that from my youth, so I’m not surprised at all about the Speilberg reference.
I’ve always been intrigued by why a log home was so important to my dreams of a “good life.” I get the forest being there. I love being in them. I think, again, this has to do with a mixture of pop culture and an apparently fateful trip to a furniture store. The log cabin is Lincoln Americana. I also connect it to Western expansion. I saw “Little House on the Prairie” nearly every weekend growing up, watched Westerns with my Grandpa when he came to visit, and later in my teens loved to watch “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” at my mom’s. That Western motif or ideal seemingly became embedded in my aesthetic back then.
Later in life when I discovered “Firefly,” (a Western Sci-Fi) I imagined Nathan Fillion who played the Captain of Serenity Malcolm Reynolds living in a similar home out in Wyoming somewhere. In reality that’s probably a different smuggler Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford.
There was also the trip my family took to a furniture store to look for a bed and dresser for my brother and me after we moved to a bigger house when I was in first grade. I remember vividly looking at a bunk bed made of logs. Since my brother and I were to have separate rooms, a bunk bed wasn’t necessary. However, that style of bed stuck with me. Prior to the move my family made, I did indeed sleep in a bunk bed with my brother. I suppose I didn’t want that to change and cemented that bed in my mind as part of the “good life.”
A third aspect of unpacking this dream is to understand why it felt like a Friday. As a kid, with two siblings, we hung out together every night. We all had friends but didn’t really go out even when we could drive. I know a bunch of my friends did go out to see each other or a movie on Fridays. In high school, I knew that was happening without me every weekend. Ordering pizza and getting ready to do “something” was the anticipation for some fulfilling fun possibly at home or at a party with friends. It was definitely a goal of mine to live like a normal teenager and hang with or have friends over on a Friday night. That was my “good life” as a kid.