Edward_Pratt

For a minute, think double-chocolaty-chip crème frappuccino. Why? That will be explained as you read on.

I have a co-worker who has this response whenever he is asked, “How ya doing?” “I’m living the dream,” says the man from a little north Louisiana town called Rayville, by way of Pineville, by way of Vietnam.

Occasionally, when he asks me “How are ya today?” I laugh and say, “I’m living the dream.” We both get a kick out of my response.

I asked him where he gets that phrase. He said it was a comment uttered by actor Will Ferrell in the 2005 movie “Wedding Crashers.” I never saw the movie.

With all the hellish national politics pounding us like a daily rainstorm, and all of the other trash, I am truly “living the dream.”

No, I don’t have a multi-generational-affecting bazillion-dollar professional sports contract, nor do I own a business that brings in zillions of dollars, and Lord knows I didn’t inherit wealth. I don’t have a job that pays me hundreds of thousands of dollars. (I surely would accept one, though.)

But dude, I know I’m living the dream. How do I know?

I see it every day when I sit in my den. It’s pretty good size den but by no means a showcase in breadth. But, upon further review, I think my den would swallow the first three-room shotgun house I lived in.

There would still be room for the round aluminum tub to bathe in and the slop jar on the side of my grandmother’s bed. (For those that don’t know, you can Google the purpose of a slop jar.) Think tall bed pan but on the floor. Hopefully, I will never have to dump another slop jar.

All of that aside, what drove me to this epiphany were recent stops at a couple of Baton Rouge coffee shops. There were things on the menu like panini, smoked bacon, avocado spread, sous vide egg bites, mochasippi, and yes, a double-chocolaty-chip crème frappuccino.

Generally, I order the dark roast of something.

Where I grew up, the staples were eggs, bacon, grits, cornbread, mustard greens, red beans, rice, seven steaks, chicken, pork chops, chitterlings (chitlins, thank you) and beef when you could get it.

Also given that past, I can now not only eat and drink anything I want, I can, if I choose, have a suit, a shirt, shoes or pants that have not been worn by someone else.

I am not special in this change of life story. Not in the least bit. There are millions before me who have done the same thing and they should all be proud of what they have done. But there is something else that comes along with that.

Whenever folks like me get a chance, we should try to help someone else feel the warm light of “living the dream.” Give them guidance. Share whatever financial or items of need when and if you can.

It can be a meal. It can be clothes. It can be kind words. It can be a ride. It can be a bag of groceries. It can be a frappuccino.

Later today, a group of my high school classmates will be over at my house. I hope it doesn’t rain. Most of them are reflections of those struggle times so long ago. We will be playing cards, dominoes, watching football games, reflecting, lying about stuff and having a good time.

Interestingly enough, this gathering was actually called for by my wife to get a group to play her fav card game, Pokeno. She is the daughter of sharecroppers so I’m certain she knows more about cornbread than panini, too.

There are no panini on today’s menu. No Gouda. No smoked bacon. Whatever sous vide egg bites are, I can guarantee that’s not even a thought.

As for chocolaty-chip crème frappuccino, no one better mention or bring that.

Even without that stuff, given the starting point of most of the folks at today's gathering, we’re living the dream, definitely.

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly column for this newspaper, at epratt1972@yahoo.com.

Ed Pratt: My grandmother's rebellion, in a walk in downtown Baton Rouge