It is one of the two handmade Leon cigars my wife got me for Christmas.
It is an ice cold bottle of Pabst from the landmark Galco’s in Highland Park, the wonderful beverage repository I’ve been to only a woeful three times in my life; twice in the past week.
It is a break taken in one of the adirondack chairs stationed atop the loose brick patio — mossy and damp from the rains — that I crudely fashioned a couple years ago at the northeast corner of the backyard from some of the bricks that made up the 102-year-old house’s original 102-year-old foundation.
It is the aftermath of my victorious weekly war, and I survey the backyard battlefield raked and swept mostly clear of the fallen foliage dropped to the residual muck by gravity and quantified by the Christmas storm and subsequent winds.
It is an almost summer-like experience in shorts and a tee with the tinkling music of an ice cream truck heard somewhere not too far away, the sun shining over blue skies, and the 70-degree temps a welcome warm respite from the chilled days past.
It is the dog coming out with its ball to play.
It is my wife coming out to tell me she is going to the market.
It is the cigar smoke wafting into the sunbeams.
It is the leaves rustling in the breeze; none fall before me.
It is the gulls high in the sky flying back toward the sea.
It is my reward.
It is my heaven.