Wednesday, November 24, 2010

There is Plenty For Which to be Thankful

Suddenly it is Thanksgiving. How did that happen? It seems like yesterday we were dressing up in our Easter finest. The day before that I was perched on a ladder, taking down the Christmas lights and making a set of largely unfilled New Year's resolutions. Months fly by now. Middle-aged folks like me look up to find their middle daughter reminding you that she will turn 30 next year.

Whoa. Goose, as I nicknamed her as an infant, will hit three-oh next summer. I am officially and inexorably on the path to geezerdom. There are no grandchildren, nor none on the horizon, just a couple of granddogs whose company I enjoy. No hurry on the grandbaby gig, girls. I’m just sayin’ — as the young folks are fond of uttering.

It has been a topsy-turvy year. I joined many of you in the jobless ranks in late winter, for the first time in more than three decades. Luckily, that didn't last long. Soon I was headed to Kansas to run a family owned small-newspaper operation there. But being away from loved ones proved wrenching, so I jumped at the chance to come back to Texas. For that, I am truly thankful this season, indeed every day.

Even in the midst of my worries over jobs, separation from loved ones, what the future holds, all those niggles that awake me in the night, I have always held strong to a faith that things eventually turn out. Maybe they don’t turn out quite as we hoped or even prayed for, but even the thorniest of life’s calamities have a way of working themselves out. At least they have so far. Thus I remain truly thankful for the many blessings in my life, both large and small.

Here are just a few of the things for which I’m thankful. I hope you have a list as well, and that you share it with those you love — if not on Thanksgiving Day, then soon. Learning the art of being truly grateful for small acts of grace and beauty is a lesson hard-earned and worth holding onto, because it will help you get through those days when things seem to be falling apart. And we all have those days.

• Watching the sun rise over the roofline of the elementary school where my oldest daughter teaches, as I walk just a few blocks from the house I have leased. Lately, the awakening sky has put on quite a light show, iridescent streaks of orange and purple. I never imagined a few short months ago that I would end up working and living minutes away from family and friends.

I looked on my iPhone the other day to check the weather forecast for Kansas, from whence I escaped just more than a month ago. The low temperature today is predicted to be 14 degrees. That was a close shave. As one Texas friend put it upon learning I was returning, “Don’t you ever pull a stunt like that again, buster,” by trying to leave the state. I won’t.

• Still being blessed with great health at the double-nickel of years. I work at it with daily exercise and a fairly healthy diet, but I know much of it comes down to chance, or whatever one wishes to call it. I know, as we all do, that good health doesn’t last forever. But I’m deeply grateful for being able to jump up at 6 a.m. and walk three miles, hop on the Bow-Flex, and feel great with minimal aches and pains.

• Books and magazines, the vast universe that they open up to us. That T-shirt one sees in Book People in Austin and other bookstores — “So Many Books, So Little Time” — would not be a bad epitaph to put on the park bench I have instructed my Beautiful Mystery Companion to buy a plaque upon at Lady Bird Lake upon my passing. That’s as close to a tombstone as I want, with my ashes scattered to the winds along the shore. (That is probably illegal, so y’all watch out for the law.)

• Speaking of my BMC, I’m always thankful she decided to e-mail me nearly three years ago, after reading a column I wrote in another newspaper about unpacking my books. She suggested we have coffee because she thought we might become friends. That is my favorite column. Someday soon, we’ll be married.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you count your blessings, hold on to your friends and family, and extend a hand to someone less fortunate. See you next week.

Originally published in the Hill Country News, (Cedar Park, Texas), November 25, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment