Lesser Blessings

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One year during Thanksgiving dinner, between the blessing on the food and the passing of the turkey, Mom asked us to express gratitude: “Mention something meaningful,” she said with a stern look at Dad, “Don’t talk about pumpkin pie or being grateful your belt expands.”

We started strong. We talked about good health, our grandparents, and Lawrence home from Korea; then Blaine piped up: “At this moment, I’m most thankful I didn’t have to sit by JL.”

In memory of Blaine’s mettle, I’ve devoted this column to an appreciation of my lesser blessings:

I’m thankful I no longer wear pantyhose. In my twenties I endured run-prone nylons held up by the garters of a girdle so tight it discouraged breathing. For the next several decades I waddled around with the waistband of poorly fit pantyhose bisecting my hips. When I tried elastic-topped thigh-highs, they lost their grip, slipped, and bunched attractively around my ankles. Happiness is retirement and wool socks.

Next, I’m glad to see cursive writing go the way of the Edsel. I used to ponder the alphabet charts demonstrating perfect cursive formation that marched around my grade-school classrooms; and I practiced their outlined moves diligently during daily handwriting drills—parades of capital Q’s that wobbled and grew increasingly misshapen. But I never mastered the proportions, loops, and slants necessary to earn a penmanship star. Computers saved me. Since their advent, I rarely have to clutch a pen in a thumb-numbing grip to scratch out text I can’t decipher two minutes later.

I’m also thankful for the many napping experiences of my past: marvelous minutes stretching out in a recliner, curling up on a couch, squashing my face against a car window, or bobbing my head about in an airplane. I’m no longer able to casually drift into a nap, so such memories are precious. These days, when I grow drowsy after lunch and lie down for a snooze, I twitch with anxiety until I force myself to leap up and dash about doing something — anything— because I know if I give in, I’ll be up at night, ranting about my inability to sleep.

Coffee deserves my gratitude. No matter what time I get out of bed, it’s too early. I breathe a sigh of relief when I manage to force my feet to the floor, because I know I’ve accomplished the most difficult task I’ll face all day. Such courage should be rewarded by fifteen to thirty minutes of silent staring, but Joel, a chirping morning lark, doesn’t get it. Coffee helps.

Finally, I’m thankful for a plucky rose we inherited when we bought our house. We’ve transplanted it numerous times, and each time we do, it rallies to produce a single bud that is destroyed by deer looking for a snack before it blooms. The next year, it tries again.

Each spring, I watch for life in this rose, and my heart sings when I see it.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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18 thoughts on “Lesser Blessings

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Aunt Janet! The memories you mention and the stories you tell, have made me very grateful for the family I have and love. I can imagine Blaine making that blessed announcement on Thanksgiving so long ago and can envision the “look” Grandma gave Grandpa too 🙂

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  2. Janet I love the way you express yourself. I’m sitting here smiling and appreciating every word you’ve typed as I can associate with all of your ‘lesser blessings.’ ❤

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  3. Lovely post Janet, Happy Thanksgiving, which is really the only holiday I celebrate, and with American friends get to do twice. After our dad died, Ma sold off the cows, equipment, boat, front porch, (yes we came home from school and it was gone) She sat us down, aged 6, 7 and 4, said she had paid off the house, “No matter what happens”, said Ma, we will never be turned out” To this day, when I get home on a wet, stormy night like this, I give thanks for my home, and NEVER having to ever wear panrty-hose.

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    • Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Good food and family is so much easier and fulfilling than all the hijinks that accompany other festive days. What a lovely anecdote with, of course, your trademark humor with the missing front porch. I, too, am prone to giving thanks for my home. Happy Thanksgiving twice, Sheila.

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