Giving Thanks

 

happy-thanksgivingLast week, I worked on my annual Thanksgiving newspaper column in which I express gratitude for small things that improve my life — duct tape, naps, peanut brittle and the death of girdles. As I generated ideas, chuckling at my wit, a question crept into my mind and interrupted my merriment: “Rather than trying to be a comedienne every year, why don’t I acknowledge the significant blessings that grace my life?”

In answer, important blessings worthy of sincere gratitude demanded my attention, and when I wrote about them, words of thanks flowed easily.

I’m grateful for autumn’s splendor when days of untrammeled sunshine softened by cool breezes make it impossible to stay indoors; when color-burnished leaves swirl around families readying for Halloween and Thanksgiving, crunch under the feet of walkers and wait in wind-drifts for the attention of children. A time when people of all ages pause, turn their faces to the sun, breathe deeply of the cinnamon-scented air and rejoice in this season that fills my heart with gratitude.

I’m thankful that through my increased online activity, I’ve re-introduced myself to my nieces and nephews. I let these precious people I knew as cuddly babies, delightful toddlers, inventive children and funny teenagers gradually withdraw from my life as they matured, moved away from my siblings’ homes, scattered across the country and became preoccupied with spouses and children of their own.

For years, I confused hearing about my nieces and nephews from their parents with learning about them through their words flavored by their personalities. But now, the youngsters who delighted me with their antics have returned as they interact with one another and me on Facebook or my blog: teasing, supporting, agreeing, disagreeing, and sharing. Occasionally, they address affectionate words and memories to me, and I feel the same rush of happiness I experienced when they were young and climbed on my lap or threw their arms around me.

I’m also grateful for the brothers and sisters who enrich my life. I used to feel alarmed when I thought about the years we had had accumulated and the inevitable outcome of having lived so many. Then I experienced the initial grief and lingering loneliness that accompanies the death of a brother and emerged thankful that my siblings and I walked life’s journey together, even as I missed Lawrence, who no longer walks with us.

Finally, I feel gratitude for the community in which I live. Every day the people of Craig bless me with smiles: the young boy walking to school who calls “Hi!” with a gap-toothed grin, the clerks and workers who glance up with a smile even at the end of a long day, the drivers who wave whether we’re acquainted or not; the parents who smile when I laugh at the cute actions of their little ones.

I know some of those who initiate a smile or return mine aren’t feeling well, are concerned about a child, are mourning a loved one, are feeling the pinch of our economic times, are lonely; yet they smile. Thus, I give thanks for them.

Happy Thanksgiving

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74 thoughts on “Giving Thanks

  1. I love this. Beautiful. ❤

    I'm grateful for living in a small town with gracious people, too. Yesterday my neighbor saw my car in front of my house — it's never there. She became concerned and phoned. I told her I was having problems with my garage roof and the insurance adjuster had been out to investigate. She asked what was wrong and I told her. Within minutes she and her husband were there with a ladder and he was on the roof checking it himself. What ensued was a dead branch breaking party in my driveway (me and my neighbor) and a roof cleaning orgy (her husband and a rake on top of the garage). He's 80. She's 75. He found the problem, determined that the roof itself is sound, told me what needed to be repaired. At the drop of a hat, they abandoned their morning to me.

    I know this is not a small-town thing exclusively; I experienced it when I lived in a bad neighborhood in San Diego. It seems to me to be the result of people understanding that they are all that stands between their community and something very bad. I'm happy to be in a place now where I see more of the good in people than the harried, indifference, the fear and paranoia of a big city, though.

    I'm grateful to be home.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Once again a thoughtful and honest piece of writing Janet. This is one USA tradition that I would be happy have in my country instead of some of the more commercial ones. To be able to take the time to gather as a family and give thanks for all the good things in our lives. Thanks for sharing this with us. 🌹😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to hear from you, Lynne. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and has been for many years. It’s a quite holiday that focuses on family, friendship, and the sharing of food with those we care about. What could be better? In recent years, however, the frenzy of Christmas is crowding in on this gentle holiday, which saddens me.

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  3. In these days of fear and bewilderment, (we even have had extra Coast Guard ships in the strait in case of fleeing American boat persons) I can read your words of gentle wisdom, and know all will keep turning, love will prevail. With Thanksgiving and the gift of memories- and humor above all, many thanks my dear.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The world will keep turning, Sheila, and I hope love and concern for each other will prevail. Thanksgiving does seem to calm the riled-up lot we Americans can be. We heard the rumor that the day after the election, the immigration information website of your government crashed from too much traffic. Any truth to that? I hope so, because it made me laugh when I heard it. thanks for telling me about the extra Coast Guard ships; that’s good for another giggle.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Janet,the crash was true. Out my door is a homeless camp,currently a movie is being filmed on Wharf, the fellows were given coffee shop gift cards to go away, they all got coffee and treats and went back. The film is about dogs, “Irish” asked why one of the dogs was wearing eye liner, and the cops were called.This be my neighbor hood, ever a guffaw.

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      • Not just one guffaw, many! Your stories delight me because they honor the contrary human spirit that resides in most of us, as in the homeless in your nearby camp and Irish. You have to admire their spunk.

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    • So many I know are still reeling from election eve, Diane. I went to my poetry group today and three of the five members had poems about their emotions and thoughts leading up to, on, and after election day. I was not among them, but I enjoyed and identified with their sometimes humorous and sometimes serious responses to the day.

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  4. Thank you for you wonderful ability to paint
    Beautiful pictures with just words. I have a
    Friend who is in her nineties who told me.
    “Any morning you wake up breathing and
    Not wearing a soaking wet diaper, is a day
    To be grateful and thankful you are still here,”
    I have been giving thanks every day because
    Life is gift in so many small and wonderful
    Ways. I am thankful to read your blog and
    Once again be reminded of the importance
    Of the kindness of friends and strangers.
    “Mahalo Nui, Nui!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate your kind words, Shawn. I think I would like your friend because I certainly enjoyed her down-to-earth comment. I, too, try to find reasons to rejoice in every day. Sometimes I fail miserably and snivel my way to bed, but most times there is at least one golden moment for me to appreciate. The last two nights it was the super moon. Did you chance to see it?

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  5. Janet, you’re such a wonderful writer of comedy and I always look forward to reading your witticisms. This “serious” post, however, was outstanding! I enjoyed every word.
    It just proves what I already knew about you—you’re a great writer. Period!

    Thanks for giving me more “food for thought” for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment pleased me and at the same time made me feel humble, Rita, coming as it did from a gifted photographer, traveler, and writer like you. I’m so glad I developed a cataract and we met!

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  6. Cinnamon-scented air is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I love this time of year, it gives me moments to slow down after the long summer push and still there is warmth from the sun and a glow to it all that I treasure. Thanksgiving, as you may already know, is my favorite holiday of the year. Getting an opportunity to reflect on the grateful big and little moments within a day, week, month, year hold me over through the dark winter.
    I admire your ability to strike a humorous tone and then with ease wander into poetic thought taking me along through your proud thoughtful relationship with your younger generation relatives. Always a pleasure to read your words, reflecting, entertaining, questioning, longing, admiring, all are worth my time to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carrie, I did know that you and I both consider Thanksgiving the best holiday of the year and that you share my love of autumn, which has been such a glorious season this year. Like you, I store up its warmth and colors to help me when winter turns too cold and threatening or lasts too long. Thank you for your kind words about my writing. Isn’t it nice that we enjoy one another’s efforts the way we do? Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

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    • I’m glad you noticed that I have been blessed with good company, Jeffrey, because my life has been enriched by those I mentioned. And I am not surprised that you, too, believe our lives are better when we appreciate what we have.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful piece, J…..This is not the piece that you and I discussed, yes? No? I know I’m getting forgetful in my old age, but this is totally something different. Do you write this one after our discussion??? Any way, as usual, I love it. I especially liked how you weaved your “new connections” with your nieces and nephews because of FB, etc, into the piece… nice…… Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, my friend. I AM THANKFUL FOR YOUR NEW FRIENDSHIP!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your memory is fine, Lucie. This one was approved by Joel, formatted and ready to go before our trip because I wasn’t sure how much writing time I’d have when we returned; so I sent you a piece I want to publish for Christmas. I, too, give thanks for the friendship and writing relationship we have developed. You enrich my life and strengthen my writing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That is such a special thing to tell me. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived next door to one another and could chat over the fence or while drinking coffee or sitting around in the evening looking at the stars and discussing anything we thought of?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I’d love that. You don’t happen to live in Greenwood, Louisiana, do you? Last week I was thrilled to be contacted by a follower who just happened to live down the street from me. We had coffe. It was thrilling.

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      • No, unfortunately I don’t, so I guess I’ll have to daydream about having you as a neighbor. How wonderful that a follower contacted you who lives down the street. Several people in Craig follow me because they built the habit of reading me in our local newspaper, so I know how rewarding it is to talk with those who enjoy your writing.

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  8. Delightful post Janet. I agree with you on being in contact with nieces, nephews, cousins, etc., through Facebook. It brings them back into my life and I truly appreciate their presence.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I wrote that bit, I thought about you and knew you enjoyed the same sort of social media relationship with the younger generations, Janice. Both your girls wished me happy birthday and mentioned that it would be nice to see one another. We’ll have to make that happen some way.

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  9. A beautiful list! My own small one this evening includes a sweet rescue dog lightly snoring at my feet after a long walk on the last warm day of autumn:). Blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving.

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  10. Hi Aunt Beulah
    Should we give thanks to Shawn and Lucie for pointing out that waking up without wet undies is something we must be truly grateful for…I did ponder a touch over that, are they speaking from experience? Eeeew!!!!!
    Crikey!!! I won’t be thankin’ anyone the day I start with that caper. Uggh!!!!!
    Ya gotta have a giggle, and it is guaranteed when you and Lucie and now Shawn’s clearly in on the act as well.
    Hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving Aunt Beulah
    I had a giggle too when you commented on being taught to keep your stories to 600 to700 words, I have written verbal diarrhea disease and struggle to keep my comments under 600 words let alone my stories…
    Another wonderful story Aunt Beulah, I can’t wait for you to post each month, that’s like someone else we know and love too.
    I give thanks that I have you and ( you know who ) to call my friends across the other side of the world
    Biggest hugs from
    Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Annie in Australia, no comment or post you write could ever be too long for me to enjoy. I start smiling when I see the notification that I’ve heard from you, laugh all the time I read your words, then going around smiling on the inside for quite some time. About the wet undies…oh my goodness! It put a new light on aging for sure. It must be hilarious when Lucie and Shawn are together; I can only imagine the fun it would be if you were in the mix as well. I am thankful that you are in this world and my friend, Annie. As the song says, “You are my sunshine… You make me happy when skies are blue.’ I think of you and pray for your wellness, Happy Thanksgiving
      Love, Janet
      in cold Colorado

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