Photo credit: Emily Dueker (2008)
So much we take for granted.
A few weeks ago, a woman complained in a letter to the editor of our weekly suburban newspaper that a local gas station attendant had been rude to her. The employee's "insulting" behavior included what I interpreted to be an attempt at humor. Whatever. The slight didn't include theft, or physical threat or injury. Merely a comment that she didn't appreciate.
My first thought on reading the letter was: This woman has lived a very sheltered and privileged life. If an offhand comment by a gas station attendant warrants a letter to the editor, then I can only assume that the woman has never experienced the death or serious illness of a loved one, she has never faced a potential life-altering illness or injury herself. She must always have had a safe and secure home, not to mention comfortable income. She's never survived a natural disaster. Never been robbed or accosted. You get the gist of my thoughts.
Basically...this woman must be extremely fortunate if a perceived slight from a gas station attendant is worth a scathing letter to the editor. The writer had no appreciation of how good she's had it!
So at this time of year I, like so many others, assess the things for which I am appreciative.
I am thankful that my mother is still with us. She turned 87 this year and had some health setbacks after taking three spills this summer. I am thankful that she broke no bones as a result of her falls. She has slowed down somewhat and is now on supplemental oxygen 24/7 -- but she still sews (a lifelong interest), does light housework, and balances her checkbook.
I am thankful for my good health (aided and abetted by Dr. Cindy and Dr. Stan). I'm experiencing a few initial "aging" issues, but otherwise doing pretty darned good (aside from a metabolism at a dead halt).
I am thankful for our house. It is the nicest place I have ever lived and I confess that for the first few years I felt awkward and undeserving residing in such (to me) plush surroundings. Obviously, I lack a sense of Entitlement. I could use use a little more. Not so much as to be as obnoxious as some I observe, but enough to make me stand up for what I truly deserve. I'm getting better as I accumulate experience and a wee bit of chutzpah.
I'm thankful for some family members. Come on! Confess. Some of our relatives are real pains. I'm thankful that not many of my blood relations plague me, and that I have (and have had) some real gems.
I am thankful for the friends I've made over the years. At school, work, the barn, and elsewhere. I may not remain in contact with many of them, but they've all touched me in some manner and made me a better person in many ways.
I am thankful for the fur people in my life, past and present. An infinitely patient childhood dog, a first horse who gave me wings, and other fur people who have loved me despite my many shortcomings.
I am thankful that I live in a country and an era where and when an unmarried woman is free to hold a full time job and live independently. I may vote, I may own property, I may sign a contract in my own right. Women gave their lives in this very country to guarantee me these rights.
And I am thankful for polyester fleece, seam-sealed waterproof outerwear, German chocolate cake, Norman Rockwell, Jane Austen, television and video entertainment (tapes, dvds, and whatever comes next), Oregon (the dream and the reality), the main branch Multnomah County Library, and much too much to list here.