Thirty Things I’m Thankful For

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One of the Facebook diversions floating around lately is “30 Things
For Which You Are Thankful.” Being grateful for one’s blessings is critical to happiness, so I am happy to provide my own modest list. Just don’t ask me to join Farmville or any of those other silly FB games. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, in this case ignorance is, if not bliss, at least the wiser route.) So here goes.
I am thankful for:

• My bride of five-and-a-half months, Julie, newest daughter Abbie, and my two “grown” daughters, Kasey and Mere. I am constantly astounded that these four really smart, beautiful females put up with my ways — at least most of the time. They always give me joy and love, and I would be lost without them. Talk about blessings.

• The family I joined when marrying my Beautiful Mystery Companion on a warm June afternoon out in the East Texas countryside. Recently, they have experienced great loss with the death of one of the clan, 20-year-old Cody Norris, while serving our country in Afghanistan. The service in La Porte, southeast of Houston, three days before Thanksgiving was both heart-wrenching and uplifting, the support from the community amazing. Still, tough times remain in those quiet days when the hubbub has ended, the flowers faded, the embraces fewer and far between.

• That I was able to be at my mother’s side, along with my brother Gregg and daughter Mere, when she passed away in mid-May. I did not want her to go out of this world alone, and will forever be grateful that we could all get there from out-of-town and ease her passing. I miss her.

• My faith, a terrific pastor, a friendly church, and a peace about what happens next, whatever it might be. I guess part of finally growing up is learning to ride that roller coaster. Most days, I’m good with that.

• Good health, few aches and pains, and the ability to walk three miles daily. You quit taking such things for granted as one ages.

• That I have a dog. Well, technically my BMC has the dog since we still have a commuter marriage. But Rosie the Wonder Dog loves me as unconditionally as the rest of the peeps. Sometime soon, I will tell you the story of how this little dog vanished for two weeks, and the adventures she faced until we got her back. I forgot how much joy a little creature can bring to a family. Rosie is a fine little dog and a leading candidate for Cutest Dog in the Universe. Just saying.

OK, gonna start devolving into the less weighty. Fair warning as to what else I am grateful for:

• The Republican presidential debates. These have provided considerable entertainment and an excuse, besides football, to keep up my cable subscription. I was an eyewitness to Rick Perry’s forgetting that third federal agency he wants to eliminate. It is the first time I have felt sorry for the man. I watched yet another debate two nights before Thanksgiving. Bless their hearts. That’s all I have to say.

• There won’t be any Democratic primary debates. Whew.

• Rain. We haven’t had nearly enough, but at least the skies have opened a bit.

• I have gotten old and hardened enough to not mourn more than five minutes if UT loses a football game. I have bigger fish to fry.

• The ubiquitous presence of excellent breakfast tacos in Austin and in my alternate domicile, East Texas. I will not prejudice you by naming favorites, because new ones pop up constantly in both locales. The rise of breakfast tacos in popularity provides me hope that Western Civilization indeed will survive. But that’s just me.

• Affordable GPS devices. Man, talk about saving this middle-aged
soul some angst. I’m thinking this is the wisest $100 I ever spent.

• That I watched in person as the Boston Red Sox won Game One of the 2007 World Series. The ticket was expensive, but the way last season ended, I might be pushing 80 before they’re back in it. Besides, now it’s off the bucket list.

• Wolf Brand turkey chili.

• Satellite radio, even though I only listen to about three of the
gazillion choices.

• The Geico commercials. They make me laugh.

• None of my children turned out to be Aggies. At least not yet. (Kidding. I couldn’t care less.)

• Summer has finally left Texas.

• Owning more books than I could ever hope to read before dying.

• People with a sense of humor, like the anonymous soul who added an extra letter with duct tape to a sign I saw: It then read: Futility
Work Ahead. We can all relate.

• I can still do math in my head.

• Fried okra from Chicken Express. It’s the best in the nation. We
get the okra and skip the chicken.

• Clint Eastwood.

• Dolly Parton.

• Gimme caps that effectively hide my receding hairline and bald spot.

• Not having to wear a necktie every day.

• Never having had the urge to wear a bowtie. I’m not dexterous enough to tie one properly.

• Plumbers. I’m dangerous with a pipe wrench.

• Automatic transmissions. I am over my love affair with stick shifts.

• Comfortable shoes.

Finally, and seriously, I’m thankful for those who take the time to read these modest offerings and send comments, critiques and kudos. Thank you, and God bless.


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