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Old Person Bingo

BINGO!  It’s easy to cover the Bingo squares under O.  Concerned about fiber. Living room furniture all matches. Excited about Farmers Markets.  Have a kid older than 10.  Increased the font size on your phone. 

            This is a unique Bingo card that doesn’t have numbers; it has phrases. I only have one card which is really a birthday card that I’ve kept beside my writing calendar since July.  Every time I glance at it, I smile.  OLD PERSON BINGO (yes, in all caps) is written at the top on the front.

            If you have Medicare or receive Social Security, you could easily win prizes playing OLD PERSON BINGO, but younger people probably won’t like the game.  Look at the five spaces I covered under O.  Why would anyone not have matching living room furniture? My matching red wing-back chairs are perfect, and the fiber I’m concerned about has nothing to do with the fiber content covering those two chairs.

            Doesn’t everyone increase the font size on mobile phones?  (As I wrote mobile phone, I laughed at myself.  Only an old person who has a land line phone would write mobile.)   Have a kid over 10?  How about five Grands over 10!  And if you’ve ever read columns I’ve written during peak summer harvest season, you know I’m excited about our local Farmers Market.  

            Playing OLD PERSON BINGO, I can win across rows, down columns, and diagonally and I bet many of you could, too.  Wear clothing with additional support.  Does that include those elastic tummy control panels?  Can’t find your keys.  Found grey hairs.  Why do some things disappear and others glare?

            Think dinner at 4 PM sounds pretty good. Think 11 PM is late.  I can’t cover the dinner at 4 space, but everyone knows when both clock hands near 12, it’s late.  (Another old person thinking; I thought of an analog clock, not a digital one.)

            Enjoy jazz.  Don’t recognize any popular music.  Not only do I not recognize popular music, I can’t understand the words.

            Still uses Facebook.  Fan of historical dramas.  Get annoyed about remake of movies.  Worried about the economy.  Have considered moving to Florida. Have a 401K.  Feel stiff for no reason.  Have your own garden.  How many of those spaces can you cover?

            Have said the phrase, “Kids these days…”  Have said, “Ooh, a cheese plate!” in a restaurant.  Oh, the things I’ve said and wished I hadn’t. 

            Maybe my friends and I can create more OLD PERSON BINGO cards and add more phrases.  Doctors are listed among contact favorites.  Ate TV dinners on a metal tray. An exciting evening is watching basketball games on TV.  Do banking in person.  Pay bills by check.  Look forward to mail delivery. Wore plastic bread bags as boots to play in snow. Rereads birthday cards.             Playing OLD PERSON BINGO will be fun and prizes won’t be needed.  Laughing and being with like-minded friends – those are real prizes.

A Letter to 2022

Dear 2022,

            Welcome.  Come in, take your coat off, and stay a while.  I’ve been expecting you and hope you come bearing gifts.

            Your recent predecessors, 2020 and 2021, gave moments – sometimes days, weeks, and months – that I want to forget.  Times that my friends and I never want to visit again. So, 2022, you can do almost nothing and be remembered kindly, but allow me to share a few words that I’ve heard would be welcomed during the next twelve months.

            Compassion

            Common Sense

            Cooperation

            Consideration

            Childlike

            Mark Twain said, “Compassion is language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  It’s concern for other people’s misfortune and suffering.  People don’t share the same experiences, the same mishaps, the same problems, but everyone can show compassion.  Standing beside those who hurt shows concern and mercy.  Suffering is part of life and can’t be avoided, but compassion fosters healing.

            Would you please bring cooperation?  The process where people work together to reach a common goal.  Sport teams are an example.  When a volleyball team wins a match, all six players are credited.  Blockers stop the ball at the net.  Other players ‘dig’ the ball off the ground, and the setter and hitter work together to return the ball into the opponents’ court.  Cooperation requires teamwork and compromise and combined efforts. 

            Now, about common sense.  Some people call it ‘horse sense’ because even a horse has enough sense to return to the safety of the barn. My grandfather, Papa, practiced common sense.  With a limited education, he looked at the facts, surveyed possibilities, allowed for exceptions, and made decisions based on past experiences and what was available at the moment.  And then he lived with the outcome.  Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as writing, “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”  That was Papa.

            Consideration is simply being nice, being kind.  It’s what was learned while sitting on the floor in Sunday School class: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Consideration is a choice, an opportunity to show respect. It’s the good manners that mothers around the world preach to their children, especially as they go out the backdoor to play with friends and siblings or go to school. 

            A few doses of childlike would be welcomed gifts.  Adults could uncover the good of being a child, leaving the not-so-good covered. Young children enjoy life at its simplest.  The wonder of an ant carrying a crumb.  Splashing in a puddle of water.  Walking in the rain.  Amazed by a shooting star and the colors of rainbows.  Stacking blocks just for the fun of knocking them down. Could you bring the joys of everyday life?

            So dear friend, 2022, share your best and be remembered kindly. With these gifts, maybe each person will be remembered kindly also.             

P.S.  This writing is a bit late because last week I enjoyed a heavy dose of childlike when Tennessee was blanketed with snow and I forgot to mail this letter.

Some Things Don’t Wait

Monday, January 3, 2022.  Chores and tasks lay ahead.  Laundry.  Respond to emails.  Make plans for a club meeting.  Submit a column to the newspaper. 

            The column, a letter addressed to 2022, was written and ready for one more read-aloud. Then Husband’s edits:  insert words I omitted or maybe add an s to a word I meant to write plural.

            But Mother Nature gave us snow and Monday tasks and that column, fell to the wayside. I sat where I begin most days to drink coffee, list blessings, read a devotion, write notes, and watch a few birds.  But Monday, I munched on grapes and drank coffee and stared outside for a long time.

            Except for driveways and streets, everything was white – clean, brilliant, beautiful.  Every branch, every twig, were laden with snow and many more birds came to our birdfeeder that is about 18” from my window. 

            Brown house finches ate quickly and flew.  A downy woodpecker pecked into an open feeder hole as he would into a dead tree.  A red Northern cardinal perched, but didn’t eat until a female cardinal sat beside him.  Both held seeds in their beaks and turned their heads side to side before flying away. 

            A Carolina chickadee, smaller than the other birds, perched at the feeder’s top as if claiming ownership before he chose a perch and stayed a while.  A tufted titmouse joined the chickadee, not giving up his perch quickly.

            I didn’t immediately identify several birds about the size of house finches.  Their dark charcoal -colored backs and tailfeathers set off their white bellies and orange beaks.  Looking through my bird field guide, I found the junco, a sparrow that winters in the southeastern states.  And I found a date I’d written when I’d spotted juncos another time: February, 2021.

            Doves strutted slowly on the ground and picked up seeds that had been dropped by other birds.   I admired their patience.

            Then I learned my Grands across town were playing outside. “I’m coming over,” I texted Daughter.  She responded, “Come quickly. After two hours outside, it’s almost time for hot chocolate.”

            “Want to ride down the hill, Gran?” Lucy asked.  While I considered how steep the hill was and the many trees, my Grand jumped onto her sled and flew down the hill.  I didn’t sled or roll like a log down the hill or throw fistfuls of snow down anyone’s coat, but I did make the biggest snow angel and stomp a giant S while my Grand stomped all the letters to spell her name.

            I lost miserably playing a game of UNO that went on and on because nobody, my four Grands nor I, wanted it to end.  What’s better than sitting inside a warm house, wrapped in a blanket, and drinking hot chocolate after playing outside on winter’s first snow day?

            Chores and tasks wait.  Playing with Grands and watching birds do not.   

            And that previously written column?  Maybe it’ll keep until next week.

What If?

I’m caught again.  Caught between Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I want to hang on to Christmas and I look forward to a new year, a new beginning. Between Christmas and 2022, my thoughts are mish-mashed and tangled.  It’s difficult to separate my writing notes to remember Christmas from my notes to move forward.  I’d like to write about both, but for now I’m storing 2022 thoughts.

            I wish the spirits and events of Christmas would stay with us.  Kindness. Worship. Smiles. Generosity.  Gathering with family and friends. 

            Husband and I stood at the back of our church sanctuary on Christmas Eve night and searched for a place to sit.  Our ‘regular’ seats were taken and most pews were filled so we gladly sat wherever there were empty seats.  People, most we didn’t know and who probably didn’t know each other, sat shoulder to shoulder. 

            When a man stood at the end of a pew, people moved a bit closer to make room for one more.  A group of twenty-something year-olds sat side-ways, arms across the back of the church pew to offer seats to others.

            During Sunday church services Ken and Cindy sit with friends, but Christmas Eve they were flanked by their three sons, daughters-in-law, and two toddler grandchildren – all who had travelled hours to be together.  On some pews, college students, home for a short time, sat between parents and grandparents. 

            Scripture was read; Christmas carolswere sung.  There were shepherds abiding. An angel appeared.  Born this night in Bethlehem, the city of David, Christ the Lord.  Joy to the World.  Mary, Did You Know?  Oh, Holy Night.  Silent Night.   

            As the service ended, the flame from the Christ candle was passed from candle to candle until every candle, one held by every person, was lit. When I touched my unlit candle to the flame of the candle held by a friend beside me, he and I connected.  Connected by the light of Christmas.   

            Although I don’t like to shop, I purposedly shop just a few days before Christmas.  My young Grands wanted to buy gifts last week, and I gladly took them.  We walked past half-stocked shelves and wove among many shoppers and dodged fast-moving shopping carts, but most everyone was joyful.  Sales clerks offered help and bid us “Merry Christmas.” 

            While my two Grands and I stood in a self-checkout line, I saw a man turn to two boys, young teen-agers who I assumed were his sons, and say, “It’s a long line, but everyone looks happy.”  Indeed, shopping on December 23 is a happier experience than the 23rd day of other months.  We shoppers purchased gifts to make someone else happy.

            Can we keep Christmas?  What if we always made room for one more person?  Through the long nights of winter, what if candles glowed in the windows of our homes? 

            What if we always shopped to make others happy?    

When the calendar reads 2022, what if we held onto the spirit of Christmas?

Laugh Now and Treasure Later

School’s out so take a kid for a car ride.  While raising Daughter and Son, I learned that children talk when confined to a small space and with few distractions, and now I get to ride with our Grands.

            Husband and I took two Grands home from our house recently.  Seven-year-old Micah asked his sister, “Lucy, what’s that thing you got?”

            Lucy, age 10, held it out for him to see.  “It’s an orange with cloves stuck in it. It smells really good. Gran said Mom made them when she was a kid.”

            “What’s it for?”

            “To smell good and to give to Mom.”

             “Why’s that ribbon on it?”

            It was my turn. “It’s called a pomander.  A long time ago, people made pomanders and hung them on their Christmas trees as ornaments so we tied a ribbon around Lucy’s so your mom can hang it on your tree.  And pomanders are supposed to bring good health and luck.”

            “What’s luck?” asked Micah.

            “When good things happen,” said Lucy.

            “Like what?”

            “Micah, you know what good things are.”

            It was Husband’s turn.  “When something good happens that you don’t expect to happen, that’s luck.  If I walked on a sidewalk and saw a dollar bill and it didn’t belong to anyone, I’d be lucky.”

            For a minute or two no one said anything, I watched Micah look out the car window and then he said, “So, if I hold that thing Lucy’s got, I’ll find a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk and I can to keep it?”

            Not exactly, but my Grand is close to understanding luck. 

             Last week, Micah and I were going to Ralph’s for a Friday morning donut.  While waiting at a traffic light, Micah counted cars aloud. “One, two, three, four.”  Then in a loud, excited voice he said, “Gran! Did you see that?”

            “What?” I asked.

            “That Lamborghini!  A grandma was driving a Lamborghini!”

            “Really? Are you sure?”                               

            “Yes, really!”  Micah nodded emphatically. 

            “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grandma drive a Lamborghini. That’s strange.”

            Micah agreed.  “Me either. That’s really, really strange.” Then he stared out the window, slowly shook his head side-to-side, and whispered, “A grandma driving a Lamborghini.”

            I never doubt my Grand’s identification of the make of any car, and his wonderment of something he’d never seen ended our conversation. 

            Several years ago, a Grand said something that has stuck with me.  We were stopped at a traffic light near our county courthouse.  “That’s the way Yoda (a Star Wars character) would say it.”  I asked, “Say what?” 
            “In God we trust.  It’s on the top of that building.  I guess everybody understands, but most people would say we trust in God.”  My Grand’s observation led to a discussion about trusting God. I’m thankful for that memory.             Take children for car rides or find time to talk with only them, they’ll say things that will make you laugh now and you’ll treasure later.  Time together may be your best Christmas gift.

Laugh Now and Treasure Later

School’s out so take a kid for a car ride.  While raising Daughter and Son, I learned that children talk when confined to a small space and with few distractions, and now I get to ride with our Grands.

            Husband and I took two Grands home from our house recently.  Seven-year-old Micah asked his sister, “Lucy, what’s that thing you got?”

            Lucy, age 10, held it out for him to see.  “It’s an orange with cloves stuck in it. It smells really good. Gran said Mom made them when she was a kid.”

            “What’s it for?”

            “To smell good and to give to Mom.”

             “Why’s that ribbon on it?”

            It was my turn. “It’s called a pomander.  A long time ago, people made pomanders and hung them on their Christmas trees as ornaments so we tied a ribbon around Lucy’s so your mom can hang it on your tree.  And pomanders are supposed to bring good health and luck.”

            “What’s luck?” asked Micah.

            “When good things happen,” said Lucy.

            “Like what?”

            “Micah, you know what good things are.”

            It was Husband’s turn.  “When something good happens that you don’t expect to happen, that’s luck.  If I walked on a sidewalk and saw a dollar bill and it didn’t belong to anyone, I’d be lucky.”

            For a minute or two no one said anything, I watched Micah look out the car window and then he said, “So, if I hold that thing Lucy’s got, I’ll find a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk and I can to keep it?”

            Not exactly, but my Grand is close to understanding luck. 

             Last week, Micah and I were going to Ralph’s for a Friday morning donut.  While waiting at a traffic light, Micah counted cars aloud. “One, two, three, four.”  Then in a loud, excited voice he said, “Gran! Did you see that?”

            “What?” I asked.

            “That Lamborghini!  A grandma was driving a Lamborghini!”

            “Really? Are you sure?”                               

            “Yes, really!”  Micah nodded emphatically. 

            “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a grandma drive a Lamborghini. That’s strange.”

            Micah agreed.  “Me either. That’s really, really strange.” Then he stared out the window, slowly shook his head side-to-side, and whispered, “A grandma driving a Lamborghini.”

            I never doubt my Grand’s identification of the make of any car, and his wonderment of something he’d never seen ended our conversation. 

            Several years ago, a Grand said something that has stuck with me.  We were stopped at a traffic light near our county courthouse.  “That’s the way Yoda (a Star Wars character) would say it.”  I asked, “Say what?” 
            “In God we trust.  It’s on the top of that building.  I guess everybody understands, but most people would say we trust in God.”  My Grand’s observation led to a discussion about trusting God. I’m thankful for that memory.             Take children for car rides or find time to talk with only them, they’ll say things that will make you laugh now and you’ll treasure later.  Time together may be your best Christmas gift.

A Gift that Anyone Can Give

We’re all searching for perfect gifts, Christmas Wish List gifts and surprise gifts. 

            Are all gifts wrapped in green paper and tied with red ribbons?  Are all gifts bought?  Are all gifts something to hold or build or wear or eat?  Certainly not. I’m reminded of this when I read, for the umpteenth thousand time, the words on a sheet of yellowed paper. The paper that was taped to the inside of Mom’s kitchen cabinet, and I’ve had it on my desk for thirty years.

A Gift that Anyone Can Give……..A Smile

It costs nothing, but saves much. 

It enriches those who receive it, without impoverishing those who give. 

It happens in a flash, and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it; none so poor that he is not enriched by it. 

It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friends. 

It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sick, and nature’s best antidote for trouble. 

It cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is no earthly good to anyone until it is given away. 

If you meet someone too burdened with grief or worry to smile, just give him one of yours.

For nobody needs a smile so much as he who has none left to give.

Anonymous Author

            I wish I knew the author of these words.  I’ve searched online and found many similar writings, but none exactly like the one Mom saved.

            I wish I knew from what booklet or yearbook Mom cut out this writing.  It was printed during the days of mimeograph machines, and the right top corner of the page has the number 13.  The paper is fragile. The message is strong and timeless.

            Perhaps no one needs a smile as much as those who work in the service industry, especially now.  They are expected to serve graciously, yet may not be greeted with smiles and appreciation.  Last week I watched a postal worker interact with three people.  She didn’t smile, but didn’t frown.  She did her job.  She took payment, put stamps on boxes, and stacked the boxes onto a big metal cart.

            Thinking of Mom’s clipped writing, I imagined she was weary at 4:00 on a Monday afternoon.  “You are working so hard and being so kind,” I said and I smiled as I handed her an envelope.  “I’m trying,” she said.  We chatted as she looked up how much postage is needed on a Christmas card going out of the country, put a stamp on the envelope, and took my money.

            Before I walked away, I smiled my biggest and wished her a happy rest of the day. She put both her hands on the post office counter, smiled, and said, “Thanks, I’ll keep trying.”             Her smile and positive attitude have stayed with me.  I appreciate her gift. 

Christmas Wish Lists and Shopping

When I was a kid and the Sears Roebuck Christmas catalog arrived in the mail, I took it to my bedroom.  I folded down page corners and circled dolls and clothes. That catalog was my wish list.

             I dreamed about the fancy dolls and wearing the cool looking clothes, but I was happy with flannel pajamas that Mom had made and a doll from the local hardware store.  I do remember one gift from Sears: a stiff blue nylon can-can slip that held my full-gathered skirts almost parallel to the ground. 

            A generation later, a friend and I bought Santa Claus gifts in October.  After we’d shopped locally and didn’t find everything we were certain would be on our children’s wish lists, we made a Nashville shopping trip.

            The gifts that Daughter and Son got during the 1980s are the story of their childhood years. Star Wars, Strawberry Shortcakes dolls, a Speak and Spell, walkie-talkies, basketballs, books, and a tape recorder. And because I thought clothes should be Christmas gifts, Tennessee Tech sweatshirts.  

            Another generation later, Christmas shopping overwhelms me.  A month ago, I told Husband that choosing gifts for our eight Grands was a monumental task and it threatened my Christmas joy.  He listened while I reminisced about the fun shopping days for our children and I wanted to get shopping done soon and I wish I knew something each Grand would like and I didn’t even know anyone’s size.  

            When I had asked for ideas, I wasn’t taken seriously. “Really, Gran? Christmas is a long time from now.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet,” my Grands said.

            So, Husband, bless him, took charge.  He created a flyer and made sure it was posted on the refrigerators at our Grands’ homes.

            ‘Attention: Grands

            Gran and Pop request that you submit your Christmas wish lists by bedtime on Monday, November 22.  You may call, text, email, Facebook message, Facetime, or Zoom to forward your requests.’

            At the bottom of the page in tiny font, Husband wrote words that will forever tell the story of 2021. ‘Disclaimer:  Not responsible for supply chain issues, cargo ships stuck in the Panama Canal or off the coast of California, Georgia or Louisiana, sleepy or uncooperative elves, fat reindeer, weather conditions, overworked postal workers, forgetful UPS drivers, thrown reindeer shoes, boring knock-knock jokes, overcooked cranberry sauce, and any other conditions beyond our control including, but limited to, color selections, size availability, lighting conditions, burned out Christmas tree bulbs, and wrinkled wrapping paper.’

            We got lists.  Puzzles, books, electronics, Legos, fun socks, pajamas, and a veterinarian kit. And one money request for an after Christmas shopping trip. 

            Christmas shopping changed from mail order to toy and department stores to buying some gifts online, but I’m glad wish lists still include toys, books, and clothes. 

            And the excitement of seeing a wrapped package under a Christmas tree never changes.  Even for my teen-age Grand who sent a text with an online link and wrote, “Here’s my wish list!”

In Search of Candy Corn

I didn’t buy candy corn in September when I first noticed it at the grocery store, even though I really like candy corn and peanuts mixed together.  I knew the lure of a Payday candy bar’s flavor would hit hardest at 9:00 p.m. when I’m prone to eat anything and everything. (Yes, I know that’s the worst time of a day to eat.)

            September and October, I avoided that pure sugar candy, and early November, I planned to buy candy corn to make Oreo cookie turkeys with my Grands as we’ve done many times.  (Google Oreo and candy corn turkeys to see pictures of chocolate cookies with orange and white tailfeathers.)  I was surprised candy corn wasn’t on Food Lion’s grocery shelves and made a mental note, which I forgot, to pick it up somewhere else.

            Then late Friday afternoon, a week before Thanksgiving Day, Husband and I were getting a few groceries because the Ray family, which includes six kids ages 4 -12, was coming to our house Saturday for Thanksgiving dinner. We received a call from Daughter: “I’m at Kroger and they don’t have candy corn. Will you get some at Food Lion so we can make Oreo turkeys at your house tomorrow?”  There still wasn’t any at Food Lion.  How I wished I’d bought candy corn in September and given it to Husband to hide. 

            As Husband and I talked after supper, we wondered if any stores had candy corn,  and we decided to make a quick trip to our drugstore.  The kids would want to make Oreo turkeys.

            So, we set out on a Friday night adventure.  First stop was the drugstore. No candy corn. Then the Dollar Store, IGA grocery store, and another drugstore.  No candy corn.  Maybe Wal-Mart?  According their website, it was available online for $13.22 per pound, but not in local stores.  Amazon offered an 11-ounce bag for $5.08. We didn’t consider ordering.

            One story is that the candy company that produces 85% of candy corn was a victim of a ransomware attack in early October and production stopped.  The company reported production resumed in some manufacturing facilities to near capacity in time for Halloween sales. If I’d known, I’d stocked up and maybe other people did and that’s why there was no candy corn to make Oreo turkeys on Saturday before Thanksgiving. 

            Daughter improvised and the kids made Oreo turkeys with Ike and Mike tailfeathers, but that’s not the end of the story.

            I told my niece Sarah, who lives in Georgia, about Husband’s and my Friday night adventure and she offered to look for candy corn.  I asked her not to because it cost too much and I’d eat it.

            On Thanksgiving Day, Sarah presented two bags of candy corn to me. I didn’t tell her that the day before Husband’s sister, Sara, had given me a bag that she had squirreled away in her pantry.             That sweet and salty treat never tasted so good.  Thank you, Sarah and Sara!

Counting Gifts and Blessings

Have you seen the cartoon of a family gathered around a dining room table that’s laden with a Thanksgiving dinner, a perfectly browned turkey and bowls of sides?  A little girl, whose chin almost rests on the table’s edge says, “Shouldn’t we be thankful more than one day a year?”

            Yes, indeed, we should.  A habit that helped me during the pandemic was writing in a gratitude journal that I began years ago.  There’s something about listing and numbering blessings, using a favorite black ink pen on lined spiral-bound paper, that is calming. That reminds me the greatest blessings are gifts of my every day, ordinary life. 

            I credit Ann Voscamp’s books, One Thousand Gifts and One Thousand Gifts Devotional, for prompting me to keep an ongoing list.  Before reading her books, I mentally noted blessings and prayed thanksgivings, but I took Voscamp’s challenge to put pen to paper.  Actually, Voscamp writes that her cynical friends challenged her and her change in attitude led to her books.  Could I list 1000 Gifts? 

             My list began with people.  All those I love most, family and friends.  Then the comforts often taken for granted:  a warm house, food, clothes, car, the freedom to worship, running water.  My list became more specific. Micah, with open mouth and arms, runs to me.  Doing chair yoga with Sheila’s CD. Catching lightning bugs with Lucy.

            Looking back, my journal reads like a diary.  Medicine to control vertigo.  Swimming at the Y with Grands.  College girlfriends come to spend two nights.  Tommy Sue cleaned up my kitchen mess.

            This week guidepost.org posted an article entitled “Gratitude Makeover” which includes tips to stay present and uplifted.  1. As soon as you open your eyes in the morning, say “thank you.” 2.  Start a gratitude journal. 3. Live in wonder. 4. Take a new path. 5. Keep an “attitude of gratitude.”  I’m not surprised that a gratitude journal is number 2, and I’m convinced it leads to number 5.  Doesn’t gratitude create attitude?

            Hot bath.  Warm, comfortable bed.  Cardinal at the birdfeeder.  All Grands gathered around the dining room table to play Bingo. Annabel and Elsie climb their magnolia tree.  Sunshine through the kitchen window.  Fresh strawberries.

            Voscamp’s writings aren’t always comforting.  “Counting 1000 gifts means counting hard things, otherwise I’ve miscounted.” I struggle counting hard things. Holding Joe’s hand as he lay in ICU. Brett undergoing heart surgery. My hand surgery.  Why be thankful for sickness?  For pain, physical and emotional?  Yet, blessings surface even during stressful, difficult times.  Minister prays for healing hearts.  Doctor’s assurances.

            Especially during the past nineteen months, I’ve counted technology blessings:  Zoom, FaceTime, email, and texts.  Even when I couldn’t visit with family and friend in-person, we stay connected.

            This week, I wrote #5099.  A safe walk to my Grands’ house.  Some days, I don’t write in my gratitude journal and other days, my pen almost runs out of ink.   #5100 Being able to write a weekly column.            

‘Tis the season to be thankful.