Many reasons to be thankful
Nov. 21, 2011
by Ivan Raconteur

Thanksgiving is about more than turkeys and pilgrims and getting together with our relatives to gorge ourselves on a feast of epic proportions. It is an opportunity to stop and reflect on how lucky we are.

Few among us could fail to find something for which we are thankful.

My own cup runneth over with earthly bounties.

It is true that I, like the immortal Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof,” have perpended on the fact that, while it is no shame to be poor, it is no great honor either, and I have wondered if it would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune. Nothing vulgar, mind you, just a tidy reserve to keep the wolves safely away from the door.

On the other hand, I recognize that there are a great many people who have less than I, and I am grateful for what I have.

Likewise, there are times when I regret not having a lady with whom I could travel life’s journey, share an occasional laugh, and perhaps exchange an encouraging word or two when the going gets rough.

On the other hand, I have observed that some women, even the meekest of the species, seem, when sufficiently provoked, to have the lung capacity of a deep sea diver and the conversational style of a drill sergeant.

Many’s the time during my long career when a member of the fairer sex has assailed me with a hailstorm of critical observations and pointed character analysis that lasted long after I would have thought her breath and adjectives would have run out.

I have frequently noticed married friends wearing a hunted look and jumping at sudden noises after being on the receiving end of such a diatribe at the hands of their helpmates.

Surely, living alone is better than that. So, I can add peace and tranquility to my list of things for which to be thankful.

I sometimes complain about getting older, and lament that I can no longer do some of the things I used to do (at least not without the risk of permanent injury). If I take the time to think about it, however, I remember that many people have had their lives cut short when they were much younger than I am. This makes me thankful I have lasted as long as I have.

I am frustrated sometimes by my constant battle with weight loss (or rather, with weight gain). Given a choice, however, I would much rather fight this battle than the one waged by so many people in the world who struggle against starvation every day of their lives. I am thankful to live in a land of plenty, imperfect though it may be.

I was listening to a group of incredibly talented musicians the other day, and for a moment, I experienced a touch of jealousy, and wished I could do what they can do. Then, it occurred to me that while I cannot play an instrument or sing songs (at least not in a manner that people would pay to hear – they might, however pay me to stop), I do have the ability to hear and appreciate good music, and the money I pay to do so allows some talented people to earn a living doing what they were born to do.

Along the same lines, I will never be a thespian, but I can appreciate the marvelous talents of actors and actresses, and my small contributions help these people to do what they do best.

Finally, whatever one may think of my skills as a writer, I can assure you I would make a much worse surgeon, or veterinarian, or mechanic, or practitioner of any one of a thousand other occupations. I would not be very happy doing these jobs, nor, I fear, would anyone who had the misfortune to be my customer or patient if I was employed in these vocations.

I am thankful for the opportunity to work at something I love every day, and for the good sense to know just how lucky that makes me.

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