I’m Thankful…

By Miryam Ehrlich Williamson

Back when the major responsibility for Thanksgiving dinners was mine, we had a practice of going around the table and each of us telling one thing we were thankful for. One of the things I like about being an elder is that now I can be a guest at the table of my daughter and son-in-law and not be too tired and stressed to enjoy the company and the meal.

This Thursday I may try to revive that practice, although some at the table will be family and some I’ll be meeting for the first time. I’ll have my antenna out during the meal to get a sense of whether people would like the idea.  If I’m not sure, I won’t try.

I really cringe when I’m in a group where everyone is supposed to tell a happy Thanksgiving or — even more difficult — a happy Christmas story from their childhood. So I don’t make assumptions about other people’s lives and histories. It seems insensitive.

I hope you won’t mind, though, if I give thanks here for some of the ways I feel blessed. I’d like to hear (see?) yours, if you’ve a mind to comment below.

I’m thankful that I’m still healthy enough to do pretty much what I feel like doing.

I’m thankful that I can drive or take Amtrak to all the places I want to go. I can’t imagine how I could go through airport security anymore, and hope I never have to find out if I can.

I’m thankful for the people who contribute to Rural Votes and make this blog possible. It’s a joy to be allowed to write what I think without fear of censure, and a pleasure to get comments and mail from people who want to share their thoughts.

I’m thankful to live in a town with a true democracy — a town meeting open to every registered voter where we are the legislature, setting the budget and passing the laws that govern us.

I thankful that the town’s cemetery commission yesterday approved a motion to allow natural, or “green” burials in the cemetery, so that those who want to be buried without being embalmed or separated from the earth to which they belong can do what we’re meant to do — replenish the earth.

I’m thankful that I’ve grown to the point where I can think about death as a natural part of life, and without fear.

I’m thankful for the love I feel for others around me, and from them.

I’m thankful I’m part of a wider community where, while we may not always agree or like each each other, when someone is in need there are plenty of people around to fill that need.

I’m thankful for the Federal no-interest loan I qualified for and got this year so that we could install central heat and a ramp into our house.

I’m thankful for the weatherization program that added insulation in the attic, blanketed the foundation, and fixed some windows so we’ll burn less fuel, put less junk into the atmosphere, and be more comfortable.

I’m thankful that I was able to find this help available to low-income people and to ask for it without feeling ashamed.

I’m thankful that Wally, our farm collie, barks when someone comes into the yard so I know they’re there. I’m thankful that Sunny and Shady, our orange and gray longhair cats, have to sense to come home before it gets dark and the coyotes come out.

I’m thankful that John McCain doesn’t live in the White House.

I’m thankful that I live in a state where (almost) everyone who sees my “Palin Bachman 2012 / I can’t wait” bumper sticker knows it’s a joke.

More than anything, I’m thankful for the 35 years Ed and I have had together, the love and support we’ve shared. I wish everyone in the world could experience this. If they could, nobody would ever want to go to war.

I hope your Thanksgiving Day will be/is/was full of a sense of well being. I’m going to take the long weekend off and stay away from my computer.  I’ll see you next week.

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