O my God, You are the Giver of all good things, especially Jesus! This year, You’ve also given us an extra week of November to give thanks. To enjoy autumn and all things orange. OMG, You know I love Christmas. But can’t glitzy green and red wait until December?
Me, too. The recent election itches like a mosquito bite. I scratch and complain as if that will make it all better.
Maybe, as Mom often said, I should leave it alone so it will heal?
Better yet, applying something soothing — like gratitude — speeds the process. Even …
Gratitude for Weird Things
I’m thankful for Indianapolis International Airport shuttle buses. Even when passengers can’t remember in which state they landed — let alone, parking row numbers — drivers remain courteous and coherent. Which is more than I am at midnight.
As we’re discussing air travel, I give thanks for screaming babies. They make me grateful to be old.
Still thinking retro, I’m grateful I no longer endure home permanents or soup-can curlers.
I’m thankful, too, that unlike my first year of driving (two wrecks), I have driven accident-free for years.
I remind myself to give thanks at stoplights for drivers with honking disease. They strip away any religious façade: Will I swear or pray?
So far, prayers way outnumber swear words — though a few prayers have consisted of, “Lord, strike that guy’s battery dead.”
Oops. My “gratitude” is beginning to itch.
Changing the subject … I am grateful for Britisher Thomas Hancock (1786-1865), who invented elastic. At Thanksgiving, real waistlines might prove fatal.
Also, my funny, ornery, 91-year-old dad. When I phone, he always answers, “Rachael who?” As long as he doesn’t turn polite, I don’t worry.
Speaking of near and dear, I should express gratitude that my love is not a vampire. Or zombie. Just a camper. Though some friends would rather deal with the other alternatives, I’m happy with my guy. Among other considerations, he pumps gas, even if I’m driving. Always.
Fortunately, our children and their spouses are good examples. They have given us seven awesome grandkids who have taught us peace and quiet are highly overrated.
We are so thankful. When I think of those blessings and a gazillion more …
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What reasons for gratitude help dissolve your gripes?
October’s traditional holidays — Columbus Day and Halloween — have recently come under fire. The Internet graciously supplies us with alternatives, so now we can venerate these dehydrated fruits? — vegetables? — this month.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to celebrate in July, when tomatoes truly become one in spirit with plump, red humans who also roast and wrinkle in blazing sunshine?
October is also Class Reunion Month. However, we do not have to begin emergency diets, because has anybody ever held a class reunion in October?
But wait just one politically correct moment. Does this imply people who are not bald can’t be free on October 14? Sorry, but I doubt mass servitude of hairy people will fly as a holiday. Not even with Hallmark.
Neither do I celebrate Reptile Awareness Day (October 21). Are we supposed to kiss a crocodile? Snuggle with snakes? Once a family in my town discovered their new home’s previous owner had bequeathed them his pet python, who popped out of heating ducts to say hello.
I lived a half mile away. That’s as close to reptile awareness as I want to get.
If anyone wants to take up a better cause, I suggest he lobby to remove the bad-mood stigma from my favorite month.
True, our stressed society could benefit from the International Moment of Frustration Scream Day on October 12, releasing pent-up feelings toward TV political coverage, souped-up leaf blowers and motorists who honk at stoplights. Following up with National Kick Butt Day on the 13th might, paradoxically, prove a bottomless delight.
But October has gone overboard with National Grouch Day (the 15th) and Cranky Coworkers Day (the 27th). It has even been chosen as National Sarcastic Awareness Month. Gre-e-eat. We’re supposed to cheer every 16-year-old who rolls her eyes? Maybe even crown Miss Supreme Sarcasm?
We also are expected to choose a Menopause Queen to celebrate World Menopause Day on October 18. Riding a parade float, she and her royal court will throw plates at cowering crowds while a band plays “We’re Having a Heat Wave” and hot-flash drill teams fan each other with flags.
October used to be a nice, simple month.
I’d hoped November would improve the holiday outlook. But, no. November begins with Plan Your Epitaph Day (November 2). I see that on the 19th, we are to celebrate Have a Bad Day Day.
How about we skip ’em all?
Instead, let’s celebrate Thanksgiving every day!
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite way to celebrate October?
Yes, Thanksgiving has passed. Though the holiday virus has infected my mental workings, I’m not out of touch with reality yet. After all, it’s only December 1.
No wonder my gas company turned off the heat. …
Back to the original subject. Every year we celebrate Christmas at Thanksgiving. At Halloween, even. Yet, doesn’t Thanksgiving at Christmas make more sense than Black Friday? Let’s start a new trend! I’ll go first:
- I appreciate energetic individuals who decorate their homes with flair during Advent. Their stunning light displays delight my grandchildren without this all-thumbs grandma hammering a single thumb.
- Blessed are the procrastinators who, like me, have not removed pumpkins from their porches. The same people leave their Christmas lights up until July. You have no idea how you spread good cheer to me and others who will show up two months late for our own funerals.
- I’m also thankful for online Christmas shopping, as my grinchy feet have nixed walking marathons in malls and stores. What a boon for me and for others with cranky, uncooperative body parts; cranky, uncooperative children; or cranky, uncooperative spouses.
- Yet, I am thankful that my feet, in their more magnanimous moods, have allowed some shopping trips. Miss the opportunity to sing along with background carols? Never! Miss people-watching at the most interesting time of the year? Perish the thought!
- Nasty store clerks are legendary; yet yesterday, I encountered one who, amid coupon craziness, promised me the best deal possible — and delivered.
- On the receiving end of gift-giving, I am thankful my husband has developed excellent judgment in selecting presents. The past few decades, I have received nothing like one of his early gifts: a dried-blowfish lamp brought back from Florida.
- Nor have friends given me a Santa Yoda yard ornament or singing deer head. One friend, whose sister gave her a plunger-waving snowman that asks restroom guests what they’re doing, has never re-gifted me with him. For that I am deeply grateful.
- Also for commercials on TV that do not revolve around spending buckets of money for Christmas. Both of them.
- Finally, for my car clock that ignores the time change. While an initial glance at it strikes me with panic — “I’m an hour late!” — I savor the rush of relief when I realize I’m not.
Hubby threatens to change the clock. Sure, it gives a false sense of security. But it allows me to chill.
Oh, well. There’s still plenty of time to celebrate Thanksgiving this December.
With every “Merry Christmas!” I’ll remember and thank the One whose birthday it is.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you celebrate Thanksgiving at Christmas?
O my God, thank You for Thanksgiving! Feasting, fussing, playing and praying, our four generations celebrated Thanksgiving with everything in us. Today, however, I will make lunch for two instead of 18. I walk without laming myself on Legos. Quiet reigns again in our empty nest …
OMG, how I miss that marvelous mess!
No doubt, our Creator appreciates gratitude for freedom to worship Him, for family, friends, food and shelter. But my cornucopia also bursts with weird things for which I am thankful, including:
- Avocados. As a missionary kid in Mexico, I picked them up like apples under big trees. I still am a guacamole junkie. How many other fattening foods are good for me?
- Shots. Immunizations don’t rank as my preferred activity, and certainly not my grandchildren’s. But because of shots’ protection, holiday hugs and kisses induce only mild winter plagues.
- Black, washable pants. They love sparkly holiday tops and simple ones. They’re immune to stains and grandbaby spit. Roomy in the rear, they don’t desert me after the holidays, as many of my clothes do.
- My piano. I don’t own a grand or even a baby grand. But my little Baldwin comprised our first major purchase after Hubby finished medical school. I thought we should spend his first paychecks on practical items. He insisted, “You miss having a piano.” Whenever I play, it still sings a love song.
- Our baby trees, whose lanky little branches and colorful fall foliage inspire me with lavish dreams for their future.
- Our camper. The one Hubby purchased when I was too sick to fight it. Even sitting idle, it sets us free. Already, we picture days in the green woods and s’mores around campfires on starry nights.
- Gummy worms. Incredibly lifelike, they possess magical powers. When decorating a grandson’s birthday cake, they enable me to resist eating it.
- Our brown sofa. Thank God, Hubby talked me out of buying a red one. Otherwise, after eight years, it would present a less-than-artistic mosaic of peanut butter, jelly, pizza, mustard and gravy stains. Because of, um, the grandchildren. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
- My neighbor’s yard. Raked and pristine, it gives me a goal to shoot for when I grow up.
- Free chips and salsa. A highlight of dining in Mexican restaurants.
- Laid-back drivers. People who drive sl-ow-ly on two-lane highways annoy me to the point I pray aloud to occupy mind and mouth. They even force me to notice the loveliness I miss when whipping by as usual.
- Accelerators. Cars wouldn’t be much good without them, right?
- Ditto for brakes. And headlights.
- Paper towels. While living in Ecuador for two months, I missed them terribly. (Thank goodness, Ecuador did manufacture toilet paper.)
- Baby smiles. They always ruin a bad day.
A critic might protest, “Your list goes on forever!”
True. I never run out of weird things for which to be thankful, because my Creator never, ever stops giving.
He’s weird that way — and wonderful.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What odd reasons for gratitude pop up on your list?
O my God, today I’m scrubbing bathrooms. Feeling thankful? Not much. Till I recall that visiting my grandmother included “over-the-river-and-through-the-woods” trips to an outhouse.
OMG, have I ever thanked You for two-and-a-half baths? With 16 precious people coming for Thanksgiving, I’m thanking You now!
O my God, if I’d drawn on a Thanksgiving tablecloth as a kid—“No pumpkin pie for you!” But this tablecloth invited rowdy games of tic-tac-toe and connect-the-dots, and kids, young and old, colored it with gusto. OMG, thanks for that wild, wonderful three-day feast! And for the put-my-feet-up quiet now.
Welcome to my annual appreciation-of-the-odd list.
Wait. Isn’t gratitude against the law during an election year?
Before I dine, I’ll lose the whine and savor what’s extra-fine. Join me, if you’re so inclined.
- First, I’m thankful the election is over. Enough said.
- I’m thankful for my Pressure Peach, a squishy, foam rubber peach with a perfect blush. My sister, a weird, wonderful pastor who lives near Atlanta, hoped its therapy would keep me out of jail. Whenever I feel like punting my computer (or a few people I know), squeezing my Pressure Peach restores sanity and makes everything go just … peachy.
- I thank God for blue jeans that “go” with 1970s T-shirts, button-downs and blazers, sequins or satins. Accessorized with jungle flip-flops or jeweled high heels, jeans go everywhere with everybody. Stains customize their charm. Rips qualify them for designer status. Baggy, saggy or raggy, fitted or faded, yanked from dryer (or laundry hamper in an emergency), jeans are this girl’s best friend.
- I thank God pens, pencils and paper are still legal. I appreciate computers, especially since my handwriting rivals my two-year-old grandson’s. But my fingers still itch when I spy a freshly sharpened pencil, smell a new notebook, or watch ink flow like dark cream across fresh, untouched paper.
- I’m thankful gas prices dropped. Sigh. Now they’ll rise a dollar a gallon because I said it. Or because it’s Wednesday. Or because Obama ate anchovy pizza. Still, I’m thankful.
- I appreciate street lights. They remind me of Thanksgiving cooks — unnoticed until they take time off.
- I’m thankful for my naked coffee table. No one-of-a-kind knickknacks mar its surface — precious evidence of sticky little grandkid fingers.
- I’m thankful for my mantel clock, all crystal and gold balls that dance in an infinite circle. It keeps lousy time, despite fresh batteries. But my husband gave it to me one Christmas with a note that said his love for me was timeless. So I don’t mind being late to appointments.
- I’m grateful God didn’t outsource tree creation to me. I would have gotten the fall colors all wrong. I would have used Super-Glue to bind trunk, limbs and twigs in awkward lumps and would have forgotten roots. Winter breezes would have sent trees rolling like giant tumbleweeds, resulting in interesting insurance claims. God, however, engineers elaborate systems to anchor and nurture trees. With an artist’s eye, He arranges bare, elegant, black branches like lines of poetry.
- I’m doubly thankful God also welcomes the challenge of caring for me and other higher(?) species. Especially during this election year.
What weird things make your odd-Thanksgiving list?