O Lord, this past year, I’ve been thankful for the oddest things. For toilet paper. For Zoom (in 2019, I’d never heard of that). Even for being old so I can have shots. OMG, maybe You’re trying to teach us new lessons about gratitude?
O Lord, I’m not sure what the older grandkids thought when they opened their Thanksgiving packages. But thank You the little guys loved the noisy, gobbling stuffed turkeys their weird grandma sent. And, OMG, thank You that my children and their spouses didn’t write me off forever.
Anyone here like Christmas better than Thanksgiving?
With God’s incredible gift of His Son, family celebrations, music, decorations and food, it doesn’t get any better than that.
But families also express gratitude for each other at Thanksgiving, for freedom, health and — last, but not least — hope through Christ. Along with the food, it doesn’t get any better than that.
I’m forced to enjoy a draw, nixing healthy eating until a January Judgment Day.
I also want to express gratitude for little blessings — even weird ones — that seldom receive a nod or notice:
Fuzzy bathroom rugs. These don’t rank up there with world peace or an Indianapolis Colts victory, but on chilly mornings, they mean everything to wet, freezing toes.
Combines blocking the road. Already late, I forget these are a blessing. Other drivers’ gestures indicate they forget, too. But these bulky, balky monsters and hardworking farmers ensure food on our tables.
Bananas. With this nutritious, easy-open, eco-friendly fruit — no refrigeration necessary — our children thrived. True, bananas’ squishability, the babies’ sticky reaches and my long hair proved problematic. Still, they blessed lunch boxes and trips. When emergencies interrupted my skinny physician husband’s meals, I sent bananas with him to eat on the way.
Today, neither of us worry about weight loss. Still, we’re glad bananas will be around for our future, with or without teeth.
The color purple. What would we do without purple violets and irises, plums and eggplants? Without royal velvets and wild purple storm clouds — and essentials like Grape Slushies and Super Bubble Gum?
My 2010 car. New models map routes, parallel park and warm butts. Some drivers, though, given a Starship Enterprise dashboard, threaten the universe. Even driving my old Ford, I’ve occasionally popped the hood when I meant to open the trunk. If I tried to warm my posterior while driving 70 miles per hour, I’d hit the parallel parking mechanism.
I’m thankful for my simple, old car. You should be, too.
Ranch dressing, available only since the 1980s. How did we as a civilization survive without it?
Free parking lots. Metropolitan drivers spend hundreds to park in scary garages. I revel in nearly unlimited free parking, saving my neck, my bucks and my sanity.
Bankers without firearms. I’ve entered Honduran banks where guards accessorized with ammunition belts and machine guns. I’m thankful my bankers are armed only with smiles.
Gardeners who plant prairie grass. They validate those of us who grow it unintentionally.
Finally, I’m thankful I never played the turkey in a school production.
Still debating whether you like Thanksgiving or Christmas most? It’s a draw, right?
A draw for the turkey, too.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Can you list weird things for which you’re thankful?
O Lord, when I was a kid, gratitude didn’t come easy. Mom would prompt, “What do you say?” and I’d mutter the “Thank you” that got grown-ups off my back. In 2020, it doesn’t come easy, either. Still, OMG, thank You. Thank You. Thank You!
O Lord, I love Christmas, with its sparkly red and green. But OMG, can’t we enjoy orange a little longer?
The day after Thanksgiving, a friend’s Facebook post evoked 93 envious comments, four offers of psychological help, and a death threat or two. What elicited such passionate response? She dared reveal that she’d wrapped the final gift on her list.
I gave serious consideration to the last reaction, but one of her gifts may be for me.
Like many today, she’d viewed an amazing variety of gifts online.
If a guy craves a purple monkey wrench with a peace sign, he can open it Christmas morning. Those seeking bedroom slippers find pairs online that could fit a native of Neptune, let alone, hard-to-please Uncle Ralph.
Five-inch-thick toy catalogs once dragged home from the mailbox no longer limit little ones’ choices. Now, children who navigate cyberspace better than their parents explore infinite Christmas Wish websites. Some “accidentally” hit purchase buttons without their folks’ knowledge — until five semis dump 42,111 teddy bears singing “Feliz Navidad” in Chinese on their doorsteps.
Internet shopping also promotes less driving. No coats, mittens or car seats. No bloodshed over parking spaces. Pollution-belching cars remain home, while bargain hunters apply gas money to bigger and better holiday gifts for others — plus giant screen TVs for themselves.
Virtual store visitors choose gifts anytime day or night. They avoid hostile store clerks who install trapdoors in front of cash registers.
Certainly, online buyers encounter uncooperative sellers — shopping carts that charge double and helpful sites that publish customers’ credit card numbers on Facebook. But if an annoyed Internet shopper assaults her computer, it can be replaced with no jail time involved — unless she shoplifts one.
Online purchasers avoid traditional Christmas brawls when stores run out of Preschool Techno Marbles or Uber Dogcatcher Barbie. Nor do they wait in line behind 76 other customers, only to discover the computers are down. An online shopper can experience similar computer fun at home with no wait whatsoever.
Internet customers do risk the unknown. A pan-for-gold set might not come with genuine six-inch nuggets, as advertised. Once, unaware a website’s owners couldn’t count, I received a sweater that sported five arms.
Online shoppers also deal with predators who steal identities. However, I wouldn’t mind procuring a new one. I’ll take a twentyish blonde, size six, with an unlimited credit ceiling, please.
Believe it or not, I later discovered my high-tech friend didn’t stick to Internet gift-giving. She’d not only bought presents at downtown stores and personally wrapped them — she’d made several.
Such inefficiency, when in one evening, she could have selected identical presents for 127 people, had them professionally gift-wrapped, then sent in time for Christmas. This, without ever touching gifts or recipients.
What was she thinking?
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you like shopping online? Why or why not?
O Lord, Hubby and I are still chock full of Thanksgiving — in more ways than one! We are grateful for a wild, wonderful time with four generations of family. And, OMG, we thank You for the morning after, when it’s just we two 😊.
Winter, like an obnoxious relative, blew in early in Indiana and now threatens to stay forever. When we have to shovel snow within days of Halloween, our backs and arms ache too much to assume a posture of gratitude. But I will exercise some Thanksgiving muscle.
Me being me, though, most of my reasons for gratitude sound a little weird. Nevertheless, I am thankful for:
Aisle signs in parking lots. I usually disregard them, but when I do memorize my car’s location and actually find it after shopping, I experience a real rush — and sweet sense of superiority to wandering souls who set off car alarms to find theirs.
Deep purple hand towels. They defy even my grandchildren’s noblest efforts to stain them.
Piano tuners. As much as I loathe off-key music, my very bones scream when a piano tuner pounds and adjusts my keys. As tuners possess sensitive ears, too, I salute their bravery in attacking enemy tones.
Flatware. That the majority of the 330,044,724 people in the U.S. advocate the use of forks and spoons, as opposed to sporks.
For television. Within minutes of flicking the remote, some lauded, lunatic sports figure or pubescent program convinces me I am actually pretty sane.
Black olives, a time-honored flavor fetish in our family. My children and grandchildren share my taste for them on pizza, though my son-in-law attempted to teach his toddler the little black things were bugs. Grandma’s DNA prevailed (Ha!), and I am thankful for descendants who are fellow olive-eaters.
Mugs. Especially those that, when clasped by left-handed people, display a design as pretty as the one right-handers see.
Pennies. They are such generous little coins, willing to make a small difference whenever necessary. Plus, a fistful of them still gives me a vestige of that billionaire feeling I savored as a child, carrying them to Charlie’s General Store to exchange for a sucker-bubblegum-Pixy-Stix® feast.
Greeting cards. The ones that do not need extra postage because of wordiness.
My big, ugly, rubber boots. They are best buddies whether mudding through the garden or wading through snow.
Hundred-calorie bags of popcorn.
Rear window heaters and wipers.
People who spell my name without apostrophes.
Winds that blow our leaves into other people’s yards.
Expired calendars that abound in my purse, office and on my refrigerator. They remind me of: A. sweet memories; B. moments of misery endured (whew!); and that life, whether A or B, is precious and passes swiftly.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: This Thanksgiving, what weird things do you appreciate?
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?