Thankful being the meme of the month, I hop on-blog to add my grateful yawp. I’m thankful for the huge things in my life that you’re thankful for, too: family, friends, home, health and sanity. (The last hovers near endangered status.)
Despite my snarky half-serious whines, I’m mostly cognizant of my great good fortune on a regular basis. Three minutes spent on my Twitter feed is enough to remind me: Storm Worsens Shortage of NYC Housing for Homeless (New York Times); Israel Reports Explosion on Bus in Tel Aviv (USA Today).
Every weekday I pick up my son at his elementary school, at which 79 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced lunch. Some of these children do not eat unless they are at school. Many of these children come from homes where the struggle is everything. The school boasts an amazing and resilient staff, and those parents who have a little more stability try to help where and when we can, but it’s never close to enough. I literally can’t allow myself to think too hard about what these kids will be doing while my family eats turkey and drinks wine because I will dissolve into tears.
While I am thankful, grateful, and aware of the many large blessings in my life, I rarely note the small things. So at 5:41 a.m., I take out my telescope and get microcosmically thankful from where I’m sitting right now.
My Kitchen Table
I am overly fond of my kitchen table, currently kid-weary and in need of a buff. Rich and I bought it at the Brimfield Antique Show, a yupster act totally unlike either of us. The table belonged to an Indiana farmer, and with the addition of leaves stretches out long enough to seat a farm-full of farmhands. I think of them every time I stretch the table out long enough to seat a house-full of friends.
My kitchen mantelpiece features two temporary turkeys and three travel posters. The Florida poster commemorates my first vacation with Rich, back in 1998. He was a graduate student at UNC and I worked at Duke. Despite the ACC odds, we got married and went to Jackson Hole for our honeymoon, a week that included a day trip to Yellowstone. Before having kids we managed to travel here, there and not nearly everywhere. I’m both grateful for that time together and hopeful that we can return with our kids to these places plus add to our list.
My Kitchen Fireplace
Peter Woodberry, Housewright, built our house in 1801. I don’t figure he divvied the home into condos, but someone did, and now we occupy half of Peter’s house. Of our six rooms, three contain fireplaces. My favorite is the one I’m staring at right now. (Please pause to note the difficulty of staring at the fireplace while typing. Like tightrope walking and chewing four pieces of Double Bubble. The things I do for you people.) It not only includes a bread oven, which delights all children and occasionaly houses a cat, but also a fireback, a cast-iron plate that increases a fire’s efficiency by capturing heat and radiating it into a room. Our fireback features a horse and rider.
Graphic designer Jason Vanlue, creator of Brewwd and author of “Branding Matters,” created designs for two beers for Rich’s 40th: Stone Brewing Co.’s Stone IPA and Brewery Ommegang’s Three Philosophers, a yeasty, cherry-tinged Rich favorite, perhaps because it has a heady 9.8 % ABV. The designs hang on a kitchen wall just past the travel-centric mantel. I love beer.
5:41 having given way to a great succession of minutes, I arrive at 6:43, well beyond the limits of my writing sprint. And so despite the early hour, I close with beer and a toast to all the everyday pleasures my full and fortunate life affords.