Friday, November 21, 2008

No mutiny on bounty here

It's almost Thanksgiving. I've been thinking a lot about that -- thanksgiving, not just the holiday at which we celebrate it -- lately. Seems like every morning the clock-radio wakes me, some newscaster is bemoaning the stock market's consistent slide, the automakers' imminent collapse, global disaster ensuing: LIFE AS WE KNOW IT IS OVER! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!! News at 6. If foreclosure doesn't find us, global warming will. If we don't stop eating, we'll die early deaths. Red wine makes us fat and drunk, but happy and cancer-free. Huh? I'm all confused. I don't know what to be afraid of anymore. It's just. Too. Much.

There's been a mutiny, and we just refuse to be thankful for what we have. Not "have in comparison to someone else" but "have," period.So, I'm retreating from all of this. Instead of focusing on everything that's gonna drive me to an early grave or send me to hell in that handbasket I'm so fond of, I'm honing in on what I have, and what I'm thankful for.

For starters: So far I have a roof over my head and a comfortable mattress. That's all good. I'm sort of creaky and have brittle fingernails, but I'm not too wrinkly and have all my teeth. That's good, too. I have health -- a gift for which I can give thanks every day. I have people in my life who love me and show me, in small but touching ways, that I am important to them: My husband, for example, doesn't get irritated about my crashing around in the kitchen or starting up the washing machine or even running the vacuum before he wakes up in the morning. He knows I'm a neat freak and doesn't complain about it, just lets me do my thing.

I have a car with good brakes and a house with three working furnaces (well, one's for the garage, and one's for the workshop). I have terrific neighbors, including a wonderful public high school right across the street from my house. I enjoy watching the kids come and go to school and especially like the nice big scoreboard (I can see that when I'm doing dishes) when the girls play softball. I can see the horizon from my deck, my own version of wide-open spaces in the heart of suburbia. Sometimes, I can see fireworks displays from other cities there. It's very cool.

I have a tree in my yard that has to be 100 years old. Isn't that amazing? And my crysanthemums keep coming back year after year. A miracle.

I am thankful for the view outside my office windows, the words on my bookshelf, and the Internet. And that is not all, no. That is not all. What makes you thankful? Share the bounty.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Longest Day

You know, I've been up since 2 a.m. I was so danged excited over the prospect of a new president that I could hardly sleep. I finally got up at 5:45 and was at my polling place when it opened at 7. And I was probably 200th to show up! Elderly election judges had us snaking in lines all over the Crown of Life Church social hall.

Remember the old days of levered voting booths? Coocooned by this neat little curtain, we clackety-clacked our selections and voila! When we opened the curtain, our votes were magically counted, and the ballot was cleared for the next voter. I missed those today, especially because I was seated at a table to while my fellow voters in line stood looking over my shoulder. I might as well have turned around in my chair, held up my ballot and asked, "Say, neighbor, whaddya think? Will my vote for Obama push him over the top?"

Now, we wait. This isn't like playing a bar video game and having a running total of the score. We have to wait for the polls to close. By the time we have a winner, I might be awake for 24 hours, or the suspense might kill me. I know I'm wearing my lefty heart on my sleeve, but I hope the result is worth waiting for, and I remember this election for the rest of my life.