I was raised in a southern house. The food was generally fried and featured a meat product in every dish. It was a house where you cleaned your plate before you had dessert. You learned that you could live without a heater but not air conditioning. You had grits instead of hash browns, you called them sweet potatoes not yams and the only tea was sweetened and iced. You never took yourself too seriously and you learned more lessons at home than you did at school. The most important of these lessons was a rather simple one: Mind your manners.
You addressed adults as mister or misses. You blessed people when they sneezed. You patted them on the back when they coughed. You looked someone in the eye when you shook their hand. You wished them a good day. You said, ”Yes sir” or “No Ma’am” even if the person you were addressing was the same age as you. You said, ”please”. But most of all, you showed your upbringing was proper by saying “thanks”. Thank the waiter who was just doing his job. Thank the stranger that said ”God Bless you” after you sneezed. Thank you for not smoking. Thank you for your business. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It becomes so routine to thank people that the actual concept of gratitude becomes lost in what become nothing more than empty words. I would like to think that I have a strength of character that the words mean something to me but know that the reality is that just are a vacant gesture. The question is how to put some gratitude back into my thank you’s. I guess Thanksgiving is a good day to start. So here are the things I am grateful for:
· I am grateful to my wife for not killing me in my sleep although I often deserve it.
· I am grateful for having the patience to extend the same courtesy to my children.
· I am grateful for friends that treat me like family and relatives that treat me like strangers because they both prove that it is the bonds of affection that bind us not genetics.
· I am grateful for sci-fi and sports for giving me something to occupy my time with because otherwise I would be spending it making myself a more productive human being.
· I am grateful for the bad job I no longer have and the good job I do.
· I am grateful for free Wi-fi.
· I am grateful for one hour lunches.
· I am grateful for the cafe at work because it gives those lacking the culinary skills to work at a public school lunchroom gainful employment.
· I am grateful that I have not yet eaten at that odd smelling Indian restaurant.
· I am grateful for baseball games with my son and concerts with my daughter.
· I am grateful for my wife giggling when she reads what I write.
· I am grateful for Facebook for letting me see the psychotic ramblings of the people I know.
· I am grateful that after 20 years, I sometimes still refer to her as my girlfriend.
· I am grateful for kids that act their age and adults who don’t.
· I am grateful for chocolate, marshmallows and gummi bears.
· I am grateful that I live in a Navy town because when I talk about “the men in uniform” , they are real people.
· I am grateful for Moon River and Dahlia’s.
· I am grateful for good coffee and great beer.
· I am grateful for Saturday mornings at Edgewood Bakery and Sunday afternoons at Dreamette.
· I am grateful for my kids’ good public schools and the teachers that actually care.
· I am grateful for the strength certain people show when faced with illness because it reminds me how easy I really have it.
· I am grateful that the seventh grade girls on the bus like my boys hair.
· I am grateful that the 20 year olds at FSCJ haven’t noticed my daughter’s.
· I am grateful for Family Guy, Regular Show, and Walking Dead for proving that quality t.v. shows still exist.
· I am grateful for the word “swag”, because it just sounds cool.
· I am grateful that I still believe that things will get better.
· I am grateful for Target for giving me somewhere to go when Wal-mart pisses me off.
· I am grateful that the bruises healed.
· I am grateful that our Krispy Kreme is coming back.
· I am grateful that Krispy Kreme left because if not I would weigh 600 pounds.
· I am grateful for the morally upstanding people I call my role models and the morally questionable ones that I call my friends.
· I am grateful that they haven’t “Baker Acted” me, yet.
· I am grateful that my bank doesn’t have a minimum balance requirement.
· I am grateful for the people who give a damn.
· I am grateful that I work for a company that gives to charity.
· I am grateful that I have a job.
· I am grateful for my imperfect family at my messy house, on a lousy street, in a crappy neighborhood, in a boring town.
I wouldn’t trade them for the world.