Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Andy Young: A Good Start

By Andy Young

What am I grateful for this Thanksgiving?

Well, for openers, getting 600 published words a week to use as I please.

Dudley Do-right and Nell
Also, for quality time with my children, a roof over my head, and tap water that’s safe to drink.

And for…

Friends and family who appreciate me for who I am, and don’t resent me for what I’m not.

Nice neighbors, scenic overlooks, and getting unexpected packages in the mail.

Pond hockey, beets done right, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

Waking up every morning, being able to walk unaided, and living in a place that’s currently free of toxic fumes, malaria outbreaks and terrorists.

Walking through the woods during a snowstorm, watching heavy rain from underneath a porch roof and finding enough room along the curb to successfully parallel park.

Yard sales. Farmers markets. Used book stores (as opposed to used bookstores).

Composting. Summer breezes. Fresh cherry tomatoes.

Electricity. Cloth shopping bags. Prosthetic hips.

Vegetable lo mein. Bike rides. Reconnecting with childhood pals.

My children’s teachers. Books on tape. Quiet lawn mowers.

Bugs Bunny. Dudley Do-right. George of the Jungle.

Elmer Fudd. Yosemite Sam. Boris Badenov.

Sunrises. Smiles from strangers. Applesauce bran muffins with raisins and walnuts.

Shooting the moon on the last hand to win a game of Hearts.

Fortune cookies. Walking to the library. Sunsets.

Old friends. Young friends. Friends I haven’t met yet.

A job I love. Students with unlimited potential. Supportive administrators.

Many great colleagues who are younger than I am. Several terrific colleagues who are my age. Both colleagues who are older than I am.

Generic cereals. Orange juice. Bananas that aren’t green anymore, but don’t have any spots on them yet.

YouTube. Wikipedia. Phones that identify unwanted solicitations as “Spam Risk.”

Butte, Montana. Fairbanks, Alaska. Easton, Connecticut.

People who say “thank you.” People who open doors for others. People who pick up trash that wasn’t theirs.

Human bank tellers, human grocery store cashiers, and human phone answerers.

Sharing a border with New Hampshire, Quebec, and New Brunswick, but not with Florida.

Morningstar Farms vegetarian meatballs. Red peppers. Crisp Cortland apples.

St. Johns, Newfoundland. Schnecksville, Pennsylvania. Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

My children’s teachers. Comfy Sneakers. Maine’s paucity of rattlesnakes, scorpions, and fire ants.

Preservative-free cider. Real mashed potatoes. Apple pie.

A life totally free of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and social media.

Being less than a day’s drive from New York, Boston, and Montreal.

One of our two U.S. Senators, although in the spirit of nonpartisanship I won’t mention which one he is.

Remembering what it was like to score a goal, block a layup, and catch a touchdown pass.

Dreaming about my parents and my grandparents.

Dreaming about hitting a home run.

Dreaming about finding a Canadian quarter while walking a North Carolina beach with Oprah Winfrey, an old baseball teammate, a girl I liked in high school, and two kids who lived next door to my cousins when we were kids.

Heat pumps. Windmills. Solar panels.

The quilt my grandmother made for me. The pillows my mom made for me. My grandfather’s key ring screwdriver.

Dave Chappelle. Steve Martin. Chris Rock.

Dolly Parton. John Denver. Tina Turner.

Books written by David Halberstam. Commentaries written by Leonard Pitts. Anything written by Carl Hiaasen.

Dried apricots. Almonds. Blueberries.

Smoke-free public spaces. Pre-1973 baseball cards. Ravenous, mosquito-consuming bats.

Cribbage. Gratitude journals. Being the first to figure out it was Miss Scarlett with the candlestick in the conservatory.

But what I’m most grateful for is discovering yet again that when it comes to taking stock of my many blessings, 600 words still aren’t even close to being enough. <

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