Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Andy Young: 192-plus reasons for giving thanks

By Andy Young

Orange-purple sunsets. Dried apricots. Indoor plumbing. Selfless police officers. Brilliant autumn leaves. Refrigeration. Basketball. The Smothers Brothers. Rice Chex. Kind neighbors.

Public libraries. Generous colleagues. Long-distance phone calls. Wheat back pennies. Southern Maine Community College. Prunes. Apple cider. Grandparents. To Kill a Mockingbird. Bicycles.

Strawberry picking. Bowling alleys. Kindergarten teachers. School nurses. Butterflies. Cherry tomatoes straight from the garden. Cribbage. Role models of all ages. Jack Benny’s violin. Blue skies.

Summer rain. Dental hygienists. Paved bike paths. Low-maintenance houseplants. Stuffed animals. Refrigerator magnets. Fresh salmon. Tennis. The 1984 Alaska Goldpanners. The post office.

John Denver. Generic Wheat Thins. Living far from the equator. Family photos. Board games. Spaghetti. Snowplows. Goalie masks. Maple syrup. Genuine journalists.

Elevators. Spanish rice. Butte, Montana. Tina Turner. Anything written by Carl Hiaasen or Leonard Pitts, Jr. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Loaded Questions. The 1969 New York Mets. Electric cars. Ramen Noodles.

Acadia National Park. The Baseball Hall of Fame. Kool and the Gang. Almond milk. Electricians. Flashlights. Oral history. Alfred E. Neuman. The two goals I scored playing intramural hockey in college. Exploding Kittens.

Amtrak. Bean boots. Blueberry picking. Landscapers. Jimmy Carter. The 1985 Durham Bulls. Golden kiwis. Yosemite Sam. The University of Maine. Applesauce bran muffins.

Snidely Whiplash. Rocking chairs. Thick soup. Fairbanks, Alaska. Oregano. Sharpies. Bobby Hull table-top hockey. Firefighters and first responders. Oprah Winfrey. Jeopardy!

Bus drivers. Welders. Crossword puzzles. Living indoors. Sunshine. Italian Ices. Angus King. The 1994 Butte Copper Kings. Fresh spinach. KC and the Sunshine Band.

Potable tap water. My three amazing children. Garlic. The Spinners. Haiku. The Red Cross. Multihued sunrises. Librarians. Mushrooms. Social workers.

Babbling brooks. Curbside trash pickup. Wavy potato chips. Boris Badenov. The New York Knicks (when Willis Reed was captain). Orange groves. Bigfoot-shaped air fresheners. Old baseball cards. Scenic overlooks. Bugs Bunny.

Short grain rice. Summer breezes. Islands in the Stream (the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers version). Cloth shopping bags. SpongeBob. Letters from former students. Ball Four. Apple Pie. Ice Cream. Apple Pie Ice Cream.

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Prosthetic hips. People with the same birthday as me. Bluefield, West Virginia. Pea picking. Schnecksville, Pennsylvania. Stewed tomatoes. The 1979-80 residents of UConn’s Lady Fenwick House. Sudoku puzzles. Pez dispensers.

My son’s vegetable stir fry. My mother’s spaghetti sauce. My mother-in-law’s ginger cake. My siblings. My cousins. Memories of my parents and grandparents. Phones that flash “Spam Risk” on nuisance calls. The Glory of Their Times. All my children’s teachers. Band-Aids.

The three-quarter-court shot I hit from the opposite foul line against the Atomic Moles. My older son’s soccer coaches. My daughter’s Taekwondo instructors. My younger son’s tennis coach. The men and women of the military. Surprise packages in the mailbox. Ocean State Job Lot. My Memorial University of Newfoundland backpack. Spring flowers. Extension ladders.

My 15-year-old-Pittsburgh Pirates pullover. My 30-year-old Raleigh IceCaps pullover. My 40-year-old UConn baseball pullover. The quilt my grandmother made for me, and that my sister rescued and repaired four-plus decades later. Warm winter days. Cool summer evenings. Crisp fall mornings. Disinfecting wipes. Living close to Canada. Guidance counselors.

Nature. Street hockey. Weird postcards. Upbeat waiters and/or waitresses. People who see the innate good in others and can look past their imperfections. Different color highlighters. Leaf rakers (as opposed to leaf blowers). Courteous drivers. Apple orchards. Bullwinkle.

My children’s friends. Baseball before designated hitters. Random kindnesses. Finding a quarter. Fredericton, New Brunswick. Coaches who know winning isn’t everything. Motels with free breakfasts. The Simpsons. People who say, “thank you.” Farmers.

Six hundred words a week to use however I please.

Discovering (yet again) that 600 words aren’t nearly enough to list everything I’m thankful for. <

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