Janet Sheridan: 9 things of importance to be thankful for
When B. Davis Evans, my high school drama teacher, modeled our class assignments, we forgot his beak nose, bow tie and sweater vest stretched over a pudgy stomach. As he delivered a dramatic monologue, performed a pantomime or interpreted a poem, we watched intently and learned. So, when he pulled me aside to say, “Why do you have to be funny all the time, Janet? Give it a break. Stretch yourself. Show us your serious, thoughtful side once in a while.” I listened.
To honor my teacher, who had a Thanksgiving birthday and influenced my life, I will express gratitude in this column for things of great importance me.
I give thanks for family reunions and get-togethers where laughter is a given; explanations aren’t needed; and no one cares if your hair is uncombed or you wear the same clothes two days in a row; gatherings where joy in the presence of loved ones abounds.
I give thanks for friends who understand without asking, call without hesitation, remember without judging and help without reservation. They share their lives, ask about mine and often speak the love-filled words, “Remember when we …”
I give thanks for the place I call home, where the constant, compelling presence of nature offers us spring wildflowers in mountain valleys, lavish, green finery in summer, flaring gold on autumn’s aspen trees and winter diamonds on snow. I love living where the sun rises over mountain peaks, glistens on a free-flowing river, warms the brittle branches of aging cottonwood trees and lights the Sandrocks as it sets.
I give thanks for workers who enjoy their jobs: the men and women who wave as they drive by in trucks decorated with business logos, the checkers who remain cheerful as they remind folks to both insert their card and remove their card, the business owners who say, “I can’t help you, but let me give you the number of someone who can” and the office workers who smile as they answer the same uninformed questions they’ve answered all day.
I give thanks for medical professionals who do their jobs with skill, while retaining their awareness of me as a person: the primary-care physician who hugs me after delivering news good or bad, the mammogram technician who is as quick as she is compassionate, the dentist who has yet to cause me pain and the physical therapist who teaches me strategies for recovering my health.
I give thanks for grown grandchildren with lives of their own, who choose to share those lives with Joel and me and forgive our oddities: going to bed when they are going out, choosing comfort over style and complaining about new technology as we look helplessly and hopefully at them.
I give thanks for the wiser heads of workers and strangers, who forgive my forays into foolishness: those who respond to my driving miscalculations with a headshake and smile rather than a blaring horn and profanity, those who laugh as they say, “It might be easier if you pull on that door” and those who say: “Don’t forget your purse. And are those your sunglasses?”
I give thanks for my health, for the way it has blessed me in the past and for the energy and comfort it provides today. I know my health could change in a heartbeat and one day will, but it has been a stalwart companion, returning to me time and again, even as my increasing years make recovery more difficult. I hope I can be as steadfast when it’s finally forced to desert me.
And, I give thanks for Joel in every way that matters.
Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at auntbeulah.com on the first and 15th of every month.
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