Turning the Key
I’ve heard it said that, “The key to happiness is forged from gratitude.” Okay – so, I actually made that one up. But the philosophy behind it comes from years of profound counsel from wise folks like nationally syndicated talk show host (and fellow Crescenta Valley resident) Dennis Prager, who says, “All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that being unhappy leads people to complain, but it’s truer to say that complaining leads to people becoming unhappy.”
I also love a quote from G.K. Chesterton: “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
It is in this spirit, and with your indulgence, that I would like to give thanks for but a few of my many, many blessings (wife, kids, health, home, country and community, included, of course).
I’m thankful for pumpkins and the lengthy menu of fabulous foods that can be made from the goopy, gloppy stuff. At the top of my favorites list is pumpkin pie. After that is ice cream, lattes, muffins, bread, scones and cookies. I’ve heard you can also make pumpkin butter, pudding, yogurt, smoothies, curried pumpkin (huh?) and even something called low-carb pumpkin and sausage soup. Might have to pass on that last one, though.
I’m thankful for college students who come home during breaks in the school year and leave a trail of hurricane-like flotsam and jetsam in every room of the house merely by walking through it. The amount of debris and dirty clothes and half-finished mugs of long-cold coffee and chargers and cables and key fobs that magically appear out of thin air is astounding. And I wouldn’t trade it for all the pristine, Martha-Stewart-like antiseptically clean, neat and sterile rooms in the world. Like I always say, nothing says “home” like clutter. My wife sticks her fingers in both ears and yells, “La-la-la-la-la!” when I say it, but I say it nonetheless.
I’m thankful for the outstanding servers at our many local restaurants. The legendary Lalo at Joselito’s in Montrose, for example, never fails to amaze my wife and me. We can go for months without dining there, and he will not only remember our favorite dishes (no onions in your enchilada, right?), he even teases us about how the restaurant has a surplus of bacon cheeseburgers because one of our sons has been away at college for the past few years. There’s a lot to be said for small-town living.
I’m thankful my formative years took place during the heyday of Hostess Brands. I can envision a time in the not-too-distant future with grandkids at my feet as I sit in rocker and reminisce to their enthralled, upturned faces about the once-common joys of Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Ho Hos and Zingers. A pox on your house, bakers union!
I’m thankful that as of tomorrow I can once again go out to my backyard and unlock the shipping container filled with Christmas music CDs that has been hermetically sealed since last New Year’s Eve. It is indeed, the most musically wonderful time of the year.
Finally, and most importantly, I’m thankful for God’s unceasing grace, His undeserved forgiveness and His unsurpassed gift of eternal redemption made freely available to all who ask in Jesus’ name.
To come full circle, I’ll leave you with a final thought from Catholic Benedictine monk and interfaith teacher Brother David Steindl-Rast: “In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.”
With that, I wish you and those you love a happy and thanks-filled holiday. I’ll see you ’round town.