My Thoughts, Exactly » Jim Chase

A Bushel of Thanks

I’ve written on this page before about a cherished tradition my family once had of putting up a Thanksgiving tree on our living room wall in mid-November each year. My wife is uniquely gifted when it comes to creative handicrafts (and cooking, too, but I don’t have room for that topic here). Every year, she would somehow transform a stack of brown paper grocery bags into a whimsical tree trunk and branches. Then, using yellow, orange and red construction paper, she’d cut out dozens upon dozens of autumn leaves about the size of your hand. We would put those blank leaves into a basket on the dining room table.

As Thanksgiving approached, any family member with something to be thankful for would take a blank construction paper leaf from the basket, write their name and that particular sentiment on the leaf with a marker and tape the leaf to one of the brown paper branches on the Thanksgiving tree.

By the time Thanksgiving Thursday rolled around each year, our “tree” was in full autumnal bloom with yellow and orange leaves of thanks from every member of our family and relatives or friends who may have stopped by to visit. The tree was always a thing of beauty – each year similar to others, yet with distinctively different thanks given from each of us.

Today, our “kids” are scattered from Kailua to Missoula and from San Diego to Santa Clarita. That, plus the reality that two of them have their own young families, in-laws who not-surprisingly also want time with them, the miles between us all, our busy lives (and throw in a shaky economy to really mess things up) – it all combines to create a situation that simply doesn’t allow us to gather together for Thanksgiving these days. Life happens, right?

I miss those days. But while our wall may not have had a tree on it for recent Thanksgivings, I’d like to take the opportunity to express my thankfulness in a slightly more public way. And so, with your indulgence, I’ll pull out just a few of my “leaves” from this year’s bushel, namely:

I’m profoundly thankful for the privilege this year of celebrating 25 years of marriage to my beautiful, patient, talented and devoted (among her many other qualities!) bride. In a rapidly changing culture that increasingly discounts the foundational importance of strong marriages, I don’t take our cherished union for granted and pray that I never give my wife a reason to think that I do. I am a blessed and grateful man, indeed.

I’m thankful that our four kids have grown into responsible, thriving persons who love God, love life and love this country.

I’m thankful for four beautiful, healthy, happy and growing grandkids. God willing, we’ll be blessed with many more in the coming years (along with the time, energy and resources to visit them all often!).

I’m thankful for cold and rainy days, dry firewood, a good roof and a sleepy old dog.

I’m thankful for contemporary technology like Facebook, Skype, IM’s, emails and smartphones. With the airline industry and Homeland Security teaming up to make travel costlier than ever (in terms of both finances, time and personal dignity), today’s technology has been a godsend for staying in touch.

I’m thankful that Montrose is still the same charming, hometown place it was when my mom would drop me off at the old, long-gone single-screen movie theater on Honolulu.

I’m thankful for Robin Goldsworthy and her tireless CV Weekly staff, its loyal and growing multitudes of subscribers, advertisers and supporters who have made the publication of this paper possible each week for well over two years now.

I have many more leaves, but no more space. So I’ll close by wishing you and yours a day to surround yourselves with the warmth of food, friends, family and faith.

I’ll see you ’round town.

© 2011 WordChaser, Inc.
Jim Chase is an award-
winning advertising copywriter and native of Southern California. Readers are invited to “friend” his My Thoughts Exactly page on Facebook.  Also visit Jim’s new blog with past columns and additional
thoughts at: http://