Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I was thinking last night that I actually have blessings to count.  Everybody does, even those who are eternal pessimists.  So I thought I'd list a few here.

1.  I have an education.  I was fortunate enough to have parents who believed in education, despite the fact that neither finished high school.  Or maybe it was because they didn't finish high school that they believed that education was a necessity.  My father never made it past eighth grade but he made a deal with both my sister and me:  Go to college and graduate and he would foot the bill entirely; fail to graduate and we'd have to pay him back every penny.  We both graduated, I from the College of Charleston and Carla from Clemson.  Neither of us finished in the usual four years.  Carla had to go part-time as she was a young newly-wed and mother (her daughter once asked her, "How come you get to go to school when you're just a mommy?").  I, on the other hand, took six years to graduate because I changed my major twice and (gulp!) flunked out once.  I had to lay out a semester to get my shit feces together.  I finally settled on fine arts as a major and my GPA shot up.  When I graduated, my mother gave me a card that said, "Graduating already?"  She did have a sense of humor.  My parents also helped me out when I went to graduate school, although I didn't ask them to pay for it, and now I also have a master's degree.

2.  My sister.  We haven't always gotten along.  She's older than I am and she used to have a mean streak a mile wide.  When we were kids, she would pinch me and beat on me and just generally be disagreeable.  Then when I was 12 I had had enough.  She slapped me and I hauled off and hit her back.  Then I sat down and cried.  She never touched me again after that, at least not in a mean way.  Maybe she was just trying to toughen me up, I don't know (never thought to ask).  Now that we're a tiny way past middle age, we get along fine.  She's one of my favorite people.  We don't see each other very often but every few months one of us will call the other and we'll talk for an hour or more.  The last time I saw her we went out to dinner and she apologized for having been so mean.  When she was about fifteen, a neighbor who was my age but bigger than Carla, dared to touch her breast and she bloodied his nose.  His mother stormed over to our house and demanded that my father punish Carla, and Daddy told her just where she could go and why.  Carla was feisty.  Now she's mellowed and quite philosophical, just my kind of person.  She's also very good-hearted and I love her.

3.  The family I married into.  I couldn't ask for better in-laws.  At my father-in-law's funeral recently, Richard's sister's husband and I agreed that we had the best father-in-law ever, and we did.  My sister-in-law (Beverly) is another of my favorite people, as is Paul, her husband, and Katie and Alex, their daughters.  And I love my mother -in-law.  Not everybody can say that.

4.  I have a job.  In the current economic situation, this is truly a blessing.   Although I am looking forward to retirement, I'm glad I have a job.  They don't pay me diddly-squat, but I have a job.

5. Sunrises and sunsets.  So far in my life they have come around like clockwork, beginning and ending each day, and I'm grateful for every one of them.  I would love to live somewhere that regularly has beautiful sunrises and sunsets and to live in a house that has views to both the east and west.  I love seeing them over water, especially at the beach.

6.  I live in a democracy.  Our democracy is struggling right now, what with all the partisan politics (we need statesmen, not career politicians), but I wouldn't live anywhere else.  Well, maybe Canada except that I would freeze to death the first winter.  I imagine the founding fathers are all spinning in their graves at this time.  But the good old U.S. of A. is home.

7.  I live in the American South.  It's warm down here.  The winters are not harsh.  We have good people.  We have good food.  I once had a t-shirt bearing a description of the South.  I don't remember the exact wording, but it mentioned magnolias, peaches, front porches, cool breezes, and fried chicken.  The South is like anywhere else in the country, except that we all talk funny.  Some people not of the South think we're all racists down here, but we're still no different than the rest of the country.  (Racism is ugly, no matter where it is, from D.C. all the way to the tiniest rural hamlet in northern Minnesota.)

8.  Indoor plumbing.  When I was under the age of six, we lived in a house out in the country with four rooms and a path.  The path led down toward the woods to an outhouse.  It was a two holer.  We had electricity, but not running water.  I don't know how my parents managed, but they did.  We had a well out by the back porch (the kind with a pulley and a bucket).  I remember one summer when my aunt and her kids were staying with us that Mama and my aunt would fill up two #2 galvanized washtubs with water and take turns bathing us kids; one washed and one rinsed.  Thank God for indoor toilets and showers! 

9.  Cats and dogs.  Animals add so much to our lives.  You love an animal, it loves you back.  They know.  People with animals around them have lower blood pressure.  And the little critters have such personality!

10.  Good food.  I love to eat.  I love to go out to dinner.  And I love to cruise recipe websites.  I love parties, family gatherings, pizza, creme brulee, corn, bread, cheesecake, pie, carrots, etc.  I could go on.  I just wish that plant breeders would breed for flavor and not shelf life.  There's nothing like a good tomato sandwich in the summer.  Or peach pie.  Yummmm!

Take care, y'all.  Tell me about your blessings.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Being blessed in #3 as you are is the best gift I could have ever received.