Thursday, November 27, 2008
Close to Nowhere
I am blessed
Thanksgiving is the time of year when we count our blessings (and name them, one by one).
Even though most of us have suffered setbacks and had trials and tribulations during the past year, we have also been blessed.
I am thankful, and I count them, one by one.
I am blessed with family — those gone and those still with me. I was blessed with a wonderful, quiet, gentle, Christian mother. My dad had a quick sense of humor.
Peggy, the half-sister I grew up with was sometimes not quite patient — I think as a child, I was one of her trials. Now that she is gone, there is no one left who knew and remembers me as a child.
I still have my two brothers — they are more than brothers. After the death of our mother, the youngest came to live with us; and to this day, Pop can’t remember that Danny is not actually our son. People tend to look at him funny when he says “that’s my oldest boy!” Pop was about 13 or so when Danny was born. I was 11.
My older brother Dennis is also my best friend. He is constant and loyal, with a quick, quirky sense of humor. He is totally dependable and is a wonderful uncle to his two young great-nieces. He was a wonderful uncle to his niece and nephew and has grown into the role of great-uncle with panache!
I am blessed with an older half-sister, Jackie, that I didn’t get to know until I was an adult. I am so grateful that over the past several years that we have been able to get to know each other. The “distant, sisterly love” has developed into a close, “real sister” love. And I am blessed to know my sister’s “other” sister. Rahe is wonderful and multi-talented. “The sister of my sister is my sister.”
I was also blessed with a fantastic “in-law” family. My father-in-law was perhaps the kindest, most gentle, giant of a bear that I’ve ever known. My mother-in-law was a completely devoted grandmother while “her” grandkids were growing up. Then, there was cousin David, who died as a victim of Agent Orange—a little souvenir from Vietnam. He was the one who taught our kids patiently, about the outdoors and four-wheelers and fishing and to love the wilderness.
Pop’s cousin Carolyn should have been my sister. Our daughters grew up together and, while we never actually grew up, we did grow to be grandmothers together.
Pop’s grandmother was as much my grandmother as she could be. When the Banner correspondent for the Calhoun County Journal would call and ask about visitors and news for the Banner community news, Ma would sometimes say “My granddaughter and her husband are here, with their kids.”
I have been blessed with great and wonderful friends. Thirty years ago, when I was a timid, house-bound hermit type, Fran came along and dragged me — laughing like a loon — into the world. We haven’t seen each other in over 25 years, but through the blessings of the Internet, we are still family.
Then, God gave me Jane. She's taught me to quilt (I might be thankful for that, but the jury is still out on that particular obsession) and she taught me that a "steel magnolia" is a wonderful, strong thing. We've cried and laughed together, we‚ve been lost beyond comprehension together and we have always found our way again together.
I have been blessed to be the caretaker of a small slice of heaven in the Mississippi wilderness. I have been blessed with a warm, comfortable (albeit really messy) home and a well-stocked pantry — in part thanks to Pop who, just like his father, can't buy two cans of anything, he has to buy a case.
I have been blessed with a job I love and a work family beyond compare. The South Reporter “family” is truly a family — we can and do depend on each other, not only at work, but in our “real” lives as well.
The past year, like many before it, has not been the easiest year — yet, I have been so blessed and I am so thankful.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm100:4-5 (NIV)
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