Annual Thanksgiving Message

For 24 years, I have been running variations of the same Thanksgiving column, listing the things for which I am thankful. During the years when I had stopped posting regular blog entries, I started writing regular entries in a gratitude journal, which got me to thinking of the difference between thankful and grateful. Google isn't much help:

Grateful: feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.
Thankful: pleased and relieved, grateful

So, basically, it treats the words as synonymous. I do still give thanks for my health and my family. I am also grateful to have them in my life. I am grateful to be of use, to my family and others. [Turns out service is a Love Language] I am grateful for the love I get and the loving kindness I am now obliged to give everyone, since my heart Chakra opened.

 I am grateful that my medical problems are all treatable. Every day, I am grateful to be here, because every minute I have had since January 2007 has been a gift. I cherish that gift. I don't need Clarence the Angel to show me that this is a wonderful life; unlike George Bailey, I have never for a moment doubted that the world is a better place for my being in it. I give thanks for my blessings every morning, and expect to do so for the rest of my life. And, yes, especially on Thanksgiving Day.

Finally, if you feel life has been dealing to you from the bottom of the deck, I recommend the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. Write down one or two things each day for which you are grateful. Big or small, serious or silly. You may find it helps you keep things in perspective; I know it has had that effect on me. Going back and rereading it sometimes can be an interesting and rewarding activity.


Things You’ll Never See/Hear Again Redux

(length warning) You are probably aware that song lyrics stay with us much longer than text. The only reason I know the gender of the German word Hut is because of the song Mr. Knopf taught us: “Mein hut, der hat drei ecken.”

I learned a great deal of popular music and a few folk songs from my mother. When I was around six years old she went to college. She taught me a song popular at Portland State in the 50s. There are a few Internet citations, but not many.

There are multiple verses, but the ones I remember are:

For it’s beer, beer, beer that makes us want to cheer,
On the farm, on the farm,
For it’s beer, beer, beer that makes us want to cheer,
On the Leland Stanford Junior Varsity Farm.

For it’s gin, gin, gin that makes us want to sin,
On the farm…

For it’s vodka, vodka, vodka, that makes us feel we oughta

For it’s Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey that makes us feel so frisky

And of course what’s a college drinking song without a risqué ending:

For  it’s split-pea soup that makes us want a… crumpet.

This was usually combined with

We never stagger, we never fall,
We sober up on wood alcohol.
Send that freshman out for gin,
And don’t let a sober sophomore in.
And finally, from a different source

Let’s all drink to our misspent youth,
Three parts gin, one part vermouth.


Things You’ll Never See/Hear Again

(length warning) I was just saying “six of one, half a dozen of the other” (that is, these two things are one and the same) when I realized I belong to the last generation that will ever say that. I am not even sure the generations behind us know what a dozen is.

“A pint’s a pound the world around”  will be useless to a generation raised on liters and kilograms. Almost as useless as cursive handwriting, which my daughters can read but don’t regularly write. My grandchildren probably won’t even be able to read it. I decided to type up all my journals from 1970-1977, on the grounds that otherwise, in a few years, they will be as indecipherable as hieroglyphics.

My daughters learned to read an analog clock (there’s a retronym for you), but they have never used the language of that form of time-telling. “It’s a quarter till,” I used to say to my girls, or “It’s half past.”  “A quarter till what?” they asked. Neither owns a wristwatch (well OK, one has an IWatch).

They’ve seen dial telephones but never used one to make a call. Neither has a land line or subscribes to a newspaper.

Mental arithmetic? Dying out.

My own family has often accused me of having a great century-old vocabulary. I fear that’s true, but in for a penny, in for a pound. This is what happens when you make it to 70. Well, hubba-hubba. I was 13 before my dad taught me the rest of that: “Hubba-Hubba, ring-a-ding, baby you’ve got everything, woo-woo.”

 Not to mention another phrase I learned from Dad: “You’re a swell flapper. What have you got under the flap?” Google  comes up with no citations… except from now on, this sentence.

My mother used to say, “See you later alligator,” and I was an adult before I heard the other half, “In a while, crocodile.”


Should You Thank A Man?

I remember a discussion that was held with some vigor in the early days of second-wave feminism: should you thank a man for doing housework? Isn’t that the least you should expect? Do you say thank you for doing what you’re supposed to do?

If you want to see the depth of feeling that attaches to this issue still, Google “should you thank a man.”

I prefer the solution we use at our house―even though the literature says this usage is vile and wrong and demeaning as well. We thank each other for the daily things we do. I see nothing wrong with expressing gratitude to your partner for keeping the house running. Especially as I believe I am doing my fair share. Thank goodness we have reached an accommodation; I do the things I don’t hate, she does the things she doesn’t hate. Everything gets done and the work is evenly divided.