This started with reading John Archibald’s story about the small things that make you thankful. He is thankful for “the smell of cut grass” and “the pleasure of releasing the trigger on a gas pump and landing on an even dollar.”
It also started with reading “On this Date” by Annie Lighthart, today’s poem from The Writer’s Almanac. “On this date many things happened. Governments were heaved into being, creeds were repeated, maps and speeches given and believed. There was quiet on this date. A little boy lived. There was sleep, and one birdcall stitched all the way through. On this date there was longing. Someone walked through a room. One hand brushed loose crumbs into the other. The earth received them out the side door on this date, on this day.”
Maybe both of these came when I needed them.
The last three days I cleaned six months of clutter and neglect from the house and the barn, stomping my foot about it the whole time. Mosquito bites itch on my elbow, knee, and ankle. Baldwin County is again without a school superintendent, and Alabama is in a budget crisis. ISIS took two more cities in Syria, destroying lives and antiquities in a war that I don’t understand, and school is out and no longer keeping my two boys for seven hours a day, five days a week.
It is time to make my own list of the things I am thankful for.
There are the big things. Waking up and getting one more day. Family, friends, husband, kids, teachers, preachers, principals, and Michelle. Musicians and artists, store and restaurant owners, and the Crescent Theater bringing back downtown Mobile.
It is the small things. Sitting in the red Adirondack chair under the oak tree by the lake. My oldest boy sitting in the other chair with his own pile of books on the ground and a praying mantis crawling up his arm. A breeze and Catt’s Sunday Jazz Brunch.
It is finally cutting back the overgrown branches on the pear tree by the driveway that scrape the roof of my car.
It is a couple kissing in Manci’s parking lot.
It is the first warm, sweet Sun Gold tomato from the garden. Mockingbirds, windchimes, and dragonflies. Casting a fishing rod.
It is cleaning off my desk and finding the missing roll of tape. It is finishing the to-do list with time left to read.
It is eating fresh pralines at Three Georges made by LaShonda Kennedy. It is watching Charlana Quiovers twirl a baton in Backflash Antiques.
It is a best friend driving down to the beach tomorrow with a car full of groceries because she volunteered to cook for us for the week.
It is hearing “Danny’s All-Star Joint” for the first time and discovering Rickie Lee Jones.
It is Lisa Mills singing La Llorona in Spanish and Jamell Richardson’s excitement after playing one of the biggest shows of his career at The Hangout Festival.
It is looking at a rainbow, a thunderstorm, and a sunset at the Bluegill while listening to the Mobile Big Band Society play “Bandstand Boogie.” It is remembering Saturday mornings watching American Bandstand.
It is parking at the home of a college friend I haven’t seen in years and her neighbors charging my dead battery late at night. It is standing in her driveway and listening to the last songs of the Foo Fighters playing on the beach.
It is a text from a friend that says I was thinking about you.
As John Archibald says:
“I’m feeling thankful for the little things today.
Now that I think of it, I’m thankful for that, too.”