When I was a little girl, as we joined around the table at Thanksgiving, my father would have each of us kids stand up independently to recite the things for which we were thankful. He wouldn’t catch us off guard; he’d remind us well ahead of the meal that he would like for us each to say a few words. Yikes! It was my first speaking engagement.
You would have thought we were each speaking to a filled auditorium, not a table of the people who loved us the most. It didn’t really matter what we said, but Dad was taking the moment for another learning opportunity. He’s a retired professor; he did a lot of that seize-the-moment-for-another-lesson thing.
Today I look back on it fondly, as one of the many great things about my upbringing. There were many. We don’t have a lot of traditions in my family, but this was one of them. I wonder what memories my siblings have of this, but never remember to ask them about it. Maybe I will this year.
So Dad, this year, I am thankful for you and for my wonderful family,
• For my girls who keep me beaming with pride;
• For my husband Bill who makes me laugh;
• For my friends, old and new;
• For my co-workers, who I consider my friends;
• For the many wonderful animals who have been in my life;
• And for health, security and happiness.
Happy Thanksgiving. May you enjoy wonderful traditions with your family and friends throughout this holiday season.
I think of my mom as the original, “Just Do It,” person. She was that way long
before Nike penned the tagline. She never said it. She just did it.
course there are the regular mom things, like getting me my first kitten, taking
me to Girl Scouts, watching my tennis matches, cooking roast beef and rice and
gravy (our favorite), and so much more, but I want to particularly thank her
for inspiring me by being:
that skinny kid who thought
riding lessons would be a good thing to try (she’s the second from the left,
taken at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama),
the young woman who went away to
art school, leaving home so she could become a fashion designer (she didn’t end
up in the fashion industry, but she has been a lifelong artist),
a mother of one child, living in South America with my Dad while he studied and taught there (she traveled home to have me then two more in the next two years),
the VISTA* driver who despite
having four children at home took time to transport poor patients to healthcare
an adventurer who decided in her
40s that she should be certified to SCUBA dive and so just did it,
the traveler who drove across the
South and into Mexico many times, sometimes with all of us, sometimes just with
her teen kids or my dad and friends,
an artist who loves languages and
journeyed to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and Toulouse, France to study,
a road warrior who drove 13 hours
by herself to see her new granddaughter (‘Gramps’ joined us later),
a trooper… as now while she lives
with Parkinson’s Disease she is still tenacious and has a lasting sense of
laughed a lot through the years, quite often getting near hysterical over the
least of things. She still inspires me … to laugh … and to just do it! Thanks Mama.
*AmeriCorps VISTA is the national service program designed specifically
to fight poverty; it was founded as Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) in