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Grateful I am

Stuck at home with a lousy cold since before Christmas, I’ve had lots of time to contemplate things for which I am grateful:

My grandson, who headed off to Marine boot camp in September 2021, finally got some leave and is home for the holidays. I haven’t seen him yet because I don’t want to risk making him sick, but he’s home safe and sound, relaxing with his mom, dad, and sister just a mile from here.

Through several days of record-setting subzero cold, I was here, safe and warm. My one-year-old furnace worked flawlessly, my open cabinets and dripping faucets prevented any frozen pipes, and I had no compelling reason to leave home. I had power to run the gas furnace. I had water to drink and drip. I had food to eat. I had a roof over my head. So many across the country — or the world — lack some or all of these things.

I’ve been grateful all year that I am not one of the many homeless (“unhoused”) people trying to survive on America’s streets. Job losses, skyrocketing housing costs, inflation … so many people living on the edge, or slipping into the abyss.

Four feet of snow in Buffalo, NY

A complex series of events involving dead batteries in several family cars required my 11-year-old Subaru to sit outside during those bitterly cold days and I feared its battery would be dead when I finally had to run an errand. Normally it would have been in the garage plugged into a battery tender. But it started right up and for several blocks I patted it on its dashboard and told it out loud how appreciative I was. Yeah, silly old woman here.

I’ve watched news about the incredible snowfall in Buffalo, NY, and thanked the stars that I no longer live in upstate New York. (I was there for about three years.) I didn’t live in Buffalo but in Oswego, on the shore of Lake Ontario, and just the normal winter there was more snow than I ever want to see again. Unlike Denver, where most snow is gone within a day or two, in Oswego it stuck around and accumulated all winter.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Congress

The unbelievable scenes of Southwest Airlines travelers stuck in airports for days at a time have convinced me that I never want to fly again, especially during holidays and certainly not on Southwest. In past years I might have been one of those passengers instead of just watching them on tv. Meanwhile, Southwest’s reputation is in the toilet and its management should probably be sued out of existence. Class action, anyone?

I watched Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to the US Congress and thought over and over again how much I respect and admire him, and how lucky I am that fortune didn’t put me in Ukraine this year. The US could certainly use a leader as selfless and dedicated to our country’s welfare as Zelenskyy is to his. Slava Ukraini!

Charlie

.After a year of mourning, uncertainty, and loneliness, I finally found and adopted an almost perfect (so far) rescue dog a month ago. Perhaps at my age (79) I shouldn’t have. And perhaps I shouldn’t have picked a dog big enough to knock me over (but I wanted a dog, not a yappy ankle-biter). I feel extremely lucky to have found Charlie. (Belated kudos and much appreciation to Mile High Labrador Retriever Mission.)

I’m grateful yet again for home delivery services and drivers. I needed groceries, and they were there. I needed more cough syrup, and they were there. And I’m grateful to have found a place that still had cough syrup! (Amazon Fresh, surprisingly.) Cold and flu meds are scarce around here.

Most of all, of course, I’m just grateful to be here.

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