My theme for thankfulness in 2023 was based on the following: “If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy.”*
I began to think about the things I take for granted every day. I thought about Frank, the missionary in Africa, as he works in the slums of Uganda. If the people there saw how this very modest man of means (I have been on government assistance before, and I’m not very far from it even now) lives, they would think I’m a rich man. What do I have that I don’t even think about that would cause them to stare wide-eyed? Here’s my list.
#30daysofthanks day 1. I’m thankful for leftover pizza which made a fine lunch.
#30daysofthanks day two. Although we’ve been flirting with it, today was the first walk below freezing: 26.6°. I’m thankful for a little box called a thermostat. When it’s cold outside, this little device turns my home heater on so I wake up at 4:30am to a toasty warm environment.
#30daysofthanks day three. This little device is an oven igniter. Whenever I want chicken nuggets or bacon or biscuits or a cake this little device causes my oven to turn on. Sometimes they go bad, and I have to replace it. I can get one for $20 on Amazon, and in 15 to 30 minutes I can have it swapped out and have my oven up and running again without having to call a repair person. I am thankful for these parts and for what an oven allows my family to do.
#30daysofthanks day four. I’m thankful for basic thick white comfy socks.
#30daysofthanks day seven. A week in. Have you noticed a theme? Today I’m thankful for the Instant Pot. This device is so handy for us. I sautéed some carrots and onions and celery in it, then set it to pressure cook a few minutes just to get the vegetable soft. Then I’m going to set it to slow cook, and when Susan and I finally get home from busy days today we will be enjoying some chicken and rice soup. Sauté, pressure cook, and slow cook off from one device!
#30daysofthanks day eight. I’m thankful for voting day.
#30daysofthanks installment nine. I’m thankful for all manner of cheap paper products. I almost always have a tissue or a paper towel or a napkin in my pocket. Want to have a little snack but don’t have a plate handy? Need to blow your nose or wipe up something nasty from the ground? Bang your hand on something and you’ve got a little spot of blood? Maybe a loved one starts crying, or you need to discreetly get rid of a piece of gum. Cheap paper product to the rescue!
#30daysofthanks day ten. For my eyeglasses. It started of as a simple project today. I had a snare drum that needed some adjusting, so I went downstairs to the basement studio. I thought I would like to have a little music, but when I turned on the hifi there was no sound. Three hours and a repair to a speaker crossover later I finally was able to put some music on the turntable and hear it. Without my eyeglasses, my almost 52 year old eyes wouldn’t be able to see the tiny screws and small wires that I needed to manipulate so that I could have music in the basement.
#30daysofthanks installment 11. Yesterday I was thankful for all manner of cheap paper products. Today I put the last roll of toilet paper on the holder. What to do? Run to Walmart for the second time today! I’m thankful I’m only 15 or so minutes from toilet paper, Columbian coffee, sweet potato puffs, salad mix, and paper plates. I’m thankful for supermarkets and department stores.
#30daysofthanks day 12. Gas stations. On the way to my gig I noticed I needed gas. I had literally seven gas stations along the way which were willing to sell me fuel. The one I chose also offered coffee (to which I obliged myself to a cub of dark roast Columbian), pizza, chips, chocolate, breakfast sammiches, Tylenol, tube meats of all varieties, and beer. (I picked up none of the latter items.)
#30daysofthanks day 13. I was making a recipe this morning when I realized we didn’t have any apples. I sent a text to my neighbor cousin: “Are you awake? Are you home? If the answer to both of these is yes, do you have two apples I can borrow?“ I’m thankful for a neighbor close by with ample fruit stores.
#30daysofthanks day 14. For my sink. It’s not fancy, it’s not new, it doesn’t have “features,” but it gets the job done.
#30daysofthanks day 15. I’m thankful for plenty of clean shirts.
#30daysofthanks day 16. What do I have, close to double digits pairs of shoes? These “Hey Dude” knock offs were $20 or something, and boy howdy aren’t they just the comfiest! (Comfy white socks made the list earlier.)
#30daysofthanks day 17. I was walking this morning when I heard an unusual noise. It was the noise of a single leaf being blown across the road. And I could HEAR it. For those not aware, I had a growth on my eardrum removed a few years ago, and because of a couple surgeries, an eardrum rebuild, and a prosthetic “bone” in my ear, I don’t hear well on my left side. But I CAN still hear. And it’s all because of the medical system we have here in the US. And as messed up as it is, and as much as it gets poo-pooed, I’m thankful for access to that kind of medical care–the kind that lets some average citizen like me have a frickin’ tumor cut out of his ear and his hearing restored with a titanium prosthetic ear bone!
#30daysofthanks day 18. My weather station informs me how much clothing to wear on my winter walks. Is it 54° or 34°? Is it 20° with no wind, or does a 15mph wind make it FEEL like 20°? Depending on conditions I wear different clothes; my weather station helps me decide.
#30daysofthanks day 19. I’m thankful for freezers that allow me to buy food on sale today and enjoy it some time in the future. (Seems like it’s about time to enjoy that corned beef we bought on sale last March.)
#30daysofthanks day 20. I’m thankful for indoor toilets.
#30daysofthanks day 21, three weeks in. Years ago my wife and daughter bought me some flannel lined jeans. It was 19° this morning so I wore them today. They’re a little big on me but that extra room and the warm lining make them the comfiest pants in the world.
#30daysofthanks day 22. I took a paid day off today. Consider that. I did NOT go to wotk today, but my employer paid me anyway. I’m thankful for that and for my coworkers covering for me.
#30daysofthanks day 23. Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m going to reveal my theme now. I think it makes more sense to do it today than wait for the last day of November.
“If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies, a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world’s wealthy.”*
We frequently say “I have so much to be thankful for, things I take for granted.” Using that, and knowing that I’m in the top 5% of the world, I began to think about those things that 95% of the world may not have. Clothing like thick white socks, plenty of clean shirts, comfy shoes. Not only do I have a house, but I have a thermostat that turns my heat on, clean water from a water filter, and an indoor toilet. I have ample food–abundant even, held in freezers, and leftovers that I get to eat for lunch. I have eyeglasses to help me see and a healthcare plan to help me hear. I have the right to vote. I have tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, and paper plates. These simple things, well, perhaps when compared to the rest of the world, they’re not so simple. May I be thankful for these simple things.
#30daysofthanks day 24. Today I’ve watched Youtube on my iPad, a movie on my Roku, listened to podcasts on my iPhone, and browsed the web on my laptop. I’m thankful all this entertainment is available to me, and that I have leisure time to enjoy it.
#30daysofthanks day 25: I’m thankful for a washing machine and dryer that keep my ample supply of clothing clean.
#30daysofthanks day 26th. I’m thankful for, um, I don’t know, five different kinds of leftover pie. (Chocolate, lemon, maple, raspberry, and pumpkin cheesecake.) And I’m happy to live very close to my mom who made them all.
#30daysofthanks day 27. For our electrical grid. We lost power at the town office this morning. It was out 15 minutes or so. I’m thankful our electricity is rarely unavailable.
#30daysofthanks day 28. I’m thankful for aluminum sheet pans. Nachos, chicken nuggies, tater tots, roasted turkey, drip tray for pies, a carrying tray—a sheet pan can do it all.
#30daysofthanks day 30. “Parise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.”