Archive for June, 2011


This first appeared in the June issue of Forsyth Family magazine:

Sparkle Girl is remarkably diligent about thanking people, not just for the bigger stuff such as buying her a new skirt but also for the everyday things such as bringing her a glass of water. So I was startled the other day when she asked whether I ever thought she was ungrateful. On the contrary, I said. She is as good about saying thank you as anyone I know. Why did she ask?

Well, she said, I had gotten her a gelato just the day before and now she was wishing that she had another one and she was afraid that I would think she wasn’t grateful for the first one. It made me laugh. I told her that wanting another gelato didn’t mean she was ungrateful for the one she already received.

Garnet and Doobins are also good about saying, “Thank you.” People saying thank you makes a big difference in everyday life. When I let someone with only a couple of items in front of me in the check-out line at the grocery store and the person doesn’t acknowledge the courtesy with a thank-you, I may – Garnet can attest – still be trying to shrug off my irritation when I get home.

I once heard that taking note of how grateful you feel is a good way to gauge how well you’re doing spiritually. I have certainly found that, when I wander into a cul-de-sac of self-pity or complaint, stopping to remind myself to think about all that I have to be grateful for can put me back on the right track. High on my list of things for which I’m grateful is where we live.

Day in, day out, this area is hard to beat. I like that – the occasional grocery-line ingrate aside – when you’re out and about, most of the people you encounter are quite pleasant. I like that, when it comes to civilization, we have the essentials – Krispy Kreme doughnuts, bagels, 24-hour drugstores – but that Nature is never far away. Although I like to imagine having a home with a spectacular view on the side of a mountain, the truth is, when I’m out of half-and-half, I’m not really interested in a 30-minute drive to get more.

One of my favorite children’s books (I wish I had written it) is “The Best Place” by Susan Meddaugh. A wolf thinks that his screened porch is the best place in the world until a well-traveled bird plants the seed of doubt in his mind. So the wolf travels the world to see if someplace else might be better. When I was young, I was sure there were places better than here, and, when I graduated from West Forsyth, I left as quickly as I could.

After being bitten by mosquitoes in South America and soaked by rain in London, the wolf longs for his screened porch and heads home. Unfortunately, I was coming home to mosquitoes, so it took me a little while to decide to come back. But I sure am glad that I did.