Reflections on summertime gratitude
In this season of life, Connie Cronley is grateful for a car that starts, swift repairmen, mockingbirds and a new pair of shoes for autumn.
I understand that gratitude is a healing virtue. I’m glad to know that. Thankful, in fact.
We’re advised to keep a gratitude journal, or at least, before we go to sleep at night, think of three, or five, or seven — I forget which — things we’re grateful for that day. Not the same old wonderful things, different wonderful things. I can do that.
Here is some of my summer gratitude:
I’m thankful I have a car that starts. It hasn’t always been so with the cars of my life. My first car was a Hawaiian metallic bronze 1953 Ford with a continental kit. Occasionally the starter would lock and then the car had to be rocked back and forth until it clicked loose. I couldn’t do this myself, and usually the brawny young men I enlisted to help didn’t believe me. I was a girl; what did I know about cars?
“Dead battery,” they’d say. “I got cables in my trunk.” When the battery cables were attached, sparks zinged and the young men jumped straight up.
“Not the battery,” they’d mumble, glaring at me for this humiliation.
“All we have to do is rock it back and forth a couple of times,” I’d say again. We did, the starter clicked, and the young men walked away silently, me calling, “Thank you again,” at their angry backs.
After college I had a blue Saab with a pull starter. Too often, the cable broke when I pulled it and the car wouldn’t start until it was repaired. No matter how much I rocked it back and forth.
So, at the top of my list, I’m thankful I have a car that starts. And, since it’s summer, I’m thankful I’m not taking a cross-country driving vacation with the car full of family, coolers of sandwich makings and no air conditioning, just open windows with hot wind and short tempers.
I’m thankful I can stay home and admire my lawn.
After excessive agitation and expense, I’m thankful I have a lawn with thick grass. And, I’m thankful somebody mows the grass for me. I used to mow my own lawns. For a while, I had a push mower in the misguided belief that it would help me stay strong and toned. I’m thankful I got rid of that idea and the push mower. After that, I had a battery-operated lawn mower. I’m thankful it finally broke and gave me reason to hire someone.
I’m thankful for cold-brew tea so I don’t have to wait for the gallon of sun tea to brew.
I’m thankful for the dog groomer who keeps dog hair from piling up like tumbleweeds along the baseboards and in the corners. Now it gathers only in small piles.
I’m thankful for the repairmen who come when I call them for the air conditioner and plumbing and the electrical outlet that caught fire.
I’m thankful people regularly pick up my trash and recycling cans. I grew up in a small town where we had to burn or haul our own trash.
I’m thankful for neighborhood children with basketballs and bicycles. I like seeing them eat birthday cake with their friends on the front porch.
I’m thankful for sidewalk chalk and children’s artwork at outdoor cafes.
I’m thankful for having mail, newspapers and magazines delivered right to my house.
I’m thankful my patio tomato plant had one ripe tomato that the birds didn’t find before I did. One is more than last year.
I’m grateful the mockingbirds are back with such lovely repertoires. Last year, a red-tailed hawk in the big sycamore tree kept them away. I’m thankful for the crows who moved into the sycamore tree and told the hawk to scram.
I’m thankful I have a good book waiting for me at the end of the summer’s day.
And I’m thankful I have funky new orange shoes for the fall. I’m very thankful fall is on the way.