Posted by: wrmcnutt | November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Right now my life is . . . complicated.  There’s a lot going on.  With the decline in my Dad’s health, I’ve had to undertake a great deal of his business.  And he’s not a simple man.  There are the rental properties, his home, his cat, and his banking.  Then there’s his doctors, insurance, the Recovery Center, and his future.  And then there’s my life.  So yeah, there’s a lot going on.

And yet, I’m thankful for my Dad.  This is, I admit, the hard part, but for the other 45 years I’ve been around, it’s been easy.  But what he’s given me has been worth it.  I’ve got a list of skills.  Carpentry, plumbing, sheetrock, auto mechanics, knot tying, painting, brick laying . . .  all these things and more.  People are surprised when the computer network manager knows how to run a chainsaw.  And they ask me where I learned it, and I get to get all Kesuke Miyagi and say, “Father teach, long time ago.”  But that’s all trivia.  Hard skills are something that can be learned by anybody who can pay attention and learn from his mistakes.

It was from him I learned that there is nothing, nothing that I cannot do.

Any task, any goal, any desire can be achieved if I apply enough time, energy, and intellect to it.  Oh, it’s a two-edged sword, I admit.  In addition to placing everything within my reach, it also places responsilbity for failure squarely on my shoulders.  Anything I fail at, it’s because I didn’t plan well enough, or work hard enough.  But I’ll take that, if it means that I can reach anything. So yeah.  I’m thankful for my Dad.

And then there’s these guys. Those who put themselves in harms way that the rest of us might eat turkey safely need to be remembered at some point during the festivities, so please take a few moments to remember our loved ones who are deployed far away, in sandy tents in the Middle East, in cold metal buildings in Korea, or under the sea on patrol.  They’ve chosen to live the life they do, that we might live the one we do.  I’m thankful the US armed forces.

How about my dining partner?  The nice lady in all those restaurant reviews who orders the fish so that I don’t have to?  Lord knows, I’m thankful for her.  Her life doesn’t even slightly resemble what it she thought it was when she was a girl.   She comes from a solid working-class family.  Real salt of the earth, East Tennessee folks.  If things had worked out the way she expected, she’d be going to high school football games to cheer on her sons.  Instead she goes to medieval tournaments to cheer on her eternally juvenile husband.  She comes from a power-boating tradition.  I sail.  She likes low-fat, organic food.  Hand me another hog, deep-fried in clarified butter.  Beer?  No, wine thank you.  Practically every day I am thankful that she can see past my flaws, which are many, to my merits, which are few, and sticks around.

Mom’s gone now, but I remain thankful for her.  Mom taught me how to fight.  And that you haven’t lost the fight until you decide that it’s time to stop fighting.  Admittedly, she also taught me how to carry a grudge.  Perhaps I should review some of those from 1969 and see which ones are still worth hanging on to.  If Dad showed me what I could accomplish, it was Mom who showed me who I am.  I am a Southerner, for which I make no apologies.  I believe that actions, not thoughts, define who we are.  It doesn’t matter what tempts you, only what you do about it.  From Mom comes my appreciation of music, and therefore, the years I spent in the marching band.  Those were good times, and they wouldn’t have happened without Mom’s support.

Hey, check it out:  roof, walls, floor, doors that work!  It’s getting cold outside, but I have a home.  That’s the result of my bride’s grandparents, parents, my Mom, and our own labor.  We own our own home, tiny as it is.  I’m thankful for that.  The leak in the living room roof, that I’m not so thankful for.  But then again, I can probably fix it.  Which will make me thankful to Dad again.

I’m thankful for my job. It’s work I’m good at.  Within reason, I schedule my own hours.  I’m thankful for my bosses, who have given the the flexibility to deal with the multitudinous issues that come up when a parent becomes old and busted.  And I am particularly thankful for my colleges, who have faced missed meetings, delayed deliverable, and in general picked up my professional slack as I have been absent or distracted over the past five months, and with no end in sight.

No matter where you are in life, you came from somewhere, you’re where you are, and there’s someplace that you’re going.  The people who have guided your path, lifted you up, and given you strength are the most important things that have touched you.

Happy Thanksgiving

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  1. Have a wonderful holiday, and kiss and hug the wonder wife for me 🙂

  2. Amen to all of that. Especially the thanks for your work situation. Been there, done that, and I too had a wonderful boss and coworkers who supported me throughout.

    Happy Turkey Day and hugs to you both.

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