Giving Gratitude for Blessings of All Kinds
Sometimes thanks can even be in order for hard but helpful lessons learned
While I am at it, my second round of thanks goes to my mother for her endless pieces of wisdom, boundless love and encouragement, a sense of style and so much I cannot even keep proper inventory. But an additional and admittedly unusual thanks goes to my mom because she did not like to cook. So I learned to love it.
Our home menus for eight were about convenience, simplicity, speed and a host of prepared supplementary foods boxed, canned and frozen. Beyond the mandatory tuna potato chip casserole and TV dinners that defined the gastronomic delicacies of my generation, my mom made a recurring meal — a centerpiece of meat that had cooked all day, heated frozen vegetables, and mashed potatoes that came from buds in a box, stirred with water.
I vowed when I could reach the stove top I would spice up our dinners with some surprising flavors. My mother was grateful for the help and I loved the reception from my dad, brothers and sisters.
I still love to cook because I know that a little more time and a few fresh ingredients — basil, artichokes, arugula, fresh tomatoes, Parmesan and red peppers — can transform a frozen pizza to an exquisite indulgence.
Professionally, I am grateful to my first boss out of graduate school — the owner and publisher of a magazine where the office politics revolved around his wife, a secretary and me — in spite of the masthead filled with names I learned he simply fabricated.
“When is the assistant editor coming in?” I asked about two weeks into the job. There is no assistant editor, the secretary told me, the name is fiction, as are all the other positions and surnames making the operation looking five times larger than it is.
“Are those new glasses?” the publisher and editor said to me one morning in an unusually cheery tone.
“Why, no, I’ve had these for a few years.”
“Well it’s time to get your eyes checked and get a new prescription because you missed three errors copy editing this month’s edition,” he said with a scowl.
With that, I learned that not every man was a prince — or even a duke — like my father or my brothers and sons, and I am grateful for that lesson.
This time of year it seems we are all giving thanks for the obvious and the not-so-obvious gifts. I join in praise for the people and circumstances that have populated my life, including the not-so-great ones, even if it is too late to send a note.Edit Module