Thanks! For What?

I never really know how thankful I am until after Thanksgiving. At work, thank you is currency. I help dozens of people everyday and most times all it costs them is a thank you. You can tell a lot about a person by their thank you. I believe you can tell how thankful people are by their thank you’s. Often a thank you is not enough for some people, and I’ve been on the receiving end of many “have a blessed day.” This is not to be confused with a “bless your heart,” which is sometimes how people respond when I tell them I’m an amputee. Sometimes you can take thank you’s for granted, after all, it’s just a verbal gesture of politeness really. But it can be like a conversational black hole when you don’t get one. Sometimes what’s not said says it all. I’ve helped a patron hundreds of times for the last 9 years and I don’t recall her ever thanking me. I don’t take it personally, it is just who she is, and instead she will say, “I was just wonderin.” Actually, she reminds me a bit of my Grandma Samry, who was a widow for a long time and became more guarded as she got older, but honestly, she was always a bit ornery. Of course the opposite is the person who seemingly has to be the last word in an exchange, and it has nothing to do with appreciation. Ultimately, the outliers give me perspective. I appreciate all the regular and sincere thank you’s even more.

It’s nice to be appreciated at work, but this year is personally special. We moved into our new home in August. I had a poem published, my wife Sue and I have been healthy, and Oh, did I mention I made the final cut of USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage. It’s streaming now on Amazon and iTunes. If you watch it, pay particular attention to the Spam scene. About ten minutes later, there is a “high wide” of us in the raft rogether. The movie, in my opinion and many of the people I know who have seen it, is better than the reviews.

But the biggest news is that over the weekend my mom relocated to Fairhope, Alabama from Falmouth, Massachusetts. She joins my sister, who moved here in January. Three out of my four siblings live in Fairhope now. Yep, sorry southerners, more Damn Yankees! As life long Red Sox fans, please try to refer to us as Northerners.

Anyway, it’s unbelievable. I spent Monday morning sitting in mom’s new apartment. The relocation was postponed a few times over the last year or so. Her health, lack of wealth, and her attitude needed to align before it happened. Now it has!

Last time I saw her she was in the hospital after a fall that cracked her head open like a coconut and left her in a halo for six weeks. On top of that it happened on Mother’s Day. In her 80s she went jumping on the bed… and then fell off, hitting her head on a hotel bureau on the way down. Seeing her on the floor a few minutes after it happened, I’m thankful she’s still alive. Schilling just had the ‘bloody sock.’ My mom had well… there’s a picture, but we would never share it. The doctors ‘say’ she suffered no permanent damage, but it’s gonna take her another six months to fully recover from the trauma. She never expects the pain in her neck to go away. “It joins the pain in the middle of my back,” she says.
It was wonderful to be at our Monday Night Thanksgiving Welcome Home Party with family. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my mom and the rest of my family of 15, which includes two Canadians. And not just for a few hours on a holiday, but year round right here in Fairhope.