October is over. November has begun.
For me, like many, the month of November is about thankfulness. Gratefulness. Thirty days in the waning of the year to recount and count the many blessings that Providence has bestowed. It is a time to take stock of the year’s successes and failures, gains and losses, laughter and tears. A time to account for the changes that time has wrought and a time to prepare for the new year to come.
I know thirty days of this-and-that are all the rage nowadays, as people attempt to find a better body, a better perspective, a better life, through checklists; measuring success, or for that matter, failure one box at a time. But I know better. Or at least an old professor of mine did, when he proffered that the lawyer that was good at making checklists was the lawyer that was terrible at practicing law. Read into this what you may.
Thirty days of gratefulness didn’t start as a checklist for me, with prompts for those days when I couldn’t think of anything I was really “thankful” for. It started when my son began Kindergarten. From Day One, I packed a little hand-drawn note in his lunch box to let him know I was thinking about him throughout the day. When November came and my creativity was lagging, I decided to use my cards to recite to him all of the things about him I was thankful for. The notecard and thankfulness idea carried over to my daughter during her first year of school.
Although the card drawing finally ended, counting my blessings in November remained. So to begin my thank offering for 2017, I want to start where I began, with my parents. To say I am who I am because of them would be cliché, but the truth is I am.
My daddy, my best friend, instilled in me a love for books and learning. He once said that people can take many things from a person, but they can’t take away one’s education. He has dedicated his life to ensuring that each of his own children, and those of countless others, have received an education or at the very least a better one. Through scholarships, service on the boards of a state college and our county library, and his tireless work to help local schools improve, whether by serving on accreditation teams, helping secure grants and funding, paying for entire school groups to attend luncheons with authors, or donating money and books to school libraries, he has acted out his beneficence. He is father wise, not just to me but to many, without whose help my, their, our educational goals may not have been realized.
My daddy and I playing “trains.”
My mother, the conservationist, the lover of animals passed her bleeding heart on to me. As a kid, she introduced me to horses and the love of riding, a hobby she pursued from her earliest childhood. She also introduced me to orphaned deer, Bucky, Heena, Sheena and Adelaide, which she hand-fed back to health and kept in our playroom bathroom until they were old enough to return to the wild. She’s fed raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and even most recently a wake of buzzards, although they were unintended visitors to her smorgasbord. She’s spent a lifetime observing and appreciating the abundance of life all around us, and protecting her furry friends from illegal poaching. She is mother earth, the seer of the unseen, the defender of the natural.
Sister the First and I with Bucky circa 1979.
I am blessed that both of my parents are still living and that I am finally back in Bama and closer to them once again. I am grateful for the impact they’ve had on my character. I offer thanks for the passions they have instilled in me, and hope that I am a worthy vessel of their legacy.