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Friday, January 21, 2022

Commentary: Gratitude from last holiday is spreading in December

Here’s hoping that the time to eat more has come and gone… before I take my buttons off.

My bachelor son arrived a week before Thanksgiving and did most of the work preparing a delicious and traditional meal for the two of us on the Saturday before Turkey Day.

When he left, my other son and his wife came back from a trip and produced an extravaganza of food for seven people. Tasty, but wow!

Now I have removed the extra leaf from the table and washed the napkins. Is it Christmas time now?

Oops, not at all. It’s my birthday in early December. And this year I am determined to celebrate because I will be keeping everyone alive in my family for three generations.

Even though I am walking very slowly, looking at the world with blurry eyes and wearing a hearing aid, I am still here.

And I’m still enjoying those beautiful sunsets we’ve been in, still enjoying playing Scrabble with friends and being part of the neighborhood book club.

I do half of the work I used to do these days, but when you’re alone you only have half to do. And there’s no one to complain if you don’t make the bed sometimes.

I think the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make in recent years is to give up on my car, a necessary but painful decision that still hurts. Family has been wonderful about letting me ride, but it’s hard to bear the loss of independence after so many years.

Last Christmas, amid the recklessness and the pandemic, I bowed down and gave everyone the check.

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This year I’ve resolved to do better and with the help of a mountain of catalogs I’ve accumulated an impressive pile of things to give.

Of course, that means I have to wrap them, right? Oh dear. Luckily, I’ve collected a lot of holiday bags over the years. So, with the help of some red and green tissue paper, I’m reducing the pile one by one.

But back to my birthday: I’m just inviting some friends over to help me celebrate because the room will be full of family, too.

Suddenly, I realized that most of my contemporaries, even those who are still driving, do not like to drive after dark. So a helpful family member, who is still on the road night and day, volunteers to collect and return anyone who doesn’t want to brave the unpaved streets of Portuguese Bend.

So this week I’ll be calling the French Bakery to order a cake, begging for a ride to pick up the wines, and brainwashing my brain to come up with a simple menu hoping someone else will cook.

So… transportation, cake and champagne… that covers it, don’t you think?

Once we’re out of the way of birthdays, I’ll have to turn to Christmas decorations. But at my stage in life, I can only face one challenge at a time.

I’m still armored in the gratitude I felt at Thanksgiving—gratitude to friends and family and my own good fortune to enjoy my 89th birthday.

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