Column: Feeling thankful for so many things
Not long before my mother died, in 2007, she presented me with a long handwritten note listing the people, events and things in her life for which she was particularly thankful. Since then, during the Christmas holidays, I’ve made a similar list, and shared it with a small circle of friends and family.
This year it gets a wider circulation.
Some (mostly) New Hampshire-centric things Susan and I are thankful for as 2012 winds down:
∎ Our son’s and daughter’s apparent continuing happiness with their lives, their work and their relationships with their parents; and their desire (or at least willingness) to come see us up here now and then.
∎ Grandson Kyle, soon to be 5.
∎ The friendships we continue to maintain – with folks we’ve known since our school days, with old colleagues from work, with friends and neighbors from our New Jersey years, and with assorted others, some of whom also drop by occasionally.
∎ The little piece of property on Bradley Lake in Andover, which has had a little seasonal family camp on it since the early 1900s and which offers a commanding view of Mount Kearsarge.
∎ The pair of common loons that nest on Bradley Lake nearly every year, the Loon Preservation Committee over in Moultonboro that watches over them, and neighbors Dot and Mary who serve as the lake’s “loon rangers.”
∎ The 1835 farmhouse on Chase Hill Road in East Andover, acquired as our terminal home two years ago, and all the contractors (in particular, good friend Les), who have, without bankrupting us, made it an extremely comfortable place to be.
∎ The continuing opportunities to serve as semi-useful volunteers in other great places and among great people (Santa Fe with the National Park Service coming up in April).
∎ Our medical-support team of physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses and others at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, the Lakes Region General Hospital and its affiliates, New London Hospital, the Andover Family Practice, the Kearsarge Chiropractic Clinic, and Ragged Mountain Physical Therapy e_SEnD all of whom seem like nice, competent and truly helpful people. The parking everywhere is plentiful and free, and we never have to sit and wait for hours.
∎ The ideas about thrift and delayed gratification our parents (who came of age during the Great Depression) instilled in Susan and me – ideas that have led to a long habit of living within our means, putting money aside, and not envying those who have more than we do – and thus being able to enjoy a reasonably comfortable retirement.
∎ My two defined pensions, our two Social Security checks and Medicare, all of which we earned.
∎ The fact that we continue to be able to walk reasonably fast, and for considerable distances, if not run much anymore.
∎ The way the 2012 elections turned out at the national, state and local levels.
∎ The fact that Susan and I remain able to do the New York Times crossword puzzles (and I am better at it than she is).
∎ The fact that, despite this flatlander’s need for protective coloration, I have been able to resist the urge to buy a used pickup truck (so far).
∎ Meghan, the local hair stylist, who gives me a nice Anderson Cooperish haircut that lasts six months before it needs mowing again.
∎ The local historical society, energy committee, conservation commission, library board, town Democratic committee, yoga class and reading groups that keep Susan and me off the streets most evenings.
∎ The invention and continuous improvement of the digital camera, which allows a person to take unlimited photographs at no cost, and which has provided a whole new way of interacting with the world around me.
∎ The Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack and Grafton Counties, who have given Susan and me, and countless others, an extraordinary opportunity to walk, bike, snowmobile, run, bird, fish, etc., along some 52 miles of accessible wilderness corridor.
∎ The trusty 8-year-old Subaru, which has taken us to every state but Hawaii without complaint, and which still has another 100,000 miles left in it, if the salesman was correct.
∎ As winter arrives, the folks behind the snowplows who keep the driveway, the back roads and the highways clear and the icy patches sanded, helping us avoid early-onset cabin fever.
∎ The Blackwater Junction restaurant and its famous (in our family) Sunday-morning Blackwater Breakfasts.
∎ The state liquor stores and their low, low prices and wide selections.
∎ Andover’s monthly newspaper, the Beacon, run as a nonprofit and delivered free to everyone in town who has a mail drop.
∎ The interest local folks are expressing – and acting on – with regard to energy conservation and alternative energy, even though not everyone will admit that human beings contribute at least somewhat to climate change.
∎ Laura Knoy, NHPR and NHPTV.
∎ My ancestors, who had the foresight to settle here in 1765 and stick around for a good long time.
∎ Finally, the fact that in the summer when I was 10, my mother made me sit for an hour every weekday before the old Royal portable and learn to touch-type – an accomplishment that made possible a career of sitting in front of a QWERTY keyboard as an industrial-strength PR writer, and that still pays dividends, as evidenced by these words being composed on a similar keyboard at age 72.
(Larry Chase of Andover
is a recovering corporate American.)