Cogitation 37 Saturday 24 November 2018 When you take backroads to a destination you can’t be in a hurry.
Likewise, when you stop to name your gratitudes you can’t be in a hurry.
As we were travelling backroads earlier this week to visit family and friends in Canada, I jotted a list of some of the things for which I’m grateful.
Here’s my little stream of consciousness list:
Getting ready to gather around the table. Like roasting the Thanksgiving or Christmas or other holiday turkey, or other meal preparations, it’s good to allow unhurried moments to plan, prepare, and give thanks for the occasion.
Discoveries off the beaten path. We added about 10 miles and an hour and a half to our usual seven-hour travel time by taking more secondary highways than usual. In doing so we gained the delight of seeing new areas, enjoying less traffic, and finding a gem of a diner for lunch.
We stopped at the Downtown Diner in Perry, Michigan. The waitress cheerfully had the cook split the cabbage soup and olive burger, making for a hearty, delicious meal. The diner uses the slogan, “GO BIG or GO HOME,” coined by one of the owner’s daughters, a designation of their hearty portions. The food is a compliment to a fine cook. They serve breakfast and lunch seven days a week.
Destinations. In one stretch in an otherwise clear day we encountered snow squalls. At the end of the afternoon we were warmly welcomed at our destination, the home of sister-in-law Vivian, with a wonderful aroma escaping the oven.
The people in my life: Marty, our relatives and friends, our pastors, the wider circle of people with whom we interact in business, service and leisure–people near and people far and wide.
Occasions to gather, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, retirement, weddings, memorial services, and other times.
The right tools for the job: like hammer, level, screwdriver, saw, toothpick.
Help at hand when it comes to a computer problem.
Rubber tires that seem to take both rough and smooth roads in stride.
Good health and ready assistance of health professionals when needed.
Ethnic diversity in church, family, community, nation, a welcome for all.
Every sign of hope for children.
The this and otherworldly potential of faith communities.
Things that are real, like faith, hope, love, and daffodils..
Coffee and tea.
The sight of sheep in a field we passed.
Michigan barns that evoke memories of times past.
Taxes that let me share in doing what needs to be done.
The sight and smell of cinnamon rolls; O.K., the occasional bite, too.
Putting aside money during our gainful employment years that allows us to “prosper” in retirement living.
Places to walk.
Watchdogs in every sphere of influence.
Elected officials who serve the common good.
Seasons of nature and heart.
Cats and dogs, most of them.
Retirement living options, such as travel, service, purging possessions, moving to independent living in a continuing care retirement community–that’s our move next week.
Challenges and opportunities that come with change or just come.
Wildlife. Trees. Water. Clouds. The smell of pine.
Art in its many forms.
Music, with a turn of the ear to classical.
History, with lessons we need not repeat and with pleasures we can relive.
Natural and synthetic resources.
Humor, joy, tears and laughter.
Safety in travel and all around.
That’s the list I scribbled as Marty drove and I navigated through backroads of Michigan. Marty’s comment en route, “You can’t be in a hurry,” gave me the title for this Thanksgiving blog. And “GO BIG or GO HOME,” gave us plenty of nourishment, too.
During our stay in Ontario we connected with folks in various settings.
One was with friends from Toronto with whom we meet for an annual luncheon at the Charcoal Steakhouse in Kitchener. Old friends make for lots of fun and laughter, commiseration and rejuvenation. Sadly, another couple was unable to join us because of pressing medical matters. We wished them well and told them we had shared dessert in their honor.
On Friday we visited aunt Marie in healthcare at Greenwood Court in Stratford. Marie has a ready response to a variety of topics. We commiserated with her on her loss of mobility in that she can no longer move about on a electric scooter and can no longer pursue one of her loves, reading. She enjoys a robust cup of coffee in the morning.
It was interesting to learn that one of her granddaughters has reached boyfriend age.
Today my extended family gathers at noon for our longstanding practice of celebrating Christmas early. The gathering will include some cousins and others. Conversation, food, puzzles, children’s games, and a silent auction for a benefit in memory of brother Brian are part of the timeless mix. Brian died in July. While we miss him dearly we will have Brian and other personal stories to tell; memories linger and surprise us in the present.
GO BIG in the memories. GO BIG in the hub bub of our gathering today. GO BIG in making our new house a home. GO BIG in not being in a hurry.