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So let’s talk about other blessings. You know, like that little exercise we do as families, going around the dinner table and saying what we’re thankful for.

Of course a healthy, happy family, four sweet grandchildren, old friends, a roof over our heads, living in America. All the usual suspects for which I am - truly - beyond grateful. But sometimes I like to get off the beaten path a bit, thinking about things I take for granted because they have a way of spicing up that old Thankfulness Meter.

Such as my funny dog, 9-year-old Puddin’ or “Mr. P.” as we say around here. Blind since the age of 3, this guy navigates around our house better than I do with two properly-working eyes. I mean, who knew a sightless dog could memorize his way around the house to the point where he negotiates stairs, turns corners and only rarely runs into a wall? The cool thing about dogs, and probably other animals, is they seemingly have no emotional attachment to their eyesight. When he lost his vision, he compensated, but continued to be the same silly little guy he’s always been. Me? I’d have been depressed for years.

And I’m thankful for having known a simply marvelous lady, Jane Blissett. Miss Jane is on my mind because she just left our valley to live near her son in Indiana. Miss Jane, who is in her early 80s, played Lady Diana Murphy Hill Rhodes (the wife of Hiram Morgan Hill) for the Morgan Hill Historical Society. (Watch Jane’s remarkable portrayal of Diana and learn about the history of the Hill family at ) Quite the little actress, Jane also nailed Betty White’s role of Rose in a live production of a “Golden Girl’s” episode. I’ve remarked to Miss Jane on numerous occasions that I want to be her when I grow up. She always answers saucily that she wasn’t aware she’d grown up.

Then - high-ranking on the Thankfulness Meter - Facebook re-connected me with a girl (because we’re all still “girls” after all) I went to high school with in Colorado. Recently, Martha met me at a hotel in Modesto where I’d traveled with my daughter. A year ahead of me in school, the last time I saw Martha was the spring of 1964 when she graduated with her class. Although we didn’t know one another well, I always knew she was special. Now living in Modesto, Martha maneuvered through Friday afternoon traffic to meet my daughter and I and my newest grandson for a short visit at our hotel. Martha is as sweet today as she was then, and how thrilling the time warp when old schoolmates meet and catch up as if no years had elapsed at all.

Not all blessings are totally off the scale, but they are good things nonetheless: farmers markets and anticipating the arrival of winter fruit like the lovely persimmon. The electric blanket that warms my bed before I draw up the covers on a dark, frozen night. Blazing reds and golds of autumn leaves that cling to the trees or crunch under our feet. The fact that I am finally remembering to “dial-one-and-the-area-code” before the phone number so I don’t have to listen to that dang recording telling me to “dial-one-and-the-area-code.”

Yeah, it’s the little things, too.

And I’m thankful to you dear friends who find me here every couple of weeks and tell me you’re enjoying my meandering thoughts. You all are so WAY up there on my Thankfulness Meter. I am grateful indeed.


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