Janet Sheridan: Grateful for lesser blessings
My mother sometimes asked her children to express gratitude for something meaningful before they indulged their Thanksgiving appetites. If I had mentioned my gratitude for the raisins she put in her homemade cinnamon rolls, she would have looked at me with disapproval. But, to me, a cinnamon roll without raisins wasn’t worth chewing. I know many folks disagree, but I’ve never met a raisin I didn’t like, and I’m grateful for them.
I’m also thankful for Goo-Gone. I used to soak price-tagged treasures in water before taking a scrubber to the tag and diligently rubbing its adhesive into a massive blur. I would then try to scrape the sticky stuff away with my nails, resulting in broken nails and a massive blur of scratched adhesive. But now, a drop of Goo Gone, a quick wipe and time left to contemplate my blessings.
Our new toilet is 3.5 inches taller than the toilet it replaced, and I am thankful. If you don’t understand my gratitude for a tall toilet, your knees don’t creak and complain.
We recently wrestled our king-size, pillow-top mattress into a basement bedroom — where it will reside until hell freezes over — and replaced it with a memory-foam version that conforms to a body’s bones and bumps. The mattress became a small blessing on the day I discovered that fitted sheets actually fit it. I used to stretch and strain — exhausting my flexibility, patience and vocabulary — as I forced a sheet around the four corners of our over-stuffed mattress. Then, as we slept, the sheet corners slithered off until we slept on a mass of wrinkles.
I tried to solve the problem with sheet suspenders: wide bands of elastic attached to those gadgets that used to hang from girdles to hold up a lady’s hose. After clamping the fasteners to each side of the sheet’s corners, I stretched the elastic straps beneath the mattress and anticipated peaceful sleep. But the aggravation and calisthenics required to install the suspenders yielded only a night or two of wrinkle-free sleep before the elasticized bands popped off, nearly decapitating us. I’m grateful for our sleek new mattress and the peaceful sleep we enjoy on it.
I am grudgingly appreciative when Joel shocks me out of a bout of dysfunctional home decorating with the truth: “Yes, the houseplant looks good there, but I don’t like watching TV through the leaves of a bougainvillea.” “How many fancy pillows do you need to ensure eternal happiness?” “I can’t believe you bought a lamp with a squirrel base. Yes, I know the shade looks like an acorn, Janet.”
I’m also thankful doctors no longer hesitate to identify my senior citizen status as a factor in my latest ailment. Their reluctance to label me as old has vanished; and they now admit my age contributes to my dry eyes, cracked heels, and tendency to wallow when exiting an easy chair. As a result, I no longer leave a doctor’s office thinking I need to change my lifestyle, correct a bad habit, give up something or do more of another: several liberating reasons for thankfulness.
True, like most folks old enough to remember Howdy Doody, I complain about the physical indignities of aging. But every day of my life, I also appreciate the distance my body has carried me, and the sturdy, reliable way it has done so. In spite of my years, I’m more healthy than not, and for that major blessing, my heart fills with gratitude.
Sheridan’s book, “A Seasoned Life Lived in Small Towns,” is available in Craig at Downtown Books and Steamboat Springs at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. She also blogs at http://www.auntbeulah.com on the 1st and 15th of every month.
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Members of the Ute tribe from the Uintah and Ouray Reservation will return to Steamboat Springs to perform a series of powwow dance performances and share the history of these dances and their culture.