THE GIFT OF GRATITUDE
by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
November 26, 2009
DUMMERSTON, Vt. - Thanksgiving. Lists. Things to be grateful for. Whatever.
I was going to tell you all the things I'm thankful for this year, starting with the fact that my dancer mother, who is 92, frail, ornery, determined and living alone in Florida (with help during the day), just survived another serious infection.
She got out of the hospital on Tuesday morning - barely. At one point she was threatening to call the police if they didn't let her go home. (She claims she was joking.) As I said, ornery and determined.
Of course I was worried. But last week she was on stage, dancing and teaching a number she choreographed many years ago to the new performers in the show.
When I talked to her on Tuesday evening, she was back to her old self. She was sitting in her favorite recliner, complaining about bills and accusing the home health care agency of robbing her credit card.
This morning, the aide found my mother still in the recliner, unconscious, with a pulse of 40. She called the medics. As I write, my mother is now back in the hospital.
Happy Thanksgiving, I guess.
But I am deeply, deeply thankful that for the last 20 years, my mother and I have had a wonderful, if exasperating, relationship. When I was growing up? Not so much. But over the years, we have come to appreciate each other's humor, intellect, taste in men, creativity and dedication to work. Although she drives me crazy, I love her inordinately, and it is just now starting to sink in that this won't be going on forever.
Before this latest emergency, I was putting together a list of things to be thankful for. Here's what I have:
Now that they've announced the sale, it wouldn't surprise me if a donor or two found a way to keep the window and also help people stay warm.
The Dodge family at the Putney Winery cheerfully make booze to go with it all.
For years, supermarkets have made butchers all but disappear. Now we have the wonderful North End Butchers, where we can watch our evening roast being carved out of a haunch of Vermont beef right in front of our eyes.
And for those of you to whom that last sentence is slightly disgusting, we have three local farmers markets and two excellent food co-ops. We have many summer CSAs, and there's even a winter one at Walker's Farm going on right now - a great idea.
People here have started to raise their own chickens, beef and lamb. And so many more are gardening. I had 16 tomato plants growing on my deck this summer; I have enough stewed tomatoes in my freezer to make spaghetti sauce all winter long; and seemingly nothing will kill the kale.
Also thankfully, we have Henry Holmeyer's columns in the local newspaper, the Brattleboro Reformer, to tell us how to keep our gardens alive and flourishing, and Terri Ziter to tell us how to cook the harvest.