For those of you who haven’t started your list, here’s mine for Thanksgiving 2009:
- Ron Wallace — if you haven’t met The Wallace, you’re in for a treat. He’s smart (and never flaunts his far greater intellect than mine), beyond funny (especially when doing those imitations of all the satellite systems he’s helped design), kind to everyone even when they’re not, 150% behind me in everything I do, an enthusiastic dancer, able to design/fix anything electronic/mechanical/plumbing/etc., infinitely patient, very slow to get anywhere close to angry, doesn’t complain no matter how ill/uncomfortable he is, shares my love of travel/adventure/British mystery DVDs/boating/the list is of shared interests is very long, understands my need for to “fly” solo, never asks me what anything costs (knowing I won’t go overboard even as he’s buying me great jewelry), likes most of my friends and is happy to have them travel with us, provides full infrastructure support so that I can pursue my dream career, still a hunk after all these years (Ron went through college on gymnastics scholarships), and thinks I’m the best thing that ever happened to him. What more could any woman want?
- Friends and family who are also friends — I value friendship above diamonds, and those who know me realize that’s high value indeed. No one gets through life unscathed, no one! And it’s your friends who not only share the triumphs but will also see you through the really tough times. You know who you are.
- Good health and great health insurance — Ron and I have watched the whole health care reform discussion with just one point of view: everyone should be as free from worry about their health care costs as we have been, even as we’ve battled a number of expensive health issues. I can’t even imagine having to fight with an insurance company in order to get what Ron needed when he was diagnosed a few years back with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He’s fine now, but the bills were enormous and would have broken even our generous budget if not for great coverage. And when my right shoulder rotator cuff repair surgery turned into a case study in rotator cuff fabrication, leaving me unable to work for months while I was first immobilized and then in screamingly painful rehab, again the bills were enormous. But thanks to Ron’s NASA career, we’ve got the same kind of insurance our Congressmen have. We’d like to see everyone have this level of financial protection and peace of mind, but what do we know about health care?
- My career, clients and colleagues — I’ve had an amazing run, and the best is yet to come. Imagine being in on the very ground floor of the use of computers in business and still being able to contribute? For those of you worried about your career, and who isn’t in these trying times, please take heart. There’s always opportunity for those who are willing to work their butts off, invest in their KSAOCs, and do the heavy lifting. To all the colleagues and clients from whom I’ve learned so much, and those yet to come, I’m certainly grateful for the opportunities and hope I’ve given as good as I’ve gotten.
- The accident of birth — I come from pioneer stock. My grandparents were refugees (aren’t all Jews?) from a shtetl in Lithuania. They came to the USA at the turn of the 20th century to avoid conscription into the Czar’s non-kosher army as well as the pogroms. Like every American except our native Americans, we’re all refugees of one sort or another, even those who think they’re special because they came first or brought some wealth with them. Were it not for my grandparents having the courage to leave the familiar behind, to make what was then quite literally a trek across Europe to get bilge (they thought steerage was first class) passage to the USA, to arrive with no English and just the bundles they carried to a gentile American which was still quite hostile to Jews, I would never have had the opportunities that so many of us take for granted. Freedom isn’t free, and democracy isn’t a birthright, so count your blessings that you’re here.
- Those who never rest so that we can — our military and their families, our first responders, those who work the midnight shifts in emergency rooms, there are so many who won’t be having as peaceful or comfortable a Thanksgiving as you and I will have. My thanks to every one of them.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. However you’re spending Thanksgiving, take a few minutes without any media distractions to remember why we’re celebrating the first American holiday — and to count your own blessings.