Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

day 21 of the month of Thanksgiving (a man who buys you diamonds for no reason…) ~

When I married my husband, we had zilch money. We got married quickly, so that I could go to Algeria with him, where his company had transferred him. Actually, we thought we were going to Morocco. A story for another time. :)

We had a dear friend, an artisan jeweler, make our wedding rings. Bernie did them for materials; it was his wedding gift to us. They were lovely, but don’t fit us (in any way!) these days. And there was no diamond; we couldn’t afford one.

So after we’d been married for a long time, and had two sons, my wonderful husband showed up around my birthday (but not on my birthday, as he was quick to point out) with a lovely emerald-cut diamond solitaire. Suffice to say it’s fashionably large, although I have it set deeply so it won’t catch on things. (Have I mentioned I really don’t like fussy junk?)

He said he’d always wanted to buy me a diamond. It’s my birth stone, and I LIKE diamonds. I know they’re not fashionable now: there are good reasons to boycott deBeers. But times (& we) were more innocent then. He stopped in Amsterdam on the way back to where I was in the US, finishing school. He went to the diamond cutter’s and picked out my stone, then had it set. Very simple. No fuss. For my birthday, he sent roses. The diamond, he said, was just because. Mostly bcause he could afford the one he wanted to get me, now.

You can’t argue w/ a man like that. Why would you try? So today — as I do every day — I give thanks for my husband. Who is not only a buyer of diamonds, but brilliant, witty, kind, generous, and still verrrry cute. Thanksgiving is as good a time as any to put it out there. :)

day 20 of a month of Thanksgiving (war & peace…) ~

As pictures of wounded children — and tiny body bags — cast long shadows across international media these past few days, I am so very grateful to live in a country free from war within our borders. I am grateful my two wonderful sons don’t have to choose between fighting and leaving, as many in my generation did. I am grateful to the many who have chosen to fight so that my sons have this option today.

My family is proud of our many veterans, several of them (my sister, my father, others in the extended family) lifers. So perhaps this is a double thank-you, today: gratitude that peace is possible, and humility at the price it has cost too many.

But today, after a day of walking across the pedestrian bridge over the river, watching a flock of more than 100 pelicans basking in the bright Oklahoma light, I am grateful that there is peace. I am grateful to walk down a street free from fear of bombs. I am grateful no one I love is dodging rockets shot from school yards. And I am well aware that violence begets violence, as so many faiths remind us. I can’t imagine living, as I do, almost 2,000 miles from sons, if they were at war. I breathe for every parent with children — old or young — at risk through war…

So today I give thanks for peace, and the centuries of American soldier who have fought to keep it for us. It is a gift too many of us take for granted.

 

 

day 19 of a month of Thanksgiving: old friends ~

Today I’m grateful for old friends. Perhaps because I moved so much as a child  and a young adult, I have very few friends from my adolescence. And none, really, from my childhood. No one who knew me in elementary or middle school, for instance. Only a few who knew me in my 20s. So I’m very grateful for my friends, and rarely take any of you for granted.

I always worry that I’m not a good friend. That I talk too much, or don’t remember birthdays, or go off on politics & poetry too often. Except w/ my friend Gary, the closest I have to a brother.

He was my first friend at university when I returned for summer classes. He introduced me to my husband. I fixed him up w/ each of my sisters in turn, hoping one would ‘take.’ We even tried to get our parents together, following messy divorces!

So today, when this old friend — the closest I have to a brother — came to see us with his wonderful wife, and their three beautiful, smart, funny daughters in tow, I was in heaven. For the entire  afternoon, the deck was filled with laughing girls and old friends.  With the seven of us. And more tomorrow! Who wouldn’t be grateful?

But I’m also grateful that this old friend — actually these two old friends, as Gary’s wife Alayna is very dear to me, too — still loves so many of the things we loved in our younger time together. Our politics, our spiritual beliefs, even our child-rearing strategies harmonise beautifully. All the more to be valued as we’ve not lived in the same city for decades…

Something there is about people who have known you for decades… Something very precious. And when you know you’d like them if you met them today, just as you did then? That’s all the more to be thankful for…

 

day 18 of a month of Thanksgiving: bounty (& first-world problems…) ~

  I have too much stuff. I have too many books, too many teapots, and waaay too many tchotchkes. It is, most definitely, a first-world problem.

But I’m grateful for my first-world problems, like  clearing out my extra books. I remember helping a colleague — a South African teacher — pack books to take back to Botswana. Her students had none. NOT  ONE. I have hundreds…

Today I bought the dogs new collars. I had a coupon, which knocked $5 off the total. And I thought at the time: my dogs’ collars cost more than many people make in a day… Think about that.

As I clean and ready for the upcoming holiday feasting, I make space in the refrigerator. For bounty. Leftovers from the annual American eat-in. There will be at least 12 of us, possibly more. There will be turkey, and potatoes ((both white & sweet), and pie and cake and salads and relishes and hummus and turkey and more. And that’s just Thursday

Tomorrow — Monday — an old & dear couple of friends and their beautiful 3 daughters are coming to visit. I still have to make gingerbread, after a day spent cleaning a too-large house. And  decide between teapots (there are several…), and decide among teas… We have to finalise plans: should we walk the River Parks Pedestrian Bridge? Or go to the Rose Garden? Such happy ‘problems’ that I probably shouldn’t even share them!

So today? I’m grateful and give thanks for my first-world problems. Too many things I love, too little room to keep them. A garden refusing to go to sleep, even though it’s mid-November (roses & gold mums & scarlet pineapple sage, still!). A week ahead full to bursting w/ wonderful friends & family & food. And me in the middle of it all, well aware of my own good fortune…

 

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