Once a year comes a day when we are specifically reminded to give thanks (at least in the United States). Hopefully most of you out there are thankful more than once a year, but if that’s all you can manage then it’s better than nothing. I want to take a minute to list in no particular order some things I personally am thankful for.
- My beautiful wife
- The people who surround me and support me (You know who you are)
- Employment that pays the bills while letting me do something I love
- Al Gore – for inventing the internet (Actually, that’s a joke)
- Modern medicine
- Freedom – It wouldn’t be possible without the sacrifice that many have made
- Role models – For taking the high road when it wasn’t easy
- Choice – The absence of choice is tyranny
- Sight (it makes it all possible)
- Genuine conversation with another person
- Positive people – We wouldn’t have Thanksgiving without them
- Pumpkin pie with whipped cream
This list could go on and on and for that I’m thankful.
It was the middle of summer, sometime in July. The three youngish friends had met at the donut shop to wolf down some empty calories and then transitioned down to the beach for some people watching. Leaning against a vehicle they gazed out at the water and talked about the old days, the glory days, the “better from a distance than they actually were” days.
As they relaxed and chatted, an old man approached from the north. He had a purposeful stride and a focused gleam in his eye. His pants were high waisted, his shirt was tightly tucked, his white hair perfectly parted and firmly held in place with some kind of hair spray. As he drew near to the three he let out a cheery “Hello!”. The youngish men replied in turn and continued talking amongst themselves, or at least they tried to for the old man had joined their circle. Gesturing toward some houses in the distance he loudly told the three that he had grown up in one of the houses, that he used to play on the railroad tracks that ran nearby, and that the town was a lot smaller back then. The taller one of the three youngish men politely engaged the old man in conversation, asking questions and uttering exclamations of amazement at appropriate intervals. The other two listened with reserved interest, wondering when the old man might finish his stories and move on. But any interest in his stories only encouraged the old man, and he proceeded to tell his life history, condensed into 20 minutes. He had been in the military (thanks for your service), liked blueberry pancakes, and drove a blue Cadillac XLR with the top down. “Boys” he said, “let me tell you how to become a millionaire like myself. Put everything you can out of every paycheck into your 401k. But be careful, it’s a lot harder to take money from your paycheck and put it into investments than it is to have it automatically deducted from your paycheck. The automatic deductions also get the money put away before your wife starts spending it. I never made more than $25 dollars an hour in my career and now I’m one of those millionaires you hear about on TV. I did it all through compound interest” With that he was gone. Words of wisdom hanging in the air.
The three youngish friends looked at one another with puzzled smiles, amused at what had transpired. While he may have unfairly stereotyped the spending habits of women, there were certainly pearls of wisdom in his tale. As they stood and discussed the old mans advice, a beautiful blue Cadillac XLR whizzed by, top down, perfectly parted white hair not blowing in the wind, but held perfectly in place by some kind of hair spray.
Hair spray not included