|Photo: A wooden-framed sign that states simply, "thankful," hangs on a wall|
Mayberry isn't literally the name of my town, but it might as well be. People smile and wave, chat with each other in line, and just are generally nice. When I run errands, I almost never hear swearing, and I don't think I've seen anyone shopping in their pajamas and slippers since I moved to Utah. I could get used to this, but I hope I never get used to it, because I want to maintain a sense of gratitude for the little things. (Also, I think it is important to recognize that even Mayberry had a sherriff, and we should always be aware of our surroundings.)
Nevertheless, this week I am thankful for small-town living:
1. I'm thankful that my town is listed among the top cities in the nation for its low crime rate.
2. I'm thankful I wasn't arrested for shoplifting. This one obviously needs some explanation. First of all, I was not shoplifting. I had no intent to steal, and no merchandise left the store. I was trying on clothes in a dressing room at a department store, and as I put one item on, I heard something hit the floor. The plastic security tag just fell off! I stared at it for a moment, then the questions came: "Did it leak ink?" (It didn't.) "Will the employee believe me when I tell her the tag fell off?" (She did.) I don't know if things would have gone so smoothly if I had been in a different area of the country.
3. I'm thankful that the security tag did NOT leak ink, like it was supposed to do. Now I'm wondering about the phrase, "caught red-handed," and thinking that there just might be times when being caught red-handed does not equate guilt!
4. I'm thankful for small shops which give all their customers the 2-for-the-price-of-1 cupcake offer, even though the coupon states, "Must present coupon." I had a coupon in hand, but didn't even need it.
5. I'm thankful for pizza store owners who bring waiting customers (who didn't order drinks) cups with the invitation to help themselves to the soda machine while they wait for their take-out order to be filled.
6. I'm thankful for living close to family. Although most of my kids won't be here for Thanksgiving, we will be able to spend it with John's sister's family, John's parents, and a couple of my sister's kids. For the second year in a row, I'm not hosting, which is a little strange, but very relaxing! :-)
7. I'm thankful to feel useful. I was asked to be part of a piano duet to accompany a small group of singers for a Christmas song at church. Although I'm blown away by the talent in this ward, and am
probably most definitely the least-musically-trained person in the bunch, the others make me feel welcome and appreciated, which is nice.
8. I'm thankful for recommendations from neighbors. One of our neighbors moved into their house not too soon before we bought ours. They have been a great source of recommendations. We've used their flooring guys, and last week, we used their landscape guys to clear and move some dirt around in our backyard. We still have a lot of work still to do, but at least now, we can start to picture the final outcome. I'll post photos as the project develops.
9. I'm thankful for the freedom to vote. We normally vote by mail (or rather, we usually receive our ballots by mail then turn them in at a polling place on election day), but this year, due to my confusion about whether or not our voter registration was changed when our address was updated with the DMV, we ended up not receiving a ballot and having to go wait in line at the polling place. Because we went in the middle of the day, the wait was only an hour or so. The time went by more quickly once the young guy behind us started asking us advice about mutual funds. (We probably should have told him that our first piece of advice would be not to just take the advice of random strangers when it comes to your retirement funds!) Even though the wait was long, I was happy to see so many people coming out to vote.
10. I'm thankful for John. It's a short statement, but 30+ years of marriage memories are within those little words.
As I read the news, or talk to friends, I know this week has had its share of challenges, and my heart goes out to strangers and friends alike who are experiencing trials. Whether it's been a hard week or an easy week for you, though, I'd encourage you to join in this exercise that we call the Ten Things of Thankful.