Thursday, November 28, 2013

An Ode to Rivers and Woods

Today is Thanksgiving in these United States.  This morning, I shall do what I did two years ago, which is start my Turkey Day by participating in a 5K race in Green Brook.  It is a nice little event and it is an event that does what many Thanksgiving Day races do, which is encourages its participants to bring non-perishable food items for those whose Thanksgiving has dawned a bit less fortunate than our own.  I know full well that what I do - bringing my bag of items - fulfills Webster's definition of "the least I can do".  I am appreciative of the fact that there are better people than I out there doing far more than I. 

I learned a long time ago - as a much younger man - that a sign of "getting it" is trading in lusting after that which you do not have (such as the seemingly always greener grass on the side of the fence) for an appreciation of that which you do have.  More so, those who you do have - in your life.  Those who you love and those who love you.  Life is a grind.  The day in, day out of what we do - irrespective of how it is we earn our daily bread - takes its toll on all of us.  In a perfect world, each of us would have that place, that sanctuary to which we can retreat, lick the wounds that a day's battle inflicted upon us and drink the soothing elixir that recharges our battery and enables us to get up the very next day and have at it again.  We live in a world that is located decidedly south of perfect.  If you are fortunate enough to have such a place - as I am - then be thankful for it and for those who make it so for you not just today but every day.  And remember too that just because you have it does not mean that everyone else does. 

Once or twice upon a lifetime ago - in a pre 09/11 world, which was also a world in which smoking was permitted in New York City - Margaret and I bundled ourselves up and Suz and Rob as well and took the train into Manhattan to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I was thinking of those trips the other morning as I was driving to work and smiling at the memory of how I used a large, eternally lighted, baseball bat-sized cigar to clear space for my wife and kids at curbside.  Nothing cleared space on the streets of New York City in the pre-Bloomberg era quite as effectively as a big, pungent cigar.  I recall a member of the NYPD responding to a woman standing near me - who had complained to the officer about my cigar - by telling her that it was a public sidewalk and I was permitted to smoke on a public sidewalk.  I also recall his knowing wink, having seen my two smallish children and pixie-sized wife and the space they had staked out for themselves on the curb directly in front of me, in acknowledgement of my mission.  Today, I would likely be subjected to Taser attack, arrest and incarceration.  

Our children are children no longer.  It saddens the Missus more than a little I know that she shall not break bread on Thanksgiving with either Rob and Jess or Suzanne and Ryan.  Truth be told, it saddens me a little too.  My small amount of sadness however is tempered by the happiness in the little lump of coal that I call my heart  for each of my kids and where life has taken them.  They are not in New Jersey today.  Instead they are precisely where they should be. 

They are at home.  And they are at peace.  

May this Thanksgiving find you and yours similarly situated.

-AK    

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