My human really loves the holidays. When the Geezer Gator takes off his Halloween mask and costume he begins to shed his cynical side, smiles and laughs more, loses his temper less, and is happy to see the next day’s sunrise. That air of happiness and contentment lasts until the last potato chips disappear from the TV tray bowls as he watches the New Year’s Day football games.
As we got ready for this morning’s walk, I noted his normal displeasure with the TV news remained muted and the cold morning air didn’t elicit a single grumpy phrase. While treading our ritual route, my decision to chase an insolent blue heron while still attached to my leash…came close to jerking the Geezer’s arm from its socket. He didn’t even scold me. His good-natured comment was, “Whoa Sandy, my arm won’t stretch that far.” The Holidays Happies have descended on the Geezer Gator.
I’m the kind of dog that doesn’t want to go through life having people think I have a dark cloud hovering over me, so I make a concerted effort fo avoid doom and gloom conversation. But, I’m also as curious as Sugar, Mrs. G’s black and white cat. I couldn’t help wondering how my friend was able to dismiss all the dire events and things I’d heard him discuss recently. There didn’t seem to be much cause for him to be happy.
After completing our walk and sitting in our accustomed places on the sea wall, my tongue itched and twitched until I blurted out my question. “Damn, Geezer, after all the things you’ve been warning and complaining about the last couple months, how come you’re in such a good mood?”
“Thanksgiving is right around a bend in the calendar, just a week away.” He smiled as he squinted through the sun’s rays streaming from their source, now several degrees above the palms and mangroves.
“It’s kind of going to be a lean Thanksgiving isn’t it?” I asked.
“Why do you say that, Sandy?”
I looked skyward, “Let me count the ways. The stock market’s sinking faster than a tanker with four torpedo hits and your retirement with it. We have a bailout program that isn’t designed to do anything except salvage some lavish weekends for AIG executives. It’s made the economy a lot worse because the Headless Horseman (Geezer’s nickname for Bush) and his pimps in the media screamed “the sky is falling!” and generated a super panic. The whole financial world lost confidence and went into a shell after that fiasco. We have a President elect that’s promised change and a departure from business as usual in Washington, but is already putting all the old Beltway cronies in power positions. You think his election was like hiring a drunk to guard a brewery. Your son works for an auto manufacturer; your son-in-law is in the housing business. Both of those industries have heart conditions and cancer compounded by AIDS. Food prices are up. I see that you have preparation H on your shopping list. Need I mention more?”
The Geezer tilted his head back and laughed heartily.
I was shocked. “Hey, Geezer wasn’t what I said true?”
“Well….Yes….But Sandy, Thanksgiving isn’t a glass half empty day. It’s definitely a glass half full event.”
“Spare me the cliches, Gator. What are you really saying?”
“Thanksgiving is a day for taking inventory of the good happenings, people, and things in each of our lives. It’s not for decrying what might have been or lamenting what you don’t have.”
I lifted my eyes and looked at him in a skeptical manner. ‘Polyanna,’ I thought, but shouldn’t have. The old boy’s something of a mind-reader.
“Really Sandy.” Geezer smiled, arched his old back, and wiggled his rear to make the concrete more comfortable. “I have a roof over my head and a nice place to live under it’s shingles. I have enough income to pay my bills and eat. Eating is habit forming you know.”
He paused waiting for a reaction to his attempt at humor. I obliged with a guffaw, and nodded for him to proceed.
“Think about all the good I have. I’ve got great friends-old and new-with which to enjoy and share parts of my life. Having old friends like Chet and Betty, Babs and Ed, Carol and Glen, makes my life secure and happy. New friends like Brenda, Judy, Maria, Andy, Mary, and others enrich and broaden my breathing. Hey, the bad economy has made fishing better because there aren’t as many folks out on the bays. My son and daughter will do well regardless of what short term problems trouble them, because they’re both winners and won’t be defeated, I’m truly thankful for that. I have the finest wife a man could be blessed with and a dog too magnificent for words to describe. What’s not to be thankful?”
“See your point, Geezer. And, the message that all of us can view our lives that way…yeah, I get it…but…” I let my voice trail off begging for the question. I knew the old boy wouldn’t be able to resist.
“All those bad things will still be there the day after Thanksgiving.” I looked at him feeling I’d just made a most profound comment.
The old boy’s grin broadened. “That’s the thing I give thanks for the most. I live in a place where I can do something about the problems around me– as long as I have the strength of my convictions and the determination to see them through. And, thank God, I have that too.”
To all, Happy Thanksgiving!