This is a two-part column. The first part will be a reminder about gratitude, and the second part just for fun.
Whenever I feel sorry for myself, which has been often lately with the pandemic problems, I turn to a picture I cut out of the newspaper several years ago and laminated. It reminds me just how much I have to be grateful for and how blessed I am, even on my worst days.
The picture is of a little refugee boy. He’s about 5 years old and is carrying a huge folded-up red sleeping bag with yellow bears on it. It’s tied up with a strap and he’s holding on to it with all his might. The flaps are hanging out on his Velcro tennis shoes and his blue jeans are sagging.
Behind him stands a soldier with a big gun and behind the soldier a military jeep.
The adorable little boy is sobbing as he struggles to walk with his heavy burden.
When I look at this picture, which is often, I am reminded that I am not carrying my bed to someplace that is not my home while soldiers stand nearby with guns to either guard me while I walk or force me to keep walking.
Where are the little boys’ parents? What will he eat that night? Where will he unroll his sleeping bag? Will gunfire keep him awake?
So, yes, I am blessed to have a safe, warm home. I have to worry about eating too much instead of where my next meal will come from. And I live in America, which, despite the problems we are contending with right now, is still the best place on earth to live.
I read a lot of World War II novels and marvel at the resilience and courage of the people in Europe who suffered for so many years, even after the war ended. I find it hard to complain of COVID-19 fatigue after eight months when they suffered for years.
So let’s be grateful for what we do have instead of always complaining about what we lack. I need that constant reminder.
On a lighter note, here is a turkey story from my sister, Paulette’s, past that always makes us laugh in the retelling.
Years ago Paulette worked at Brigham Young University and like everyone else got a 14-pound turkey in a box for the holidays. She and her best friend went to the big student center to pick them up. They were walking down long, shiny hall when Paulette dropped the turkey.
In a spontaneous frame of turkey bowling, the turkey hit its mark and knocked two coeds down.
They recovered, as the young are wont to do, and Paulette picked up her slippery bird. Since her ride across country had fallen apart, she bought a ticket on a Greyhound bus and left Provo, Utah, at 6 a.m. Friday with her frozen turkey.
She decided to keep it on her lap, and they traveled comfortably until they got to Cincinnati and she realized it was beginning to thaw and drip.
So she asked the bus driver if she could check it as baggage and he said she could since it was frozen and the cargo hold was cold. The snowstorm they ran into in some state helped.
Paulette finally reached Danville at 5 on Sunday evening and found out that the turkey had missed a connection and was in Pennsylvania. It was transferred and Daddy went to pick it up at 9 on Monday morning.
It was still mostly frozen, so Mother cooked it. Paulette reminded me as she retold the tale that she and the turkey had gone through all that for her family because she is a vegetarian and wouldn’t eat a bite of it.
So God bless us everyone — the people eating Thanksgiving dinner without their families this year, the crazy people on Greyhound buses with frozen turkeys on their laps and the little children and their families all over the world who live their lives daily in fear and deprivation.
Elzey is a freelance writer for the Register & Bee. She can be reached at email@example.com or 434-791-7991.
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