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Savage Thankfulocity

November 21, 2018

attentionLast year on Cold, in honor of Thanksgiving, I wrote a little note of thanks for all the things I was grateful for. It felt so downright redeeming to sit down and think about the good and great in my life, that I thought I’d make it a yearly event. A twelve month retrospective of the gifts of life and liberty, which not only inspire in the mere pursuit of happiness, but its realization.

So, here goes.

I’m grateful for Barney. He’s the dog I didn’t want. The dog I swore up and down we wouldn’t get. Just the thought of house-training him, feeding him, and walking him made me want to cry. With three kids, a husband, and a mother in my house, I didn’t want to take care of a single other living thing, dammit! And yet, he’s brought such joy to our household. I simply forgot how critical a dog can be for a teenager. He’s the one creature who will never judge you, yell at you, lie to you, break up with you, or call you uncool. The little bugger is always over the moon when you come home – even when you’ve only been gone for fifteen minutes.

Barney’s laying on my lap as I write this, in fact. Snoring his head off. Yes, he’s chewed holes in blankets and barfed in my shoes, but he’s worth it.

Char Bar hair

This about sums it up

I’m thankful that my mom quit smoking and has started, for the first time in her life, going to the gym.  Ok, yes, it took a stroke and a broken hip to get her here, but let’s not quibble about details. It’s easy to lament our hardships and lose sight of the fact that the bad stuff also brings with it a sprinkling of magic dust. I am so grateful for that.

I’m also thankful for the way the Eiffel Tower is lit up every night, for vintage photos of Cairo, my husband’s wicked laugh, my son getting his driver’s license, the novels of Alan Furst, Raymond Chandler, Mark Twain, Diana Gabaldon, Elmore Leonard, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera and so many others who have brought wonder and empathy into my life.

I’m ever so grateful for the searching souls who read my fiction and missives. I love that you let me into your worlds and am humbled and honored when you tell me that something I’ve written has been of value to you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Fall leaves, wood-burning stoves, cinnamon, baby pictures of my children, soccer practice being cancelled, friends who show up and support you even when you didn’t ask them to, anti-itch cream, old cemeteries, ghost stories, the ladies of country music, fairytales, combat boots, old wood floors, and funny notes complete strangers leave in your car. These are all things that put a big smile on my face and have me skipping through the day.


This was left on my husband’s front seat

I love nights when I don’t have to cook, photo booths, southern accents, miracle cures, and seat warmers.

Wednesdays are great because I get to go out for Chinese dumplings with my middle daughter after school. Weekends offer time spent with our youngest, who still likes her old mom and dad’s company and thankfully doesn’t have better plans most of the time – at least not yet. Visiting colleges gives my husband and I the opportunity to kidnap our oldest child and only son, making him hang out with us under the auspices of helping him launch his life. We take what we can get and are grateful for it.

About a month ago, I read a short news article about how the bones of a Neanderthal child were found in the belly of an ancient predatory bird. I am so grateful that we live in a time when our children are not in danger of being eaten alive, for the most part.

In that vein, I have immense gratitude for toilets and all indoor plumbing, good hygiene, antibiotics, acne medication and hair dye. Then there’s the republic that has given my family safe haven – the United States of America. I’m so grateful my mom risked life and limb to bring my brother and I here. It’s a rare gift to have visibility into what your life could have been like compared to what it is. And how easy it is to forget that living in a functioning democracy is nothing short of winning one of life’s great lottery’s. It’s better than being born with beauty or a big brain. It’s even better than being born rich.

So, let’s pump our fists in the air for a moment and say, yes! to that.

eamon baseball

Bravery and good manners are pretty terrific, too – especially when they come in one package. And I’m so, so thankful that I haven’t felt the burning shame of lost opportunity this year. That one stings.

Finally, and this is the big one.

Several months ago, I saw a homeless man carrying a sign. It wasn’t the usual request for money or work. His sign read simply, “I’m tired of being alone. Please help.” I wanted to, but I didn’t know how. I wish I could have thought of something, anything, in that moment. The fact is, I failed and ended up driving by, feeling completely impotent.

In the days that followed, I wondered if I shouldn’t have brought him a sandwich, or offered just some gesture of kindness, no matter how small. I looked for him – hoping I might encounter him again, but there’s been no trace of him since. Maybe he was an angel – I don’t know.

What I do know is that while I was unable to give that homeless man what he needed, he gave something to me. And the very least I can do is be grateful for it. What I am most thankful for is the love in my life. The fact that I have so little loneliness that there are days I run screaming from my house.

But I always run back.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Last, but not least! I’ve got a new Love at First Write for you! This one is about using Pinterest not just to market your books and stories, but to help you tell your stories in the first place!

From → family, love

  1. daleeastman permalink

    Know what…I’m grateful for you, that we met, have remained friends, and that I’ve been able to share so much of your life, challenges and successes, even at a distance. You’re remarkable, Vic, and the best is yet to come.


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. You are the best.

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