My Fifty Reasons for Gratitude
Sometimes a list can substitute for an essay -- Happy Thanksgiving!
I’m grateful to my readers on Substack. This Thanksgiving, I appreciate many (well, 50) other things, as well.
1. Covid has slowed me down – I continue to walk now instead of drive or bike. I see so much more now!
2. Living in California, I continue to eat outside when I go out to eat. We are triple-vaxed, but we like to play it safe.
3. My son Truman has decorated his room so tastefully with his grandfather’s original paintings.
4. I can escape to Truman’s room to grade papers or write a poem.
5. My wife Kate takes amazing photographs, and soon she will have a new phone to practice with.
6. I got to see some of our closest friends in San Diego this year.
7. My dad instilled in my brother and me a love of films, and now Truman has caught that bug.
8. Our French Bulldog Margot greets me with such joy when I enter a room, even though she likely slept on my legs the entire night before.
9. Kate makes me amazing feasts most mornings, tofu egg scrambles with ten different kinds of fresh vegetables.
10. My old friend Joe Mills, now a professor and dean back east, and I have restarted our games of chess after an almost 30-year hiatus.
11. My old friend Joe Mills attends to our games even though I have won the last six in a row – such patience!
12. I get to meditate with a dozen friends in a park every Sunday morning – my buddy Bill brings the meditation cushions, so I no longer have to sit on my hat.
13. My son Jukie joins me for a long walk along the greenbelts of south Davis every day.
14. People in our hometown of Davis are kind to Jukie despite his being a little unusual.
15. My daughter Geneva has inherited her mom’s intelligence and appreciation for humor – she’s hilarious!
16. Hummingbirds are frolicking outside my window as I write this on Thanksgiving morning.
17. I get to talk to my mom three or more times a week. She still can’t get over the weather in LA.
18. The music of Herbie Hancock continues to fill me with joy.
19. Even though five people live in my house, I can frequently find here extended moments of uninterrupted silence.
20. I read more than 30 books this past year.
21. I get to deduct the cost of those books from my taxes.
22. The Smartless podcast makes me laugh every Monday.
23. My friend Roy delivered a bonus saxophone to our house this year.
24. According to yesterday’s Washington Post, “Weekly jobless claims plunge to 199,000, the lowest level in more than 50 years.” Meanwhile, California has a $31 billion surplus.
25. The 500+ year old self-portraits of Albrecht Dürer continue to mesmerize me.
26. I’ve missed no workdays due to (my own) illness since I came to UC Davis 31 years ago. Let the streak continue!
27. I get to congregate in a beautiful art gallery with friends and poets twice a month, and afterwards for the after-party.
28. I’ve made progress on three book projects this year, including a quotable tome of writing wisdom from prominent authors.
29. Some favorite downtown Davis businesses, such as Mishka’s Café and The Varsity Theatre, have reopened for business this year.
30. I have wonderful campus colleagues, and actually look forward to my almost daily Zoom meetings with them.
31. Kate’s Prius makes a telltale sound when it pulls into our driveway after one of her trips to the UC Davis Arboretum.
32. Despite the pandemic, I got to host more than 50 events this year (albeit many of them via Zoom)
33. The Yolo Food Bank strives daily to address food insecurity for the people of Yolo County.
34. I succeeded in watching less of the clock. As Sam Levenson says, "Don't watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going."
35. I restart my KDVS radio show in January.
36. A good friend will be joining us for Christmas dinner.
37. Semiconductors and other modern magic allow me to ask Alexa to play any kind of music I can imagine, such as Ravi Shankar, Oscar Peterson, The Pointer Sisters, or Too Many Zooz.
38. I am repeatedly encouraged by bright and hardworking students at UC Davis.
39. We are saving enough for retirement – someday Kate and I will see places that we have only read about.
40. I achieved my walking goals for 2021.
41. My little town has a healthy newspaper, the only newsstand in the Sacramento Valley, three thriving bookstores, the largest art gallery in the county, innumerable performance spaces, and our own art museum.
42. I used to imbibe several alcoholic drinks a week. Now I average one a week, typically a glass of wine with Kate.
43. Lists are always available to writers without ideas for essays.
44. Disney+ brings my children great joy.
45. With the help of Muscle Milk and many other foods with the word “protein” in their names, I accomplish my macronutritional goals almost every day.
46. Our 2021 home has perhaps 50,000 fewer items in in than our 2020 home.
47. Unknown masked people call out to me with great fondness and recognition on the streets of Davis.
48. Local ginkgo trees inspire wonder and delight at this time of year.
49. My wife Kate thinks of everything.
50. You read all the way to item 50 at the end of this list.
Enjoy the holiday weekend.
P.S. Here are three questions from last week’s Pub Quiz:
Mottos and Slogans. What clothing brand tells us that “Quality never goes out of style”?
Internet Culture. A Pixel Stand is best described as which of the following: A cartoon character, a charger, a phone, or a TV setting?
Newspaper Headlines. Starting with the letter C, what company said today that it is closing 900 stores?