As a kid, I heard Grannie say, “You must count your blessings! I do.” Often, we were at a piano, which I had not practiced enough, and she was teaching Life and Piano 1010. Look it up in the catalog. It is a lab course, so it costs more.
I never thought to tag her admonition to her heavy sigh leaning on the piano to stand and limping / waddling outside, eschewing a cane to see the afternoon. I failed to connect thanksgiving for another day to her waking up at the crack of dawn, so that the hour and more that it took her to get dressed would not deter her being my hostess.
Granny’s dad left her at the convent/orphanage in Galveston, so he missed the Hurricane (before we named them) of 1900 hitting the city and killing thousands. Granny’s story on riding the last train out of Galveston, with some arguing the value of the orphans, and the harrowing crossing on the causeway as waves buffeted the train.
Sitting at the piano with me, she had already buried a daughter, overcome her husband’s very public affair, and lived off piano lessons, while dividing her home into three apartments.
Only now can I barely hear her unstated wisdom: “when you least feel like it.” When she said “count your blessings,” her rheumatoid arthritis still swelled her knuckles and curved her fingers as she ripped through Chopin as if the arthritis had vanished.
We all have “thanksgiving helpers”. As Tom Hanks interviewed members of Easy Company about heroes, they all concurred, “The real heroes are buried over there.” Those men were most thankful for our freedoms.
People walking away from graveside services are either angry, numbed, or more grateful to have had the love of the one now departed. “When you least feel like it.”
People sitting with loved one in a hospital are either despondent, depressed, or more grateful. “When you least feel like it.”
Jesus’ half brother had his version of what Granny said: “In all things give thanks.” All things includes a bucket list of things I would avoid: thanksgiving helpers. “When you least feel like it” is probably when you most need to start your Thank You’s. When you start thanking, you may be just in time for your sanity, your soul, and your hope. Or the occasional miracle.