‘Tis A Gift To Be Thankful…and also to have vanilla pudding

When I was home for Thanksgiving this weekend, I found a chart in my closet. It closely resembles a chart I have on my wall in my Milwaukee apartment, as it lists the passengers on the Mayflower in 1620. This listing is incomplete, includes fictional characters, and judging by the handwriting, was made when I was about twelve. I now clearly remember making it, and how much fun I had trying to figure out all the names with limited resources. I am thankful for a great many things this year, and that chart is one of them. I’m thankful for its existence, because it reminds me of the fun I have with history when I forget while grading papers over break. I’ve also been reminded these past few days of how much I love my family, and how grateful I am to spend time with them. I’m so grateful for all of my friends, and all of my fingers and teeth and toes, and for the sky and the sun and the birds that sing. I’m thankful for everything, but these things specifically:

  • Vanilla pudding
  • An all-boys choir singing “Little Drummer Boy”
  • The opening bars of  “Rhapsody in Blue”
  • The smiles of kids when they’re wondering at the world or discovering something new
  • Making an apple pie with my dad
  • My mom singing in funny voices in church
  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Wrapping presents
  • Perfect cookie recipes
  • Snuggles with Indy
  • Sleeping in
  • Cartoon character socks
  • “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”
  • The first snow of winter…
  • And the last snow of winter…
  • “The Lemon Drop Kid”
  • Wednesday Trivia Nights
  • The phrases, “This is why we can’t have nice things”, “One more time with feeling”, “The natives are getting restless”, and “You had ONE job”.
  • Colored pens
  • Any version of “One” from “A Chorus Line”
  • Driving down a familiar road and knowing you’re almost home
  • Reading and finishing a familiar story
  • An orchestral version of “Ode to Joy”
  • Speech mornings
  • A long, thoughtful phone call
  • Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring”
  • The Butterball Hotline
  • A clean apartment
  • Daisies and sunflowers
  • Naps on the couch when you wake up feeling better
  • “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”—seriously. It’s hilarious.
  • Baking cookies
  • Sending and receiving good mail
  • Finishing a research project
  • “Les Carnival des Animaux”
  • The cast of Saturday Night Live
  • Remembrance Day poppies
  • Blooper reels of favorite movies
  • Learning how to make a new recipe
  • “Peter and the Wolf”
  • The closing credits to “Prince Caspian”
  • Care packages
  • Sad-happy commercials
  • When cars pull over for emergency vehicles on the road
  • Tacos, good or bad
  • Walking to the lake and back
  • The Mental Floss Amazing Fact Generator
  • Waking up early in a new city and walking around watching it wake up
  • Spending time at home with my whole family

Happy Gratitude Season, everyone!

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