25 December 2010


Got a full belly?
I do.

It snowed most of the night and I drove home this morning in a beautiful, monochromatic world, having spent the night saying "NO" twice to calls asking me to venture out in below-minimums weather. I was reminded of the caution an old pilot relayed to me when I first started this job...
"Our customers need to be very careful of weather when they decide to get seriously hurt."

It's a 32 mile drive from workplace to home. At just after 7 A.M. I met five cars on the road in that distance, and was mindful that someone had been out with a snowplow early Christmas morning clearing that road so I could more safely drive home to my loved ones.
I am blessed.

Sara Jean and Big Bubba were both still in bed when I unlocked the door. The dogs all met me when I entered, three twelve-pounders jumping, licking, and nipping.
"Hi honey"... the sleepy voice from upstairs called down.
"Have the pups been out?"
Mr. Coffee had done his work at 0700, so I poured myself a fresh cup before inviting the three canines out into four inches of fresh snow. Low to the ground Dachshund Desi hates it and stays close to the house where the snow is thin. Lucy is more indifferent, venturing out to quickly get number one and number two taken care of. Yogi LOVES the snow... nose down like a plow, he takes off in a dead run, stopping now and then to investigate something, sniffing and snorting. When I turn to go back into the house announcing "Good doggies get TREATS!", Desi and Lucy stand at the front door waiting for me to grant them entrance. Yogi has to be further cajoled.
I stomp snow from my boots, then make my way to the treat jar to reward good pups.
We are blessed.

Coffee cup in hand, I sit in my recliner and turn on our TV which is attached to a receiver provided by Dish Network carrying more channels than anyone could have possibly imagined in my youth. I then turn on our Bose surround sound system. Having caught up on the news during my drive home I switch to channel 6004 and listen to "Traditional Holiday Music" in wonderful stereophonic fullness. My wife approaches, bends down to kiss me, covers me with a flannel wrap, then removes my boots.
I am blessed.

We chat.
Sara Jean and Big Bubba attended a friend's dinner party last evening. Sara Jean spent 6 hours in the kitchen yesterday baking cookies, then stirring chocolate and peanut butter fudge until it was a perfect consistency to take to this get-together.
I listen as she relates neighborhood goings-on. She and BB obviously had a good time socializing while I was at work last night. From this gathering she brought home more food than she took.
We are blessed.

At 0900 we woke Big Bubba and opened all our gifts... fewer this year than last, but the gifts we shared were nice and were also mostly tools and gadgets that will make our lives easier. When the wrapping paper finally stopped hitting the floor we all were wearing smiles.
We are blessed.

I napped in preparation for work tonight. SJ woke me this afternoon with a fresh cuppa. I sat up in bed and grabbed my laptop to read messages from near strangers and new and old friends via Facebook and email, wishing me and mine the happiest of holidays. And they MEAN it.
We are blessed.

"Dinner's on the table! C'mon down."
I dress and descend to a table covered with Turkey and all the normal fixin's.
Big Bubba offers a prayer of thanks for food, friends, loved ones, and warriors abroad protecting us.
"Amen" we all say.
We are blessed.

Back to work tonight, the helicopter is still in the hangar. It hasn't moved now in over 36 hours, making my preflight a pretty simple matter. We turn on "A Christmas Carol", this version starring George C. Scott. I watch as Scrooge comes to the realization that he is a fortunate soul and decides to (on his own!) provide for his less fortunate employees and neighbors. And I am once again reminded...
The world HAS changed.
Here in the U.S. at least, there is probably less hunger out there than ever before in our history.
But there ARE folks still homeless, cold, and hungry out there.

Our kitchen table at home is COVERED with food.
Our kitchen table here at work is COVERED with food.
There is SO MUCH FOOD I cannot imagine that some of it won't be wasted before being eaten.

Are we thankful?
Do we know how we got here, so rich we cannot imagine not having tables overloaded with food during this season?
I do.
My family does.
And my family also knows this condition may be temporary.
All the more reason to enjoy this bounty while we have it.
But this year I'm challenging myself and I'll gently challenge you too...
Look around you and find those who could use a helping hand, then offer it.

I fear we're approaching a time when we'll be spending A LOT more time taking care of one another.
And we'll still be blessed in many ways.


hoosierboy said...


Bloviating Zeppelin said...

I am thankful. I am blessed. I worked Christmas for the second time in about 30 years, despite have 37 years of seniority on the job. We recently lost another 32 deputies at work and only those people with prior scheduled annual vacation were granted leave on ANY of the holidays. I work from roughly 0530 to 1900 or 1930, and the wife and I had a very simple dinner by ourselves. Sometimes quiet is good. i still have a job and am certainly thankful for that.

Merry Christmas sir, and a Happy New Year. We're going to need MUCH courage for 2011.


cj said...

We are, truly. I'm glad you day was so pleasant, GB, and I hope for good things for us all in the coming year.


bonnie said...

TY for sharing this!! I couldn't have put it on paper like you have here, but I can "feel" exactly what u r saying. I too am truly blessed. Wishing you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Years and lots of love and many hugs!!

Bonnie :o)

bonnie said...

I forgot... I wanted to add... My Destiny cannot, and I mean absolutely cannot stand to get her feet wet when she goes outside to do her business.. it is so funny watching her trying to tippy toe thru the wet grass and then she makes a run for the apartment stairs... yet she will gladly jump in the tub in a heartbeat to take a bath... go figure... bear bear on the other hand turns flip flops to get outside and practically breaks his neck as he goes all out full speed ahead to the end of the 15ft retractable leash... thank goodness he wears a harness instead of a collar.. he will stay out and play in the rain all day... and yet say the all time biggest dirty word of all... BATH time.. well lets just say, if anyone had a video cam they could win funniest home videos filming me trying to catch him... he's a quick little fart.. lol.. go figure..