This past Thanksgiving Day, my mom and brother went down to the Dillon’s for an afternoon dinner with their family and friends. It was a very gracious invitation and dinner was great. I was delegated the responsibility to carve the turkey. Oh – I had to wake up Alex on the way as he’d been out all night digging up arrowheads. Tatiana gave the blessing. Cathy asked that all of us make some quick commentary about what we each were thankful for. I had to think on that for a bit – it was not a simple question for me because on even the worst of days, I can still find a whole lot of daylight. Truly – every morning that I wake up, I am thankful. But certainly, as I sat there hastily thinking about what I was most thankful for, I expressed that it was my relationships with good people – here n there, abroad and around the World. I do know a bunch of extraordinary people and I do care about them all immensely. I said what I said, it was well received, but I continued to think about it for a day or two afterward.
Now having had the time to think – I would say that I am most thankful for having been granted the sort of character and demeanor that permits me to see both the good and beauty of things, the be able to listen and to set volatile emotions aside to make considered decisions and choices. It is this that has enabled me to find, even seek out interesting people to befriend. Generally, but not always, when I pick someone out of the crowd, we are pals for life.
As I now sit in a premium seat of my United flight to Cancun, I am forced by the circumstance of the day to continue with my thoughts. A few years ago, I was going to Hawaii with Tyler Green – a friend of mine from San Marcos. We stopped in LA for a couple of days to visit Paula and other friends. When we arrived at LAX for our Hawaiian Air flight to Maui – in the rarest of moments – the flight was cancelled due to a mechanical problem. The airline counter was a nightmare. The lines were long and everyone was just pissed off. We had at least fifteen people ahead of us in line and an entire MD11 needed to be re-routed. Oh well I said – and we stood as the line gnary moved at all. After a while, I said to Tyler to put on a happy face. He smiled. I said no – I want you to look up at the counter at every Hawaiian Airline’s employee and let them know how happy you are to be here – to let them see in your face that you are not pissed off and that you empathize with their plight. And so both of us – in truth – looked forward through the gauntlet of anger and ill will and radiated our smiley faces and good spirits and love for the moment. And it was for about ten minutes when a cute counter manager caught our eye. She walked out from behind the counter, past fifteen people in front of us and stopped standing before us. She looked over her glasses and said quietly, “where are you guys going?” We both said “Maui”. She said, “Give me your tickets and ID’s and wait here.” I less than five minutes, she walked back from the counter with two tickets on an American flight to Maui. She quickly gave us directions of how to get across the airport and then smiled – “and ya’ll will arrive 30 minutes earlier. Nice.
And so today – on yet another adventure – this time to Tumul and Coba in Yucatan, I was faced with another dilemma – a small economy seat. I walked up to the counter and chit chatted with the flight crew about this and that – happy as always to be alive, to be where I was, to be talking to them. I asked about what it was costing for upgrades, as it seemed the front of the plane was empty. She smiled, took a spin through the computer and said – oh wow, they’re expensive. OK I said – thanks for looking. I sat nearby and helped direct wayward folks to the counter to get their passports checked – just because they had not heard the announcement. And so after a bit, when the counter was quiet, she walked out to my seat and tapped me on the shoulder. Do you have your ticket? Sure – and we walked to the counter. She said “I’m putting you in a premium seat”. Nice!
So now I type with my feet up on the armrest and about six feet of legroom ahead of me – my third Blood Mary by the way. The plane is shaking all over the sky but we will be arriving 25 minutes early.
I do have so much to be thankful for – and I do always see the full side of my glass. And as I boarded this plane this morning, I got the best text ever ever ever from Alex, at 6:03am no less. He did say he tried to wake up. I’m thinking he had not yet gone to bed. None the less, I am so extraordinarily fortunate.