Last Wednesday, I sat around a fake campfire with my seminary students, and we spent the entire fifty minutes taking turns saying what we were thankful for. It’s a yearly tradition. I bring as many blankets and pillows as I can fit in my car, and the kids snuggle in, wrapping themselves in the warmth of the quilts and the spirit of the Comforter that is surely there with us. Several of the kids say that it’s their favorite seminary lesson of the whole year.
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
My seminary kids were blown away when I said I was thankful for pizza, because I was eighteen before I had my first taste of that delightful dish. Here are some other things I’m grateful for:
I’m thankful for copy machines. When I was sixteen and worked in the typing pool at the Bureau of Reclamation, you had three options for copies: 1) carbon paper, and woe betide the person who made a mistake, because you had to erase all those copies, too (and you’d better put a shield in, or your erasure would smudge the sheets lying behind), 2) thermo fax, the newest in copying, a heat-sensitive film that became brittle and disintegrated before the year was out, 3) copy-eze, also a technological breakthrough, a 3-part photographic process that resulted in a wet copy that wrinkled as it dried. Cumbersome as it was, we were grateful for the copy-eze, because that meant we could copy any document instead of having to create a copy on the typewriter.
I’m thankful for forced-air furnaces. Growing up in rural
I’m grateful for Skype. With that free, downloadable program and an internet connection, I can talk to my son, who’s studying in
And phones! You don’t have to be very old to remember when there were no cell phones. But I remember lots of years without a phone in our house. And then, when we got one, we had a four-party line, and when anyone on the line got a call, it rang in every house. Our ring was two shorts and a long. I remember the joy of getting a single party line, where no one could listen in on my conversation, and I didn’t have to note the ring pattern to know if it was for me or not.
There are so many more things to remember, lights and darks in the pattern of my life. The sweets that are sweeter because of the sour, the dazzles that are brighter because of the dimness. I've touched on conveniences here rather than social and family relations, health, and economic well being, but there have been couple-colors there too, and I'm grateful for the hard times as well as the good.