by cheri sabraw
You will remember that I balked at spending $45.00 for a wire (gossamer light, I might add) gratitude sign that I had seen at Lily’s Coffee Shop.
At home with the joyous weekend now only a brief lighthearted memory, I returned to my routine of emptying the dishwasher, tending to my mother’s pharmaceutical needs, weeding, and checking the expiration date on the canned goods in my pantry. In each of these activities, I tried to lift myself emotionally from the banal tasks that they are.
If only I had that gratitude sign to remind me to be grateful every moment of my life, I thought, grateful for my memory, I’d pluck each mound of dog doo on the lawn–a testimony to Dinah’s exemplary intestinal tract and to the natural dog food at $53.00 per bag that one feeds a dog with serious food allergies–and fling it joyfully into the brambles that border our property. Yep, that’s how I would view canine defecation, if only I had that gratitude sign to remind me.
I decided to buy the sign and asked my brother (names have been changed to protect the guilty) Eric and his wife of one year, Anika, to purchase it for me while they were staying at our little house on the central coast. I neglected to tell them to take the sign home with them, as I planned to hang it here, in my home in the Bay Area, where daily, I need to be reminded to be grateful.
Eric and Anika bought the sign which Lily gingerly wrapped in white tissue, tucking it into a light brown gift bag. This bag, they left on the bar in my little home.
Meanwhile, my brother’s ex-wife Lenore e-mailed me to ask if her sister, Lenette and her husband David–visiting from New York City–could stay at the little house on their way from Los Angeles to the wine country of Napa-Sonoma.
“Sure, no problem,” I said, but thought now I need to contact Grace, my cleaning lady, to come on Monday (instead of Tuesday), since Lenette and David would arrive on the Tuesday afternoon following my brother and his new wife’s stay.
Grace cleaned, Lenette and David visited and left, and the Judge and I drove down the following weekend, with Dinah grateful to be included in the trip, wagging her tail merrily like a rear windshield wiper. I was pensive. Would a gratitude sign and the visual reminder provided by it, be enough to lift me from the selfishness I experience when asked to pick up razor blades at CVS pharmacy, stop at McIvor’s Hardware Store and buy caulking, and provide a nutritious dinner each night for a hard-working husband?
I dearly hoped so.
We arrived at the little house very late, past midnight. There on the counter were thank-you gifts (expressing gratitude) from Eric and Anika (a bottle of Absolute Vodka for the Judge) with lovely note and a dark gorgeously labeled bottle of Opolo wine (Sangiovese) from my ex-sister-in-law Lenore’s sister and her husband, Lenette and David, with an accompanying little card.
Great. How sweet. But I was looking for my gratitude sign, supposedly left in the cubbyhole by the bar, as reported by my brother and his new wife, Anika. No bag, no tissue, no nothing. My gratitude sign was nowhere to be found.
That night, long after the Judge had retired to our bedroom (doing so after his customary vanilla ice cream aperitif) and covering his tired eyes with a sensuous lavender eye-pillow, I–like a ferret–searched and searched through cupboards and drawers for the sign which must have been left somewhere, damn it!
Alas, the gratitude sign was gone. Who took it?
I gave up my search, like a failed old bloodhound, and crawled into the bed, next to the Judge, who would be certain– the next morning while sipping his coffee and noshing on a cinnamon roll–to render his opinion on probable whereabouts (or not) of the sign.
Did Erik and Anika actually buy the gratitude sign, for which I had already written them a $45.00 check?
What about my ex-sister-in-law Lenore?
What about her NYC sister Lenette and her suave and talented husband David?
What about Grace?
What about Gratitude?