Gratitude: Where is it?

by cheri sabraw

I sat down at a local coffee hang-out in a small coastal California town that we love. Lily, the barista–an older woman, who unlike me, seems to be comfortable with the aging process–had just made me my usual drink, a low-fat vanilla latte with two pumps of vanilla.

Conversation in these types of establishments where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an open-mike forum can be either rich, banal, or rich-banal.

On this day, it was rich.

“Did you hear that Evan was arrested last night outside the bar?” asked a male member of the Class of 68 who looked like the Class of 58.

“No, I’m shocked that the sheriff was in town that late,” answered a former hippie with silver hair all the way down to her low-hanging breasts.

“Well, he was, and Evan, evidently, did not go easy.”

“You’re kidding. I figured he was so drunk that he probably fell into the car and was relieved, at that. Or did he relieve himself before the sheriff pushed him into the back seat? God can you imagine the germs that live on that back seat? I don’t want to think about that. You know I have a germ phobia. At least that’s what my shrink and I have been working on for the last year. Lily, that’s why I like your shop here. You keep it clean. Here I don’t worry about germs,” said the fella from the Class of 68.

“Well, I told Evan last week at AA that I was so proud of him for walking that far to come to a meeting (you know he’s lost his driver’s license) and hiking in from five miles out says a lot about his intentions. At least I thought so but evidently not. His mistake is living with Destinee. Everyone knows that she is bad news. Did you hear me? I said bad news. He ought to be grateful he’s alive after he fell from that pine tree last year. Poor guy. Trying to trim his own trees with a chain saw. He’s lucky he didn’t cut off a leg. Yep. He ought to be grateful he’s alive,” resolved the woman with the low-hanging breasts.

I kept my sunglasses on, a habit that began years ago when one of my former students recognized me in a lingerie shop, looking at push-up bras.

I scooted my croissant around its plate and put my lips to the mug. Ahhhhh….Lily knows exactly how to make a latte. And then I saw it.

On the wall, among other wiry words like Patience, Dream, and Faith, was the word Gratitude.

Hanging from the wispy word was a tag. Wow. $45.00 in this economy is a lot to be asking for a Gratitude sign.

All good things must come to an end. My weekend was up. We drove home to the busy Bay Area. I tried to be grateful for the traffic, the fact that I could pay for gasoline at $4.55 a gallon and most important, that my mother’s caregivers had not called in sick.

That night, I wished I had bought the sign. I could place it across from our bed, so the first image I would see each morning would be a subtle reminder to take stock of what I have and not what I have lost such as  muscle tone, my father, and a number of much beloved dogs, whose names I will list here: Duchess, Duchess II, Dickens, Galaxie, Maggie, Elsa, and Udo.

Tomorrow: Gratitude is purchased.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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27 Responses to Gratitude: Where is it?

  1. Rosemary Feeley Foreman says:

    Once again, enjoying your blog…sittiing on my new glider on my new patio on the Carlsbad lagoon, coffee in hand….amused, touched, that muscle-tone snippet made me chuckle….but yes, gratitude….I think I will make my own little sign today….you got me goin’!!!! Have a fantastic day!!!!!

  2. Christopher says:

    A gem of a little short story. Readers Digest might love it!!

  3. dafna says:

    oh cheri!

    how tactful is rosemary… i offer my unsolicited “perush rashi”. unless purchasing this wired sign also makes lily grateful and the artist who made it grateful, there are better ways to purchase gratitude.

    make your own sign and donate the $45 to those who have even less for which to be grateful!

  4. Very nice. I once knew someone who used to say, “There’s an old saying . . . I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet.”

  5. Cyberquill says:

    Gratitude is great if you can afford it. At $45, it’s clearly a virtue reserved for the 1%.

  6. Cheri says:

    Gratitude is free to those who make their own signs.

  7. Cheri says:

    Part Two of “Gratitude: Where is It?” will be posted next week.

  8. imagenmots says:

    Cheri, the aging process, as I have seen here last summer, is treating you very well. What are you complaining about?
    Gratitude is free…but earned painfully.

  9. Cheri says:

    You are very kind Paul. I am not complaining. I just said that I am still uncomfortable with the aging process, in some respects. That’s the honest answer. Wish I were as comfortable as an old chair…

    • imagenmots says:

      The key is accepting and enjoying growing older and the fresh perspectives it opens.

      • Cheri says:

        True enough Paul. It’s all in how you look at it, right? I think it is easier for men to age than for women.

      • Richard says:

        I am very ready to believe Paul about what he saw last summer because your writing is so full of youthful energy. It is likely always to remain so. Some people just do not age in essentials.

        • Cheri says:

          Richard,
          This topic (that of youthful energy in writing) interests me. I would also like to know more about your last sentence. “The essentials…” can you explain further?

          What makes a writer “old”? “young”? The topic, the verbs, the voice…yes…maybe it is the voice.

          • Richard says:

            I’m hardly in a position to say where youthful energy comes from in a piece of writing or to preach, but I do recognise it in others.

            Truth is the start of everything, I suppose. Knowing the realities and limitations is part of that. The constant excitement and novelty of existence, however, is characteristic not only of youth but of all ages and is injected into all we do by an act of will.

            This does not cease when we retire. On the contrary, we are at liberty to apply this verve into activities of our choice,whether writing or something else. The vanities have no relevance here.

            The important thing is not to hang your coat up and reckon you have the right to sponge on others. It is a fashionable thing to say we have rights of one kind or another. There are no rights – only privileges for which, as you say, we are to be eternally grateful.

            End of sermon. Back to the long grass 🙂

  10. Richard says:

    Very helpful.
    Gramercy 🙂

  11. Pingback: Part Two: Gratitude: where is it? | Notes from Around the Block

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