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Thank You Notes

by ELENA JOHNSON/Coeur Voice contributor
| December 26, 2020 1:00 AM

If you follow those national day calendars – and I do, because who wants to miss National Pickle Day? – then you know today is even more than the start of Kwanzaa as well as Boxing Day. (Although you’d think those might be enough reasons to celebrate already.)

According to the highly unregulated and potentially quite unsubstantiated powers that be (online), December 26 is also National Thank You Note Day.

I’m not one to be too sappy (I’ll mourn the loss of spilled milk, but I’m not going to write its eulogy for goodness’ sake), but in this year, with so many reasons to be downright grumpy, glum, or truly despondent, it seems fitting to explore the idea of thankfulness. After all, 2020 is finally closing – pop the champagne and crack open the Cheetos bag – and not one, but two, vaccines are finally making their way out, there’s a little more room for cheer.

While we’re writing, texting, emailing, or speaking our thank-yous today, perhaps we can find just a small, quiet moment of gratitude or at least something worth smiling over.

After a year of less than agreeable circumstances, I’ve forced my grumbling inner monologue to find 20 things I – and perhaps you, too – can actually be thankful for. Some of them are even sincere.

  1. Coffee. The only part of Mondays and mornings that isn’t a rude conspiracy of modern life.
  2. Tea. Like coffee, except the opposite.
  3. Chocolate. Nuff said.
  4. Fermented grape juice and the like. Because sometimes even coffee doesn’t cut it.
  5. Mexican food. Seriously, if we didn’t have tacos or tamales this year that would have been a deal-breaker.
  6. Salt. Remember when that was basically a luxury spice? In the modern era, even plain food gets some kind of flavor.
  7. Cats. First off, if I don’t include them, Her Royal Highness will yell at me – more than usual. But secondly, nothing shakes you out of a black mood and launches you into righteous anger like the shrill demands of a furry tyrant. And cats who actually “watch” the TV with you never get old.
  8. Dogs. (Shh, don’t tell the cats. And cuddle your rats for me, too.)
  9. Fresh snows (when ya’ actually get ‘em), perfect autumn days, and sunny skies.
  10. Sunrises and sunsets – soon to happen at reasonable hours again!
  11. The library. I swear, they’re not buying me off. Our local libraries are the only reason I’m sane enough to string sentences together – and not just because a life
  12. Newspapers. (I know, this one is basically a crummy commercial for Ovaltine, but there’s always one bum entry in every list. You can wash the foul taste from your mouth with the funny pages.)
  13. Holiday movies. I’m still bummed Arbor Day doesn’t get this kind of treatment, but at least we get to watch time traveling knights find romance on a snowy backdrop.
  14. A myriad of unnecessary extra holidays.
  15. Dicey. I smile every time I pass that giant water tank cum statue at City Park.
  16. Toilet paper. That joke doesn’t expire for a few more days, right? But seriously, I’m not shelling out money for a bidet, sanitary or not.
  17. Toilet humor. Say it three times and a Dad will appear. It’s a slow-burn well of thankfulness, because you recoil in horror until you haven’t heard it in a while, and then you somehow think back on it fondly. (No, Dad, this isn’t permission. Mom, I’m sorry.)
  18. Family. Near and far, questionable comedic tastes and all.
  19. Friends and neighbors and all who make life sweet.
  20. The ones we’ve said goodbye to. For all the joys of knowing and loving you. Your place is empty, but our hearts are full because of you.

Here’s to you and yours. And to a truly happy new year.