It's the day before Thanksgiving, and a good time to pause and consider all for which we can be thankful.
It hasn't been a great year for me. In February, while on safari in northern Kenya, I fell and broke my wrist. But I am thankful for the quick response of the camp manager and several of the local Samburu staff. I am thankful for the pilot that flew to a remote airstrip to get me and fly me to Nairobi, for the compassionate care I received from the hospital staff, and for the skilled surgeon who put my wrist back together at 1 a.m. I am thankful for the young Kenyan nurse named Barack who kept my mind off my pain by sharing his love of American history with me as I waited for surgery. I am grateful for the assistance I received from the other members of my group, particularly my tentmate and retired Scottish nurse who did everything from tie my shoes to help me get dressed after the surgery.
I am grateful for the skilled eye surgeon who removed the cataract from both of my eyes and for the friend who drove me to my first post-op appointment until I was cleared to drive. I am grateful for my good health and for being able to walk at least 4 miles every day. When so many my age face serious and debilitating health problems, I am still active and healthy.
I am grateful that my daughter married a very nice young man serving his country in the Air Force, that they live just 30 minutes away, and that she is doing well in her job as a hair stylist.
I am thankful for the many opportunities to travel this year -- to Kenya, India, South Africa, Monument Valley, England, Ireland, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Costa Rica, Mexico and Guatemala.
As the weather turns cold, I am grateful for my wonderful, warm house with its beautiful views of the mountains. I am grateful for my three dogs that keep me on my toes every day and love me beyond words. Unlike so many, I have more than enough to eat, I have warm clothes, a reliable car and good health insurance.
Despite the angst I feel about the most recent presidential election, I am grateful to live in a free country where people are allowed to vote without fear of repercussions. I value our ability to peacefully protest. I am grateful for the members of our military who keep us safe and free, and for the first responders who daily risk their lives in service to others.
I won't be preparing a Thanksgiving meal this year for the first time in decades. I have lost my sense of taste and smell, so I'm not very motivated to spend hours cooking a big dinner that I won't be able to enjoy. But I can spend the day knowing I have plenty to eat and thinking about the many blessings in my life. Because in the end, regardless of our troubles, we in this country do still have much for which to be thankful.