Small thanks

I have many things for which to be thankful.  I have never in my life had to worry about where my next meal was coming from or whether I would have a roof over my head.  I have never been without friends.  I have good health for somebody my age (73).  I live in a free country under the rule of law.  I live in an age when the great mass people can devote themselves to other things besides working to survive.  Above all, I am thankful for the gift of life itself.

But this post is not about these things.  It is about the small things I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for automobiles that don’t rust out.  When I first came to Rochester, the city and county governments used to spread large amounts of road salt in the winter.  Natives and long-time residents told me it was important to get a good rust-proofing service; I, foolishly, used an inexpensive service instead, to my regret.  Road salt is less of a problem now than it was then, but the plastic body of my Saturn doesn’t rust anyhow.

I am thankful for automobiles that always start in the winter.  I can remember when this was a big issue.  I would run my car in neutral when I got home, and before I tried to start the car, in hope of recharging the battery enough to get a good start.  Now, with alternators as standard equipment, that recharging takes care of itself.  I am thankful for automobiles that get good traction on ice-covered and snow-covered streets, for right-side rear view mirrors and for rear-window defrosters.  I am thankful for idiot bells that let me know when I am getting out of the car with my lights still on or my key still in the ignition; this idiot needs the reminder.

I am thankful for ballpoint pens that don’t leak over my shirts when I accidentally put them in the washer.

I am thankful bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders provide chairs so I can sit and read.  They don’t lose money by allowing me to read their books free; I spend more there than I otherwise would.

I am thankful for painless dentistry.  As a boy, I once had a tooth extracted without anesthetic.  The dentist used what looked like a pair of pliers.  He pulled and pulled and pulled, then had to stop and catch his breath before going back and finally getting it out.

I am thankful for plastic bottles shaped with grips.

I am thankful for thermostats.  My parents had a coal furnace, and we had to be constantly thinking not letting the fire go out, but also banking the furnace so as not to waste coal.  One of my chores, since both of my parents worked outside the home, was to go right home when school let out and shovel fresh coal in the furnance.  Now I have a gas furnace that doesn’t have to be monitored at all, and a thermostat which I can turn up or down when I feel too hot or too cold.

I am thankful for luggage with wheels.  I can remember walking through airports and, before that, train stations carrying suitcases that felt like they would pull my arms out of their sockets.

I am thankful for search engines since as Google that allow me to find information in two minutes that I would have had to spend an afternoon in library to get, if I could find it at all.  I am thankful for web hosts such as WordPress that allow me to have my own web log, free of charge and without needing to be computer-savvy.  I am thankful for being able to communicate with friends in distant places through e-mail. Not to mention spam filters which free me from having to continually purge my e-mail and web log comments.

I am thankful for direct-dial long-distance telephone service.  I can talk to people in distant states and even foreign countries at an affordable price and without having to deal with an operator.  And for telephone answering machines.  When I was a boy, telephone service was like Internet service today.  Most people had it, but a large minority didn’t.

And not all telephone users had private telephone lines. Basic telephone service in those days consisted of a party line, networking a number of households; the phones of everybody on the line rang on every call, but you were supposed to recognize the distinctive ring of your own line and not listen in to others’ calls.

Microwave ovens are a great boon to a lazy cook like me.  I do almost all my cooking nowadays, which consists mostly of frozen dinners, in the microwave.

What am I overlooking?

What am I taking for granted?

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4 Responses to “Small thanks”

  1. ThinkAsTheyDoOrElse Says:

    For those who have to work, snooze alarms are especially nice. I’ve looked in vain to discover who invented it (the actual person)

    There are digital radios that make it easier to locate stations some even have remote controls.

    Dare I say Digital camaras, Home Depot or Wal-Mart! 🙂

    Amazon and ebay

    Computer chess players


    Disc golf is a great substitute for golf.

    Sponge rubber on tabble tennis bats.

    The improved Can of Worms


    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Sincerly your nemesis, 🙂

    Mr. ThinkAsTheyDoOrElse


  2. Colleen Dunham Says:

    to luggage with wheels, i would add backpacks. especially those with generous shoulder padding.

    fleece jackets. fleece socks.

    dedicated left-turn lanes.

    focus on customer service. in the hospital waiting room last week, a woman came around with a basket of treats and asked if there was anything else she could do to make the wait more comfortable.


  3. Anne Tanner Says:

    1. For no-iron fabrics, since I was the ironer in the family as a young person.
    2. For Dwight D. Eisenhower’s idea of an interstate highway system, which will get me to turkey a full hour earlier than it once took. Now mind you, I’d be much more grateful for a train…
    3. For the continuing miracle of an African American president, in a land that used to lynch people of that race.
    4. For the first glimmers of evidence that we are becoming a more tolerant society in many ways.
    5. As a genealogist, for online databases that give me the ability to find information in a fraction of the time it took my genealogist aunt to do it.
    6. For this blog, which lets me keep up with you!


  4. Jane Hickok Says:

    I remember coal furnaces too, and having to go down to the basement after school and shovel coal into the furnace. I also remember that our hot water heater did not have a thermostat and we had to go down to the basement to turn it on an hour or so before taking a bath. Along these lines I’m grateful for automatic clothes washers and dryers. And I am even more grateful for automatic dishwashers. Electric coffee makers. Refrigerators (instead of ice boxes). Gas lawn mowers. Automatic gear shifts (I learned to drive on a stick shift car).


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