#224 Counting the day’s gifts

By Cathryn Wellner / December 24, 2011

Photo by Kevin Connors, via morgueFile

I’m on the first day of a cold. I rarely even get a sniffle or an ache of any kind, and this one has me completely dragged out. My partner is in Australia. He left the end of October, and I will only see him via Skype until the end of the first week in February. It’s Christmas Eve. I’m missing him, and I’m in the middle of a full-blown case of PLOM (poor little old me).

What better time to remind myself of today’s gifts.

  1. I was in the Safeway line an hour ago, buying some soup (may not feel like cooking for a couple days) and orange juice (lots of liquid – going to throw off this cold). For good measure I threw in a box of those little mandarins that always found their way to the bottom of my childhood Christmas stocking. The guy in front saw me juggling a now-heavy basket. He put the basket on the conveyor, emptied it, and put the empty basket back in the stack. Small gesture, but I really appreciated it.
  2. The cashier saw I was loading everything into my old leather pack. (I walk everywhere I can.) She emptied the box of mandarins into a bag so I could tuck them into my pack more easily.
  3. When I got home I called Donna, who, with husband Ron, is hosting the pot luck tonight. Ron’s a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor. He and Donna are part of a group of friends who make me feel incredibly fortunate. I figured maybe a cold would be an unwelcome visitor. Donna was reassuring. Ron just got over a bad cold. I won’t give him, or anyone else, a hug, but I am bringing along germs. Still, I won’t have to spend Christmas Eve alone, which makes me incredibly grateful. (My apologies to anyone who catches this cold.)
  4. My laptop and monitor have decided to stop being their usual reliable selves, right at the time the service department will be at its busiest. On the other hand, when I take them in next week, I’ll have a brief time away from my constant companions. That will put me behind on work, but I’m actually looking forward to a break. They’re both still under warranty. Hmmmm, sounds to me like a blessing in disguise.
  5. I have just popped a dish of chicken marbella into the oven. A dear friend gave me the recipe. It sounds absolutely delicious and has been marinating overnight. I’ll think of Judith and our special friendship as the complex aromas begin wafting from my oven (though I may not smell them), and I’ll think of her again tonight, when I share it with friends at the pot luck.
  6. Friends who live in the high rise across the street offered me a ride to the party. Garry and Debbie are part of the special group of friends who make me feel so lucky. They are two of the warmest, most hospitable and generous people I know. They are full of zest for life. Having them in the neighbourhood makes me feel doubly fortunate.
  7. When I’m home from the party and have crawled beneath the duvet, exhausted, sniffly from the cold, happy from being with friends, I’ll open the latest book I borrowed from the library: Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives by Louise DeSalvo. I’ve written to make sense of my life for decades now. Come to think of it, that’s what I’m doing right here.

Seven – that’s a good number. Time to change clothes and upload this post before heading off to celebrate with friends.

I feel better already.

P.S. I’m realizing I’m way too sick to go to the party, but having written this post, I’ll go off to bed feeling happy and blessed instead of miserable and sorry for myself.



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Naomi Baltuck - December 28, 2011

Dear Cathryn, what a lovely post. I wish I could have been there to make you some chicken soup, but you administered your own dose of chicken soup for the soul. You can turn lemons into lemon meringue pie! Even better, you cut it up and pass it around to share.

    admin - December 28, 2011

    Sniffles or not, your words are chicken soup for this soul. Thanks, Naomi.

Marilyn Raymond - March 23, 2012

I love these glimpses into your very rich inner life. You make me feel comforted and privileged somehow to have the chance to see you this way. I have always maintained that we make the meaning of our lives and I see you manifesting that. Thanks.

    admin - March 24, 2012

    As one who admires you greatly, I am humbled and touched by your words. You’ve made my day bright.

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