The arrival of Thanksgiving compels me to reflect on things for which I am grateful. I can count among my blessings this time of year the fact that I am not a turkey, but I can still gobble copious quantities of food.
Momentarily setting aside thoughts about international turmoil, election results, environmental damage, disease and the ever widening gap in this country between the rich and poor, a vast array of good things surround us, too.
Trying to take stock reveals the impossibility of forming a complete or prioritized list. Such a litany does not even touch on so many things for which I am profoundly appreciative.
I mean, I might say, "I am thankful for cranberries" and totally leave out the fact that I am overwhelmingly grateful to have not one, but two fully functional nostrils.
That having been said, the following is a random list of things for which I am grateful:
The absolving power of disclaimers.
A shortage of Thanksgiving Day songs. We have ample carols about subsequent holidays, as will be demonstrated by people in Seaside this Saturday during the lighted float parade.
Intermittent waves of quacking, honking, waddling, flapping, diving and neck swooning among ducks, geese, swans and other water fowl, particularly when seen during a romantic stream-side stroll at night.
Palindromes. "Madam, I'm Adam."
Anagrams. "Mother-in-law ... Hitler woman."
No injuries to friends or spectators following my extended attempt to bowl at Recreation Lanes in Gearhart last weekend, despite a thudding embarrassing case of literally dropping the ball.
The fact that a murder of crows, when larger, is known as a congregation.
The preparation of hearty stew or hot chocolate with marshmallows on a chilly day.
Older versions of the board game "Clue."
Television marathons and the saturation point of seeing too many ads for them as a reminder to stop watching television.
Certain words, including dilapidated, kumquat, scurvy and antidisestablishmentarianism, to name but a few.
Golden leaves tinted with crimson.
A letter from a friend or loved one, mailed the old-fashioned way.
Short city council meetings.
The end, at last, of the Winona Ryder shoplifting trial.
Days when the in-box of unsolicited e-mail is surprisingly not too full.
The purr of a cat, the nudge of a fuzzy muzzle, and the fact that "muzzle" rhymes with completely different words such as "puzzle" and "guzzle."
The release of moments when I stop trying to rhyme everything.
Solace found in a good book.
The smell of oregano - though not the smell of some Oregonians.
The way stones, thrown just so across water, skip.
Important lessons of bad spell-checking, which might be described as "interest free" checking. Left unchecked, for example, "Bol-chunos" might be replaced with "boisterous," or "bogus."
Light, especially reflected in puddles.
Darkness, especially in sleep.
The warmth of friends and family coming together on a brisk day and subtly recognizing their importance to one another.
Patience among readers of bizarre forays of North Coast Lithuanian journalists into various worlds of wackiness and landscapes of lunacy.
At the risk of rhyming again, Brad Bolchunos, the south county reporter for The Daily Astorian, is also grateful that he has a new way of helping to explain how to pronounce his last name: "thank-YOU-nos."