Beyond The Pale

Thanksgiving 2009, A Different List Than I Might Normally Post

I know that Thanksgiving was quite some time ago, around the 24th of November. I never bothered to learn when exactly Thanksgiving was. When I started noticing the holiday, I was dating a girl by the name of Sara Daugherty, and her birthday was on the 24th of November, so I just always remember that Thanksgiving is on the Thursday of that week, which I suppose Andrea might find to be one of the worse possible ways of remembering the holiday, but I think that she knows that I love her enough that my way of remembering a holiday says nothing about my feelings for her.

Still, I think that I should post a Thanksgiving post, but this time I’m not going to do the typical type of post. I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful for my family and the freedoms that God has given me as a member of the West. I’m going to write my thanksgiving list from the perspective of someone in my current position, someone whose thanks might seem trite, thanks that will look more like a shopping list, perhaps, but those things that this year, away from my family, I’m most thankful for having access to here, in the present. So here it goes:

  • I’m thankful for my journal.
  • I’m thankful for Zots (look them up).
  • Hey Jude
  • I’m thankful for 3×5 notecards.
  • I’m thankful for Uni-Ball Vision Elite .8mm liquid filled pens.
  • I’m thankful that NPR has podcasts of Fresh Air and Pop Culture.
  • I’m thankful that deployed soldiers get paid extra so that I’ve been able to put my family into the right financial position so that I can, for the first time in my married life provide for my family, even if I’m not there, perhaps because I’m not there.
  • I’m thankful that I brought $300+ in books with me on this trip.
  • I’m thankful that I can wear a girl’s hat for a whole deployment and get made fun of constantly. It tells me something I’ve always wondered—that I just don’t care.
  • I’m thankful for Harper’s.
  • I’m thankful for The New Yorker.
  • I’m thankful for letters from small children that I’ll never meet.
  • I’m thankful for the women of Curves who sent me warm socks for Christmas.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love all of the things that I’m supposed to be grateful for. I’m thankful for loving parents and a loving wife and a friend who is with me when we’re 9000 miles apart. I’m thankful for all the things I should be, but here, those things become less of something to be thankful for and more of a reason to live. The things I’ve listed above, with the possible exception of the Zots, which Andrea bought for me while I was in Basic Training, and I’ve carried with me, without exception, ever since, are things that I could live without, things that make my life easier, that make my life less of an existence and more of a life, and I think that in 70 years when my kids donate my journals to some university library, someone will be thankful for those things as well, not because my writing is something of eternal value, but because writing something longer than 156 characters is becoming a lost art, and I want to leave something of myself behind, something that will annoy my children and give future students a taste of what life might have been like for a mentally troubled, but enthusiastically so, young man stuck in the middle of a war that is really just as bureaucratic as anything that you might have read in the most satirical of fiction.


December 20, 2009 - Posted by | Army, Literature

1 Comment »

  1. I had a boyfriend in college that introduced me to a made-up game he called Things I Like. We’d lay around and take turns saying things we liked. “I like cornfields.” “I like planetariums.” “I like the way an axe sounds against a large stump.” “I like having dreams that are always out of reach.” You get the idea. Your list made me think of that for some reason.

    Comment by Rachel B. | December 22, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: