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Maybe bad days serve a purpose

Sep 29, 2016 By Betty Starks Case

They can make us recognize the 'ordinary' good things

"We're all so busy chasing the extraordinary that we forget to stop and be grateful for the ordinary," observes Brene Brown, an American author and research professor at University of Houston.

With winter heading our way, maybe it's time for a column that roams the neighborhood and takes note of some daily good fortune?

We could begin with the first day of autumn. Now the trees, artists in their own right, can launch their colorful performance, and frost may appear anytime it's ready. A beautiful weeping birch next door has already begun to brighten the lawn with gold leaves.

At our house, the new roof job is complete, and while the shingles aren't quite as dark as the old ones, a neighbor says she likes them because she can see when it frosts just by looking out her window at our roof.

The new tan/brown shingles show the white coat when gray roofs around us do not. And whether you've heard it or not, we did have frost on our roof on Sept. 10. Some say it's because we aren't far from the river, a location that also treats us to calls of coyotes, sandhill cranes, and Canada geese, each a gift in itself.

One of the best things to happen in our area this summer has been the great improvement of Riverview Road, a project funded by the optional 1 percent sales tax, or partially so. We who use the road, and we are many, no longer feel like the forgotten stepchild of street funding. Now we head west from town, cruising smoothly along as we absorb the indescribable beauty of the blue mountain peaks in the distance, no longer having to dodge sink-holes and crumbling blacktop.

Oh yes, and no more of that columnist's complaints.

The new airline service to our area is another boon to travelers. Friends who frequently rely on air travel give generous kudos to the Denver Air Connection service.

An event of gratitude occurred here after next-door neighbors suffered the flu and colds, a restaurant waitress served us with a severe cough, and Ned and I came down with colds barely a week before we expect our son and wife to arrive for a visit.

If I couldn't shake the cold before our family arrived, I'd be in bad shape. Colds just don't give up on me that fast.

I remembered a friend saying that Alka-Seltzer Plus could knock a cold. I took three doses each day for two days. My cold disappeared. As usual, Ned recovered in three or four days.

I call us both winners.

On the subject of bugs, but a different variety, we bought fresh fruit from a visiting truck a week or so ago and ended up battling gnats or fruit flies - so tiny, but just try to swat one. I took a swing at one from an angle and now have sore muscles around my elbow. But how could I not laugh? A pulled muscle from swatting a gnat?

To continue the good stuff, extraordinary to some, but ordinary to me, recently a gold crown came off my wisdom tooth.

Most people lose wisdom teeth before middle age. What am I doing with those teeth now? And who'd put a gold crown on a wisdom tooth anyway?

"You're using the tooth," explained my dentist when he crowned it years ago. "There's no reason to pull it."

Today's dentist says the same thing: "It's fine."

He put the crown back on.

I'm grateful for those teeth, even if some of my readers may wonder why they were ever credited with "wisdom."

Further awareness of gratitude's gifts comes from Lisa Fields's recent Reader's Digest article titled "The Goodness of Gratitude." Fields quotes Willibald Ruch, University of Zurich psychology professor this way, "Gratitude is how you relate to others... when you see yourself in connection with things larger than yourself."

How can that not be a good thing?

It's easy to accept the everyday good stuff as our due. But it takes only a few bad times to remind us that Professor Brene Brown is right.

Wait a minute. Is that what bad days are for? To help us appreciate it when we're hit with the good stuff?

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