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Luck, genes, self-discipline

Nov 23, 2016 By Betty Starks Case

In this Thanksgiving week, I'm thankful for all three

Publication day for this column comes on Thanksgiving this year. Because that is a holiday, the column will see print on one side or the other of Thanksgiving.

But shouldn't the "Thanks-giving" coincidence add extra gratitude?

Easy to do.

While my fun-loving brother Earl, who passed on recently, will be sorely missed, this family will rejoice that we had him in our lives for so many years, that he set a beautiful example of how this life can be most fulfilling and how courageously the journey to the next can be traveled. We may even sense the warmth of Earl's personality popping out in each other.

Now for the rest of my gratitude journal. If your thanks-giving should appear weak or lacking, something here might jog your thoughts and shake loose a positive awareness or two:

Good health: For reasons I don't know, I'm blessed with unusually good health for my age. Maybe I dealt with all the problems in earlier years. But right now, I'm so thankful.

Maybe it's genetic. I had a paternal aunt whom I never knew, but was told she was out in the field plowing with horses in Iowa when she was 90.

On the maternal side, when I asked a great aunt how she lived so long, she said, "I don't know. But I can't go yet. I have to stay and see how things turn out."

My philosophy exactly.

The rest may be dumb luck, as they say. But mixed in with luck is a little self-discipline.

I do specific exercises each morning when I get up - exercises I found online for sciatic nerve problems. They are identical to the ones I was taught by physical therapists, and each day I can walk without pain because I do these exercises faithfully.

Part of this routine also concerns my shoulders. I was told by several Ft. Collins physicians the only help available was stronger pain pills. I came home and found a physical therapist who taught me exercises that took away all the pain. For me, they work. I rarely take a pain pill of any kind.

Husband and Home: I am so grateful for these. And feeling blessed to have them. My mate and I may share some of the problems of aging, but like the Pickles comic strip characters said recently, "We haven't forgotten one another's names yet."

Children: What a generous and loving Son and Daughter. They drove three long trips between Spokane, Washington and Wyoming in just a few weeks when Son's loved uncle, my brother Earl, passed on. Almost brothers, with only three years difference in age, theirs was a lifetime of special relationship. Like college years at U.W. that became more tolerable when Son requested permission to leave the student residence hall and live with his uncle. No one questioned the age of the uncle.

A beautiful memory to me in those last days is of Son kneeling before Earl's chair holding his hand and speaking a few gentle words.

"No one," he told me, "was ever more ready to meet Jesus."

Daughter's generosity and caring kept us all nourished and assured that we could make it. I see her in memory preparing huge amounts of food for people gathering at the Hospice Home before she'd had any breakfast herself. If someone needed a ride to an appointment or simply a boost in courage, she was there.

Friends and neighbors: What a supportive, loving group - bringing food, clearing our yard of endless autumn waste, lunch out, and insisting we dine on lobster and rib roast with them to honor my 30 years of writing columns and feature stories for The Ranger.

Family: Family should be a part of anyone's Thanksgiving if possible, and families are warming our hearts especially this year. Brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews all filled a special need in recent times. We warmed one another's chills, calmed fears, shared hugs, and in-laws became sisters and brothers. You can't beat that for real thanks-giving.

Finally, on an expanded scale, I really gave thanks when that silly/ugly presidential contest ended earlier this month. But I'd like to see some class displayed in the process. And a few truths.

Many believe a business man/president can improve America's finances and world relationships. I hope so.

I'll truly give thanks if our new president's chameleon abilities bring forth a talent to prove what's best in us in place of the campaign's "game" approach and grade school behavior.

Have a happy. And be thankful.

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