“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ that will be enough.” Meister Eckhart
Our country celebrated my favorite holiday last week. I celebrated with my husband’s family on Thursday, and my family on Saturday. I try to celebrate it alone every day. I try to find small and large things to be grateful for. Some days, I know I don’t try hard enough. When I give it my best, I get the best in return.
I find more peace. More joy. More awareness of so many more things I need to be grateful for. More awareness of how rich life can be when I focus on the good.
I am now grateful for things that used to drag me down. Like the seemingly endless stretch of Interstate 70 that leads to Gail’s house:
I drove this hundred mile stretch several hundred times on my way from my current small city to an even smaller city during my graduate school days:
If I try just a little harder, I can find so many beautiful sights along the way to be thankful for. Out of respect for Gail and Suzanne’s love of the wind, I have come to appreciate–only a little more– the reason why Kansas has so many of these:
An hour past my alma mater town, this gem on the plains is the hometown of both of my in-laws. They were married in this church that stands as a tall beacon on the prairie skyline, and all four of my husband’s grandparents were laid to rest behind the church. A dear friend’s parents are buried there as well. In an unlikely coincidence, my mom’s father was born there at home, but didn’t live there long as a child.
As I age, I am more thankful that I was born and raised a Kansas farm girl. While my family trusted only the red tractors, combines and other machinery, the green ones are fixtures on the Kansas plains. My husband’s brother-in-law recently retired from a long and storied career with the green tractor company, so I have to respect them too. Only if you were raised on a farm would you understand the ongoing debate/argument over which tractor is better: red or green? Either one will adequately harvest the current corn crop, which, in the last 10 years, is becoming a bigger cash crop in Kansas.
So, just when I think I can no longer tolerate the monotony of the flat western Kansas landscape, the road to Gail’s house takes a surprise twist: hills!
Then, about ten minutes later, we have arrived. Over the plains and through the hills, to Gail’s house we go.
Gail and Suzanne are busy cooking; Suzanne and her family arrived last night.
Anyone in the kitchen is expected to lend a hand.
This is Gail’s time to shine, it is the pinnacle of the year–in family terms–for her. I think that’s why it’s my favorite too. Three of our four brothers, their wives and most of their offspring were there as well. If Gail is in charge, it’s gonna be good.
And it was.
Our new tradition is to take a picture in Camp Gail, just like we did last year.
After duplicating that picture, we decided to try to duplicate this one, with a slight modification to reflect the fact that we are all fifteen years older than when this picture was taken:
It didn’t turn out so well:
Still, we tried. And we will keep on trying to have all the fun we possibly can. I am so thankful for that.
I have long been thankful for Kansas sunsets, perhaps the most recognized natural wonder of The Wheat State.
Happy Thanksgiving every day from the three Kansas wheat farm girls of the Sister Lode.