What I'm Thankful For

Thanksgiving 2005


November 19, 2005

There are so many topics one could write about in this post-Katrina state, and initially I thought I would write about "diversions," something so desperately needed by someone who is usually positive and "up" like me. After all, living amongst rubble, driving past endless miles of enormously high piles of debris, and making daily trips for something as simple as water CAN eventually wear down one's spirits.

It didn't take me long after accepting the reality of Katrina that I needed something to do. In those first few days after the storm, I was hardly ready for a "job," but still, I needed a reason to get out of bed. Although Dave and I lost everything, I was not about to fill my days with going to the distribution points and hording anything and everything I could, like some people were. I counted myself fortunate to have a roof over my head (a rather small, but perfectly adequate, truck/camper), enough money for food and necessities (despite not having anywhere to shop), and above all, insurance.

Three days before Katrina struck I had interviewed for a job with the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, and so my first call went to Tish Williams, the executive director, asking her if she needed any help. I should have known that in spite of her own personal losses, Tish was conjuring up ideas for how to help restart Hancock County businesses. And so, ever since September 21st, I've been volunteering as a "gal Friday" at the Chamber's Small Business Assistance Center, a place where business owners can talk to SBA loan officers and everyone in the community can take advantage of computers, wireless Internet, a fax machine, copier, and above all else, get information.

I answer the phone (which never seems to stop ringing), track businesses that are back in business, help residents get information on anything and everything, and in general, "duties as assigned." I feel fortunate that I don't absolutely need a job right now. I just need something to do to keep focused on recovery. I've got to be assured that things will eventually get better, though I know it's going to be years before our community is close to anything resembling "normal."

And so, this citizen's diary entry was going to be about "diversions." But I can't ignore that my absolutely favorite holiday is fast approaching. I LOVE Thanksgiving. Sure, the food is a big part of it, but more than anything, I just think that it's good to pause and reflect on all the blessings we have. It's almost funny to think that any of us hurricane victims have anything to be thankful for, but I do. I have a LOT to be thankful for. Here are my Top Ten Things:

10. A working vehicle. OK, it's the same car our kids learned to drive on. It's a beater and has more than 126,000 miles on it, but it runs like a top. I'm glad to have it.

9. A FEMA trailer.
8. The fact that our firepit survived. Fires don't just provide warmth; they encourage us to relax and just enjoy the beauty of a harvest moon, a million stars, and peace and quiet.

7. My washing machine (I wrote about this earlier-"Laundry Daze.")
6. The positive vibes from doing an honest day's work.
5. Our dog, Jim. He's my friend, my walking-buddy, and our security system.

4. Good, good friends. Long-time ones who love and care about us and wonder why in the world we stay in Mississippi, and our Mississippi friends with whom we've bonded for life.
3. That our daughter, Kate, is back from Iraq.

2. My husband, Dave. He's amazing. He's my best friend who is always there, no matter what. I love him so much.
1. Optimism. Katrina threw us a huge setback, but we WILL get through this.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.