Thanksgiving gives pause; every day earns our thanks

By: 
Duane Dailey

Thanksgiving Day, and the huge feast, came and went. But giving thanks stays now, every day. I spend more time thinking thanks.

My Thanksgiving Day resolution is to take time each day for giving thanks. Often, I’ve been “too busy” to make time.

The thanks list keeps growing, each time I dwell on. Actually, it’s delightful time. I’ve reached a life stage where it’s easy to see a world of faults. It takes little reflection on national affairs to become gloomy.

I learned early to control my outlook. I can look on the dark side, or I can look for the bright. Lately, I’ve slipped when I fail in optimism. I must see the glass half full, not half empty. With optimism, I can go forward.

That doesn’t mean I won’t slip and gripe. But at the end of the day, I know tomorrow will be better. If not, there might not be reason to wake up.

I had a defining turning point 24 years ago, next month. In 1993, my heart failed. On Thanksgiving I’d fallen down icy porch steps, taking dinner scraps to the compost pile. I didn’t know rain had turned to ice. I took a short flight from the top of five wooden steps to land sidewise on the bottom step.

I was breathless. I couldn’t draw air for a long time. But, I had things to do, finally getting up and going.

A couple weeks later, I went to the doctor when pain became too much. X-rays showed eight broken ribs and fluid-filled lungs.

In the hospital, they couldn’t drain me fast enough. My heart was squeezed by fluids and couldn’t pump blood.

I had an out-of-body dream, seeing the bright path to heaven in the clouds. That was peacefully appealing; but stubborn Duane refused to go.

Later, my cardiologist said no patient had ever gotten up and walked out of the hospital after sinking that far. He added, “I don’t know what we did, but we claim credit.”

My mom had another view. She’d activated her women friends in the church prayer circle. She says their prayers were answered.

I accept that.

Ten years ago. My heart almost stopped down again, needing aorta plumbing repair. Doctors did open heart surgery. Then I spent six weeks in a care center. (As I get old and face assisted-living care, I know some of what to expect.)

Ho hum. A year ago my heart faltered again. This time repairs were by robotics. Next day I was up and out of the hospital. I’m so thankful for advances in heart care.

Not having to open the chest makes fix-ups easier.

Now, after extensive cardio rehab and regular exercise I come to Thanksgiving vital and thankful for medical care and prayers. I take whatever works. I thank all who knew what to do.

From that first miracle 24 years ago, I’ve lived renewed. Every day is a gift I did not earn, a true gift.

For all that, I owe the world repayment.

I’ve extended news from University of Missouri researchers to farmers and to consumers. Agriculture is our number one industry. I try to help.

I get payback. Coworkers value my translating science into farm talk. That was a gift that took time to earn. Readers tell me, they understand my stories. Not all writers know that knack, yet.

I’ll add that to my list. I am thankful, every day to be able to work. No retirement. I still owe.

Thank you readers and to editors who use my words in their papers.

Your comments are welcomed. I need for you to write to set me straight. I’m still learning.

My mother taught me more than to read the Bible. She taught me to read all. I hope all mothers do the same. Let’s be thankful for them.

Write to duanedailey7@gmail.com. Or snail mail to 511 W. Worley, Columbia, Mo., 65203.

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