Once upon a time I was asked to write a Thanksgiving Story. Some may not see this until after Thanksgiving, but regardless of that it went like this:
Deep in thought I sat wondering on life’s ways when: “So” he cried in derision, “you are thinking of Thanksgiving. For what my friend, do you have to be thankful?” Shaken from reverie, I replied. “Many things – a great wife, terrific family, house …”
“Ha!” he sneered. “A house indeed! What about the taxes, lawn costs, water and sewer fees repairs and so forth. How about the time when your whole yard full of grass died and it cost a fortune to replace.”? Then early in your career when you had no money and the sewer line backed up! You have had many problems my friend”. “Transitory matters”, I replied. “Don’t put me off with big words”, he huffed. “If you won’t admit house costs over the years, how about the world?” “Generally speaking,” I stated. “It’s not a bad world”. “Not bad”, he exclaimed. “Do you call poverty, hunger, illiteracy, disease, and other calamities which face most of the world, ‘not bad’?”
“Naturally not,”, I responded, “but one must consider the alternative to living in this world. Obviously, this good earth is far from perfect, but I find it hard to believe God placed man on earth without the knowledge to someday overcome our problems. Man must have hope and compassion”.
“Bah,” he replied. “You always were an incurable optimist. Probably comes from reading Little Orphan Annie when you were a kid. “Perhaps”, I answered, but to return to your original question, I still think that I have much for which to be thankful! I spent forty two years working a profession where I had the opportunity to help out communities and the folks in them.” “Hoo-boy”, he laughed uproariously. “You were a city manager for Pete’s sake. Do you think anyone gave a darn what you did – unless it showed up in their tax bill? At the best they probably named the sewage treatment plant after you.”
“What each of us does has some effect on others”, I noted. “No man acts in a vacuum. I can only trust that my actions, however small, will have a beneficial effect, whether noticed or not.” “My heavens”, he responded, “you are beginning to sound like a philosopher. Who do you think you are? Plato or someone? Perhaps this is your problem, philosophers are as practical as a Steeler kicker with the gout.”
“And you”, I retorted, anger beginning to swell, “are a pessimist of the first order.” Suddenly the room filled with laughter as my wife followed by grandkids appeared bearing a pumpkin pie for me to smell, and my son called that the older son was on the phone!
Grinning, I turned to face my adversary – but he was no more!
Barry Evans writes about Life in The Villages for Villages-News.com.