In the spirit of the holidays coming up, I’ve been thinking about what I am thankful for and here are a few of my favorite thanks. I’m so thankful that my daughter and granddaughter live near us and we get to see them all the time. I couldn’t imagine them living far away, oceans away, even a state away. I’d have to move. I’m thankful that I get to see SHE grow, take her first steps, hear her first words, take her for her first walk in the woods and swim in the river, and now, her first loose tooth. I’m thankful that my daughter is such a good mom. That’s really important. My heart bursts.
I’m thankful that my business is still here after all these years. It’s not easy running a business these days, especially a bar. Of course, we are not just a bar. We have a great restaurant and overnight lodging. I try to make everyone happy. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. Oh well. My world is limited to my business. Our social life is going to Costco. But I love our customers. I’m thankful for great employees. I’m thankful for all the interesting people who stayed at our place this year. That’s one of the best parts of running a place like ours. Booking rooms and bands, meeting interesting tourists and super artists. Making beds, cleaning toilets, waxing floors. It’s exciting to know that I have a world class artist on my little stage in the middle of nowhere. But when we have music at the Riverwood, that’s work. Hauling chairs out, clearing tables, changing toilet paper. We have to watch the door, check ID’s, mop up spilled drinks, and watch out for weirdoes and ding-dongs trying to get in the door. By the end of the night, we’re toast. I’m thankful that Gary and I can still do this after all these years without going crazy.
I’m thankful that I get to live in Humboldt County. I’m thankful that my commute is the most amazing road in the world. I am in constant awe of the trees. Every day when I drive the Avenue it seems like my eyes are seeing everything for the first time. The light, the colors…….Humboldt is truly a special place. A few weeks ago while Hurricane Sandy was ravaging the East Coast, me, Gary and SHE went to the beach at South Spit. We spent the afternoon chasing the dogs, wading in the surf, roasting hot dogs. The wind was gentle, the sand warm and clean. I was so thankful on that day that we lived here and not there. When I got home I donated money to the Red Cross out of thanks for where I live. On days when I drive up to Eureka, Humboldt Bay strikes me again with awe. Some days it’s full to overflowing and a brilliant blue. Other days it’s choppy and windswept. Other days it’s just mud, exposed by the tides. This huge breathing body of water, squeezing in and out every single day without fail. Amazing. And I get to see it! I can’t wait for the geese!
I’m thankful for our old motor home. A few weeks ago, Gary and I stocked up with food, refreshments, propane and dog treats. Vodka, rum, wine and champagne are a must. We meandered over to the coast above Fort Bragg. I love Union Landing. Million dollar views for $25 a night. We met a couple from Michigan who were seeing the ocean for the first time. We met a Canadian couple that were bicycling to Mexico. They came into our camp looking for some wood to build a little fire to roast hot dogs for their dinner. I was baking a turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, salad and with chocolate torte for dessert. We invited them to join us. Oddly enough, it was actually Thanksgiving Day in Canada. We sat in our snug home, drinking wine and sharing stories while the ocean pounded against the cliffs. The next morning they came back for breakfast. Suzanne told me that she and Jordan had a hard time finding their pup tent the night before. After hot coffee, cinnamon rolls and champagne, I’m thankful they made it back on their bicycles and down the road.
I’m thankful for our dogs. Willie and Rusty are our buddies. They were little strays that somehow found their way to us. They are also pests. They push me to take them for walks. If they could talk, I’d be in trouble. Especially Rusty. I see him go over to Willie and communicate with him. Then they both get up and start following me around the house, pushing, pushing. If they see me put on the “walk” shoes, the excitement becomes insane. I can’t tie the laces without getting a dog nose tied into them. Gary has to shove them outside so I can tie my shoes. If I put on the “going to Eureka shoes”, their heads go down and they slink back to their beds in dejection. Most of the time they go wherever I go. The back seat is their realm. They love SHE. When SHE is in the car, all eyes are on her. Especially if she’s eating.
I guess I’m thankful for my cats. Lola is a slug right now. Found her in an alley in Eureka. She’s an alley cat. Common looking grey stripped tabby. All stripes and spots. She drapes across the back of the couch, barely hanging on to the pillow, legs and tail dangling. The other night she fell off. Then I have the fat cat that moved in with us a couple of years back. She weighs 23 pounds! Every single morning, at exactly 6:30, she meows for breakfast. If I put her outside, she picks at the door. She’s too fat to go through the cat door so I constantly have to get up to let her in or out. I want to strangle her every morning, especially the morning after we have had a band the night before at the Riverwood. I’m sure she’s is thankful that I am capable of only killing a fly.
I’m thankful I can type. My mother made me take typing in high school. She told me that when all else failed, I could get a job as a secretary. I’ve never worked as a secretary but I type a lot. Especially my silly stories for you, dear readers………. I can’t text. I’ve seen kids text with their thumbs so fast it a blur. I stare in awe. But when I ask them if they can type, usually the answer is no. I can’t even figure out how to use my cell phone, much less text. I guess that’s called a generation gap. I don’t know where my cell phone is most of the time, and the rest of the time the battery is dead because I don’t know where it is. Useless.
I’m thankful for my little house. It’s nothing special, but it’s ours. I’m thankful Gary loves to chop wood so we can stay warm in our little house. I’m not too thankful for all the leaves that have been falling around our house, but I’m thankful for the trees when they have them in the summer. We have a crabapple tree that hangs over the roof and during the night apples plunk on the roof. Rusty and Willie will bark, the fat cat will meow, and Lola will fall off the couch. Gary and I try to sleep through it all. For awhile I didn’t like my house and wanted to move, but now I like it again. I’ve decided to go deeper into debt, remodel the kitchen and add on a dining room. The Riverwood business has taken over the dining room we have now. This Thanksgiving I will move all my stuff and reclaim my prized dining room table that I bought at St. Vincent DePaul. It will take me daze to find all my stuff again.
I’m thankful that I can give back to people in need. Besides our local charities, this year I’m going to give to “Heifer International”. For $20 I can buy a flock of chickens for families in Honduras or Cameroon. For $25 I can buy a share of a water buffalo for a family in Thailand, or a share of a pig or rabbits. It’s cool! Then they send me cards so I can send them on to my sisters or whoever and let them know that a flock of chickens has been bought in their honor for Christmas. I never know what to get them anyway. May as well get them a flock of chickens.
Finally, I’m thankful for our health and the fact that we made it to another Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about eating, friends and football. Great holiday! Now the work starts. Brining the turkey, cleaning the house, washing the windows, baking the pies. I’m thankful for Gary, who helps me out so much with all these tasks. I’m thankful he likes to do laundry. I wish he could eat onions, but he’s such a good guy, I can overlook that little flaw. Every Thanksgiving I make separate dressing for him without onions. I stuff it up the posterior of the Turkey. Small sacrifice for someone you love. Be thankful, kind and above all, happy! Tis the season!