Every Good Morning

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My first attempt at a Thanksgiving list, a sluicing, mutable thing pouring through me on drives and walks, fell apart when I thought of the poor souls who might read it who had not been as lucky as I have been. How to make a list that doesn’t read like some kind of triumphal bray?

So, instead, I give thanks for this roll-call of items that has given me pleasure and may do as well for you:

Dogs, especially Border Collies, Pits and Goldens, mutts, American Bulldogs, Greyhounds, Wolfhounds, and big dogs who soundcoffee like a bass drum when you thump their sides and who want nothing more than to run and please. Writers in a woefully incomplete list: Alan Furst, John Keegan, Borges, Joyce, Homer, Tony Kushner and Edward Hoagland; Ann Patchett, David Thomson, Victor Davis Hanson; T.E. Lawrence, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Fitzgerald and Faulkner; Melville; Taylor Branch, Hilary Mantell, George Packer. Rosemary Mahoney, Wilfred Owen, Updike, Annie Dillard, Alfred Kazin; Shakespeare; Larry Woiwode, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Phillip Roth; Tolstoy and Elmore Leonard. A striding walk under every kind of sky and in every season. Stories delivered in a penetrating quiet. The New York Times. Pandora. Children, high school kids, public schools, former students. Dylan, Johnny Cash, The Magic Flute, The Stones, Soul Music and the Blues. Birds, especially the raptors and crows and songbirds. Wolves. Yellowstone. Dog Rescues. Lincoln, Monet, Andrew Wyeth, the Pennsylvania State Police. New York City, Paris, all of France. The American West. The Scottish Highlands. Churchill. OwenWarriors. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. Martin Luther King. Our Pastor, Bob Palumbo. Bob Moses. The Nuns who taught me. The Godfather, The Third Man, Brando, Pacino, Lawrence of Arabia, Denzel Washington, Daniel Day Lewis, Looney Toons. Movies. The moment when I stepped in front of my first class ever — as a student teacher, a collection of ninth graders looked back at me and waited. Wilderness. Gyms. The faces and voices of friends across a diner’s table, across a dinner table. And for this day, the appropriate place to end — Toll House Cookies, spaghetti and meatballs, Yuengling lager; cold, salted tomatoes, thick hamburgers, coffee, chips, red wine, blueberries, apples, pears; homemade, smooth mashed potatoes. Good bread. This Thursday always seems the best day to feast and to take note of our blessings.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Order

© Mike Wall

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