Monday, October 10, 2011

Gratitude Monday -- How It Started

I got the idea for Gratitude Monday after I did this post back in 2007. I'm repeating it here because it's October 10 and Thanksgiving again.

Lopsided Louie, our utility grade turkey, had one leg on one side and part of a wing on the other. It didn't stop him from being tasty. Above, Louie shows off his one good leg before dinner.
 Thinking about this day and how I was behind the Iron Curtain-- briefly and at an airport-- set me on the course for being grateful for what I've got here every Monday.
Let the record show, I don't restrict gratitude to one day a week. I restrict talking about it publicly on my blog to one day a week.
I don't think I noted it in this post, but I am also grateful to have been in an Iron Curtain country though being at an airport isn't even an appetizer.
Without further ado:

It’s Thanksgiving Day in Canada today. I’ve got many things for which to be thankful, roof over my head, safe food and water, friends, love, something to do (writing) that makes me want to get out of bed each day.

Generally, most of us would agree that we’ve got a lot to be grateful for.
For example, if you’re reading this, then you are educated enough to be able to read, you know how to use a computer, and you have access to one right now.
If you can’t think of anything else to be happy about today at least you can chew on those three points with your turkey.

Those points, like so many others, really don’t take a lot of thought to list, merely a slight twist in perspective. So how about a big twist in perspective?

I’m grateful to live in a country where it’s okay to talk to strangers.
Granted, it may not always be safe, but at least you can’t get arrested for it.

That wasn’t the case in Bulgaria. Back in 1983 I was flying between Greece and Italy on the cheapest flight available, Balkan Bulgarian Airlines. The flight was Monday, October 10, and it included an eight-hour layover at the airport in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The in transit area of the airport had seating, washrooms, food, and a free English-language magazine. I still have it some place, I think. The lead story was about the Young Journalists and they came off sounding rather feisty. Another story was about a National who’d been charged in connection with the attempted assassination of the Pope two years earlier.
“A Bulgarian trying to kill the Pope!” scoffed the story. It turned out the magazine was correct to scoff.

Some information I found somewhere in the airport said travelers could take a bus into the city. I considered it, thinking, as a naïve traveler, that if I got lost I could just ask a local how to get back to the airport. I might have to do it by gestures, but it could be done.

But I stayed at the airport. I read, gazed at some mountains (if you add the appropriate vegetation it looks just like the scenery out of Honolulu airport), drank a cup of coffee that held the record as worst cup ever for four stellar years, and marveled at the fact that I was behind the Iron Curtain on Thanksgiving.

I was quite grateful to be Canadian. I was also very grateful to have some different currencies on me as the concession didn’t accept the Drachma.
And I was especially grateful that I stayed at the airport as I found out later that ordinary Bulgarians were not allowed to talk to Internationals.
Had I gone out and gotten lost I might have had quite the adventure.

How about you? What interesting or unusual thing are you thankful for today?

Happy Thanksgiving.
Things have changed so much. The Iron Curtain is gone. So  is the Drachma. Today I am all the more grateful for having had the experience.


Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, thanks for revisiting that, I had no idea that's how gratitude monday started. But I love the weekly reminder to be grateful and am so glad you've kept it up!

And happy thanksgiving!

messymimi said...

While i'm thankful for many things every day, today i am especially grateful to have met you through this world shrinking internet we are blessed to have.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Leah J. Utas said...

Crabby, it was my pleasure to bring this post back. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks.

Messymimi, awwwww, thank you.

the Bag Lady said...

Happy Thanksgiving, cousin! I have many things to be grateful for, and I thank you for the weekly reminder.
(And I wish now, as I did then, that I had been with you on that trip!)

Hilary said...

I'm grateful for discovering new interests in my 50s - like photography and blogging.

Thanks for sharing the beginning of Gratitude Monday. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and continue to experience many more things for which to be grateful.

Leah J. Utas said...

My pleasure, Cousin. Happy Thanksgiving. And I think we'd have had a blast on that trip.

Hilary, I'm grateful you discovered them, too! Happy Thanksgiving.

Reb said...

Thanks for sharing that, I must have missed it the first time 'round. I appreciate the weekly reminder also and today have made a post about what I am thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Leah J. Utas said...

You're welcome, Reb.
Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.

Barbara Martin said...

Travelling to foregin counrties certainly helps Canadians appreciate the country we live in. Nice touch on the recap, Leah.

Leah J. Utas said...

Travel brings a completely different perspective to what one has, Barbara.