Don’t Count Your Blessings—One Is Enough

“Ain’t been a good president since Truman,” says Tom, the wandering old-timer who practically lives at the restaurant. We all smile at him. “Hope your families have a beautiful holiday,” he adds out of nowhere. “Will you see your family, Tommy?” I ask. “Oh, yeah,” and relates a long story about the meal his daughter will fix for Thanksgiving. We all know he never had a wife, never had any children. “That sounds great,” I say. Suddenly, remembering he’ll be alone, Tom asks Eddie, “Will you be open on Thanksgiving?” Eddie shakes his head. “No, Tom, but remember where I showed you to go that day, just in case your daughter cancels the big dinner.” Smiling, Tom nods, remembering his friends at the city mission. I finish my breakfast, including three extra slices of bacon at no charge because Eddie knows I love it. I put two dollars on the community stack that pays for Tommy’s meals throughout the day, and Eddie smiles. His wife waves without looking up from her tomato slicing, and I get back in the truck. Sinatra’s singing “I’m a Fool to Want You” from the heart. He recorded it just after Ava Gardner broke his heart for the last time. What a time capsule that recording was! In darkness, I sit in the parking lot at work while the song finishes.

Basic Blessings

I key into the building and walk to my office without turning on a light. I then turn on the low lamps, avoiding the large overhead one. After I check messages, the phone rings. Someone from one of the field offices who knows I come in early asks if I saw the game last night. We debate the worth of all Cleveland teams–the Cavs, the Browns and the Indians–and eventually he asks me to fill an order for road salt for his area. I take the order and bid him goodbye. Within the next few hours, my staff and supervisors arrive, and the banter is light and friendly, as it usually is before the holidays when spirits are light. Around 10 a.m., I step outside for a breath of air and look at the golden browns and crimson reds that God has painted into the trees. “Thank you,” I whisper. “What a gift to be alive!”

Happy New Year, dear friends–take the time in 2008 to realize the blessings you have and the miracle that a simple life has always been.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He can be reached via e-mail at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com

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