Thirty Days of Thanksgiving: Day One

Grandmother (second from left) and Aunt Dorothy (far right) at home in 1931

Grandmother (second from left) and Aunt Dorothy (far right) at home in 1931

It’s November 1st, and time to begin Thirty Days of Thanksgiving, my second annual day-by-day reminder of the world’s many blessings.

It’s also All Saints Day, when Catholics honor those saints who, although exemplary, don’t have a day just their own.

I’m the granddaughter of two Baptist ministers and the niece of another. In many Protestant catechisms–and especially in the Baptist way of thinking–any soul saved by belief in Jesus and his divinity is a “saint.” No beatification needed.

So today, I’m going to be sentimental (when am I not?) and be grateful for two saints of my own, rest in peace: my dear grandmother, Lillie Mae, and for my Aunt Dorothy, churchgoing women both. Even better, they were women who lived their faith in their kindness, generosity, and devotion to family.

I loved to sit by either of them in church on Sunday. They radiated acceptance, love, and a special affection for me; something that was often sadly lacking in my own household. It felt wonderful to be under their wings. Even though the bench was hard, the space was warm and comfortable. How lucky I was to be their small female relative. Maybe that’s why Jane Eyre is one of my most adored characters. She knew what it was to be lonely and she learned what it was to be loved.

Well, we’re off to a great start, aren’t we? A little poetic. A lot maudlin. I promise you it won’t always be this way. Tomorrow, I’ll probably be grateful for something silly. Like the way Grandmother burped raucously at family meals and cracked me up. I have to admit that was an equally formative experience.

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