I read this quote the other day while I was researching something for my WIP. “Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”
— Gladys Berthe Stern
It stuck in my mind and I couldn’t seem to get it out. Then this morning I sat down with my usual cup of coffee and started to really think about what this quote meant to me and why it wouldn’t go away. I finally got it. I needed to thank all the people in my life, past and present who helped make me into the woman I am today. I’m a strong, independent, stubborn, creative, word loving woman. I’m fearless in trying something new, whether it be a new hobby, job, food, or place of living. I didn’t get this way on my own. Several people helped me, and today I would like to take this opportunity and thank them publicly for their contributions to the shaping of my life.
My deceased father: He gave me my love of books. He was a man who always had a book in his hands, and taught me to love them also. He liked a good conversation or debate. He taught me to be frugal with my money, how to love unconditionally, and how to garden. Gardening was his passion. Thank you Daddy, for being the best dad you could be.
My Mother: We didn’t get along all my years growing up in your house. We fought, argued, and generally disliked each other. But, deep down we loved each other. Thank you for teaching me to stand up for myself. To never back down when I believed in something strongly. Thank you for showing me how not to be a victim. How to be independent and strong. We are great friends now, and that I treasure. It was hard-won. Thank you also for showing me that holding grudges is wrong on so many levels. I saw what holding grudges did to you and your family. I will NOT make that same mistake. I love you Mom, you are the strongest person I know. I deeply respect that.
Miss Minney: I never did know her full name. She asked me to call her Miss Minney when I first met her at the age of five. That’s all I ever knew her as. Miss Minney was the old woman who lived 2 doors down from us. She had white hair, always wore a dress, and loved to hug. I need to thank Miss Minney for teaching me how to sweep a floor the right way! How to dust, and generally keep house. She took me under her wing when I was just a tow-headed little girl. I would help her clean her house, run errands for her and listen to her talk about her own little girl who had died years before in a drowning accident. Her only child. Even at such a young age I could feel the sadness and love she had for her little girl. Thank you Miss Minney, for showing a little girl that no matter what age we are we have something to teach and to learn.
My older brother: My brother is a bit of a bully. Loud and obnoxious. Him and I have always maintained a love/hate relationship. It continues to this day. He taught me to stand up to bullies. That they are a cowardly breed on the whole. They talk rough and try to intimidate a person because they are bigger and stronger. But if you stand up to them they will always back down. It may not always shut them up, but it makes life a little easier when you show them you aren’t afraid of them and their hot air. Thank you big brother for helping me to grow into someone who will not tolerate a bully. Just because I am small and a woman I don’t have to put up with it.
My best friend from childhood: Gloria was a great person. Deeply troubled she turned to drugs and alcohol to escape a life she thought was destroying her. Instead she went down a road to destroy herself. We drifted apart when my parents forbid me to see her again. I never did get the full story of why. But, I miss her to this day. I know she went into prostitution to pay for her drugs when she was still a teenager. I saw her once when we were both about 19, I almost didn’t recognize her she had changed so much. I believe she knew who I was, but she turned and walked away without a word. Thank you Gloria, for showing me that drugs were not a way out of difficult situations. I could very easily have taken the same road, but thankfully did not.
My very best friend in adulthood: Terri is a wonderful and loving woman. She is another strong person. We used to talk for hours and hours every single day. She raised 3 boys on her own. Took care of her mother when she was dying of cancer. And buried her father six months after her mother died. She was the glue that held her family together. She is a tiny little woman with the biggest personality. I lost touch with Terri when I moved to Canada from Texas. I’m still trying to connect with her. Her phone number doesn’t work anymore and when I wrote I got her letter back. Some day I will find my best friend again. Thank you Terri for showing me that being single is not a bad thing. To never give up on myself. And just thanks for being there when I needed someone so much.
To my ex-husband: Yeah, you read that right. My EX-HUSBAND. He taught me several valuable life lessons. He taught me how not to take something at face value. To always question it. If something looks to good to be true, you should examine it throughly and ask a lot of questions. He taught me to believe in my instincts and not drown them out when they are screaming at me that something is not right. He taught me that violence against women is not right in any form. That just because someone says something is true does NOT make it so. He taught me that once a cheater always a cheater. Thank you ex for being who and what you are. A large example of what not to have in a husband.
I will always be grateful to everyone who helped make me who I am. I’m sure there are others I need to thank. Maybe that’s another posting in the making. Till then, remember to thank the people in your life.