RHETA GRIMSLEY JOHNSON: Three good dogs, music's balm, being loved: Thanksgiving 2010

I have a friend who lives in a simple cabin his grandfather built on Pickwick Lake, the Mississippi end. It was built as a cabin, on a cinderblock base, and looks like what it is, a 1950′s cabin, the kind where, by design, there was no telephone and families played board games at night under yellow bug lights.
This comfortable place makes the monster dwellings that some city people call “cabins” now look even sillier than they otherwise do. If there’s a way to impose suburbia on a rural and bucolic setting, the rich die trying.
On a recent cold afternoon, I sat with half a dozen others on a red glider on the screened porch of that old cabin. We watched for eagles and admired the corduroy blue surface of Pickwick and enjoyed one another’s company.
I’m thankful for friends.
It was one of those days when you are bombarded by good things. Barbara dropped off a coconut sour cream pound cake still warm from her oven. Auburn beat Georgia like the family mule. I took a long walk in the fall woods. Jean made soup.
I knew, I know, down deep once again that life is good, if never what we expect. I feel gratitude not limited by a day, or even a season, but the persistent kind that stems from acknowledging that luck has blanketed me from birth until now. Extraordinary luck in a harsh world. That’s what I have had.
I am thankful.
I’m thankful for three good dogs to walk by my side and study me and my every move with undivided attention and ardor. A man’s best friend. A woman’s truest admirer.
I’m grateful for my music, which never lost its soothing effect, even after the death of my husband and the craziness that ensued. Music was a balm. I had worried that maybe memories would be too powerful to handle with a soundtrack. But it turns out I could still be comforted by Hank, pushed by Lucinda and thrilled by Aretha. I could tap my toe through tears.
I’m thankful for small things that make life easier, like fitted sheets and cruise control on my red car. I’m glad there are Teflon-coated frying pans and an off button on the TV remote.
I’m glad, in my home, to be surrounded by beauty, Amanda Ryan’s paintings and Shearwater pottery, a chenille bedspread with peacocks, a basket of Sapelo shells, sycamores out my window. I’m thankful for the new room with a real closet that Maxie built, with bookshelves to hold my worn copies of “Of Mice and Men” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” and hundreds of other favorites that somehow explain life and make it bearable.
On more curmudgeonly days I might cite my peeves, beginning with people who find it necessary to walk around talking on cell phones, or panhandling preachers, or voters with absolutely no memory beyond the last campaign. I might rant about Republicans, pseudo-religion or racists.
But I’ll not go there. Not today. This is the season of thanksgiving. And I’m thankful for more things and people than I could possibly list in this short space in a few real newspapers, for which I am exceedingly grateful.
Most of all, this Thanksgiving of 2010, I am grateful to be loved.
Rheta Grimsley Johnson is a syndicated columnist. She lives in the Iuka vicinity. Contact her at Iuka, MS 38852.

Rheta Grimsley Johnson