Joy and Thanksgiving: November 2020

by Elaine Corrington
HURLEYVILLE, November 2020-We have all had experience with the effects of illness. You can probably easily name a dozen different sicknesses you have had in your lifetime. Some were little– the itches, the sniffles, the loud burps followed by throwing up, fever, aches and pains– even when you can’t remember doing anything to cause them. A few of you have had far more serious bouts with diseases that did not leave quickly and completely. Some people are never able to reverse the evil progression of symptoms and complications. And yet, you always hear about people who still find joy in a complex and painful path created for them by so many different factors. DIS. EASE.
Now we are in the middle of a pandemic of proportions nobody living has ever experienced. We worry about loved ones as much as we worry about ourselves, and that seems natural. We worry about people who refuse to worry about us and our loved ones. We worry about people nearby and far away. It is harder and harder to imagine anyone who is, has been, or will be experiencing joy. This is not a complex and painful path. It is a single road around the entire planet, and we are all on that road. And we are getting ready for THANKSGIVING???
In October, we had a couple of very dull days. Fog and clouds obliterated details that would make it a nice change of pace to get out and exercise, do some art, get the yard ready for the coming winter. Shopping?? Too dangerous. Tired of reading and no nearby library or friends with the same reading taste. Tired of constant responsibilities to neighborhood and family. Tired of a messy house or tired from organizing the home to a fare-thee-well. Tired of politics. Even tired of the ballooning internet options available to us.
I have had constant thoughts about my youthful writing days. No typewriters, no electric typewriters. No computers (that could erase and change ANYTHING). No colors. No pictures. You had to find and read references in your local hamlet or town.
And I thought about the pencil, the greatest invention for communication in those days. You could write. You could read. You could cross out, or even erase if you were lucky enough to have an eraser! You could go back and underline. You could make words BIG! They were yellow, with orange erasers. You could buy one for a penny. For a nickel, you could get a sharpener for the point. Decades later, the pencil comes in many forms, some even luxurious and expensive.
So, I went to my desk and ignored every object on it that was more communicative, handy, multi-functional, and I organized my pencils. I admired them from the original yellow and orange to the brightly gold and silver patterned fancy ones. I realized that I loved all of the versions of the pencil even more when they were organized. I picked up—yes, as you might have guessed– an original yellow and orange, and wrote this article…on a lined pad of paper. I printed big and little, thick and thin, capitalized important words, crossed out and erased, and drew a couple of bad pictures, and I underlined.
It was JOY in the middle of a pandemic, even while still worried about everybody on the planet, at least until I realized I would have to type it on my computer to submit it for editing for this edition of the paper. But I learned something valuable in the process: Joy is available to us.
Thanks Giving is still available to us- even if it is for a darned stupid reason. Find yours in the appreciation and Thanks you recognize and can smile about and share; and the Giving we can all manage this year.