This week, columnists feel obliged to submit thankful lists. Sure to be included — family, friends, freedom, health, food, shelter, as captured by Norman Rockwell in his iconic Thanksgiving dinner painting. Others will go global.

I’ll stay local, citing everyday blessings, often overlooked, hoping you’ll do the same.

Start with electricity, as prevalent as running water, on which our living and working conditions are based. The horror of losing either preyed on my mind as the world watched Hurricane Maria rip both from Puerto Rico.

No cool AC? No hot showers, clean clothes, cable news, the internet? I get upset when the lights flicker during a thunderstorm. Three months without power? Unthinkable.

I am eternally grateful for my job. While other 79-year-olds push up daisies or rock in chairs, I’m still doing what I’ve done for 35 years except part time, in a less stressful environment. Still, I must and can produce. This won’t last forever, so I give thanks daily.

Men are extraordinary, fascinating creatures, but I’m thankful to be a woman, especially now when women are taken seriously — most of the time. Women are more flexible and reasonable — most of the time.

I think we gals, if left alone, would do a better job running the world. This might take a few generations, but at least nobody would be nuked in the process. Here come the letters, for which I am also thankful, because they represent robust, freely expressed opinions.

Speaking of women, hardly a day goes by when I’m not thankful for common sense, more common in women than the previously dominant gender.

Whether bestowed by nature or nurture, it has served me better than all that book learnin’. Yet as I watch the political morass which ignores simple solutions, I fear for its demise.

Along with common sense, I render thanks for simple things: a diner breakfast with steaming, plain coffee — since for me, Starbuck is still first mate on the Pequod, out to capture Moby Dick. A crisp apple, a flaming October maple tree, any Simon and Garfunkle song, an afternoon nap, a car that hugs the road.

My other senses — how grateful I am for them, especially sight. The enormity of blindness struck me recently, when writing about a sight-impaired person.

I lost my ability to smell many years ago, so steak grilling over a charcoal fire and apple pie bubbling in the oven are gone forever. But that’s OK. I can still see cardinals, pansies and the ocean.

Pansies! Carolina summers may be unbearable, but who wouldn’t give thanks for winters that allow pansies by the front door?

Thank you, Missy and Lucky. These kitties were abandoned when their owners moved. I adopted them. They are mental health professionals who, in exchange for gourmet kibble, chicken livers and tuna juice, provide affection, entertainment, sympathy, enlightenment. When the world appears grim, I can count on a lapful of warm, purring cat to lower my blood pressure and even things out.

I am so thankful for the people who keep me upright and mobile: dentist, doctor(s), hairdresser, veterinarian, handyman — with extra applause for my IT guy. I work mostly from home, so when the computer malfunctions, I fall to pieces. He comes right over, even on a Sunday morning, to put me and the computer back together again. Humpty Dumpty should be this fortunate.

I feel a rush of gratitude for my grandsons, who are focused on the future and preparing for it, albeit by different paths. One is doing well in law school, with enough time to work for an attorney; the other is studying to be a master car mechanic.

These boys survived the death of their father when they were 5 and 7 — and other family upheavals, as well. True, they have attended good schools and traveled; the older one, at 20, has been to 13 countries, rarely as just a tourist.

Best of all, they love Nanny and don’t mind showing it. (Those without grandchildren won’t understand.)

I guess little things do mean a lot.

OK. Your turn.

Contact Deborah Salomon at

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