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Additional Thanks

BOSTON (CBS) - Hello readers. It's been a while since I've written you. Oh, I'm fine, as so many of my listeners can attest. Fine and dandy and busier with life events than ever. Now that the weather outside is more conducive to staying inside, it feels right to settle down in front of the keyboard to share some thoughts. But never fear. Even though the holiday season speaks to all of us about gratitude and appreciation, be thankful that what you're about to read isn't one more deep treatise on the true meaning of gratitude. I have a pretty good sense of what that means as I'm sure you do. Live long enough and you get it.

Allow me to single out a few of the more mundane items of everyday life for which I'm grateful. Minutia is a favorite word of mine (as is inertia, amnesia, words that end in "ia" in general). So here are ten littler things that make some difference.

  1. These days it's all about smart phones and thinking gadgets. As far as I'm concerned the smartest implement ever designed is the pencil. Thanks to those inventors who got the lead out (or better stated added the lead in), we're left with a self-sustaining device that requires no power, save your right or left hand and the creative spark of imagination. You can chew on it, toss it skyward towards a pliable ceiling tile, and it comes complete with that self-correcting feature that is the perfect antidote for being human—the eraser. I love and appreciate pencils.
  2. Robert Goddard. Why? Because he was the first to launch, over a hundred years ago, what looked like a salami with fins into low hanging space, the liquid fueled rocket that ushered in the space age. Which ushered in NASA, Right Stuff astronauts, satellite and of course global positioning technology which has saved my Twinkies countless times along the highways and byways of Boston. Long live GPS and Big Daddy Bob Goddard.
  3. Women who still enjoy being catered to make me happy. It may seem like a long lost art to some, but chivalry has never been declared officially dead. I'm thankful that my lady allows me to get the door, help her to her seat, and offer her my jacket if she's chilly.
  4. Television on my time Yes, the DVR has made watching so many favorite shows easier than ever. Apologies to you TV advertisers out there. The commercials are not part of my "must see TV" repertoire. But knowing that you have so many other ways of reaching me these days, I've gotten over the guilt of missing another classic Bernie and Phyl furniture store ad.
  5. An infant's handshake. Face it, whether you're a new dad, grandparent, aunt or uncle, there's nothing as warm, soothing or life affirming as the clutch of an infant's tiny paw around your fingers. Certified to melt the coldest of hearts, turning even super-macho mixed martial artists into pussycats.
  6. Cleaning out the garage and rediscovering that forty year-old baseball glove, well worn, dusty and always yours from a simpler time. It reminds me why, despite steroids, cry baby players and tickets affordable to say OPEC members, baseball still means a lot to me. Mainly because I played it a lot in my youth and it's never too late to have a catch with someone you love.
  7. Sea Salt. Because it's allegedly healthier than the stuff in the rounded blue box AND someone very wise decided to mix a little into some dark chocolate. Simply irresistible.
  8. The dearth of ash trays. No smoke? No ash? No place to put the ash? No need to dry clean clothes more than necessary. I don't argue that smoking be banned; not while our hypocritical government taxes it to the hilt while spending other tax dollars educating us to quit. But clean air is breathtakingly Just remember all of those years cleaning out ashtrays. Yuck!
  9. Piano "fake" For those of us who never really took to reading the notes and fine print, publishers still produce large volumes of "fake" books for us hackers with just enough melody and chord notations to allow me to sound somewhat proficient---certainly in my own head!
    And it sounds illicit and dangerous to own one, which only adds to the thrill.
  10. Wireless headphones, which cut down on the excessive tripping, entangling and choking that the old corded models meant. Walking from room to room (all right from the den to the bathroom if you must know) with Gershwin in one's head is just this side of heaven.


So there you have a short list of things that are not exactly top of mind that we can all be thankful for.

I also appreciate my editor allowing me to end the sentence above with a preposition, a gracious holiday perk.

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