Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why I'm Thankful

I know this post is being written a few days after Thanksgiving, but it's never too late to be thankful. Here goes.

I'm thankful for my family, even if we don't see each other as often as we should. From my parents who keep going off and gambling away my inheritance, to my brother who prefers to tell me why he hates things - and doesn't really give a reason other than "I just don't like it." There are also my crazy grandparents who think they have a solution to everything - whether it's grandpa's advice to grandma's gifts she's dug out of one of the off-limits rooms in her house. I have lots of aunts, uncles and cousins I don't get to see very often. Some are perfectly normal and fun, others are weird, whiny and clingy. Still, they're family - gotta love 'em.

I'm thankful for my little furkids. They greet me when I come home from work every night. They let me know when they need food or a snack. They let me know when they want to play or go for a walk. They also keep me from getting 8 hours of consecutive sleep (though I do go back to sleep once Charley has gone outside to take care of business).

I'm thankful for my friends. I only wish I could see everyone more! Schedules tend to keep us apart, though we do keep in touch either on the phone or online. I love that even if we don't see each other every day, our conversations pick right up like it hasn't been weeks or even (gasp) months.

I'm thankful for work. Yes, it gets in the way of a whole lot of fun, but in these times, I'm glad to have a job. Is it my dream job? No. But if I had that, what would I work toward? Oh, and it'll likely take me winning the lottery to get that dream job.

But each Thanksgiving, I'm a little more, well, thankful that history does not repeat itself. Forgive this part of the post if you've heard the story.

Years ago, I was headed to work on Thanksgiving Day. I was taking my exit when I saw this guy standing in the middle of the ramp lane. I started to break even more, then I honked at him. I swerved to the right, he jumped that way. I swerved to the left, he jumped that way. Then, I closed my eyes and came to a complete stop. He had rolled onto my hood and smashed into my windshield. I was doing about 20-25 mph when I hit him. I parked the car, then jumped out saying, "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! Sir, are you OK?" My pulse was racing, my hands were shaking as I reached out to him. He stood up and said, "Yeah, I'm OK. You got any money." Something changed in my head. Suddenly, I was ANGRY. "No, I don't have any money!" Homeless guy responds, "Can I get a ride?" Even angrier, I say, "NO! I'M NOT TAKING YOU ANYWHERE!" Within a few minutes, what felt like the entire police department showed up to handle my little crash. I looked at my car - where the guy hit the windshield it was clear, but everything else around it spider webbed out. The hood was dented with the guy's imprint. And then, my station shows up to shoot the accident, not knowing I was involved. Turns out, the homeless guy was one of a group who was running a little scam. They get hit by cars, people usually pay them off, and they go about their bumming. The bum was taken to the hospital just to make sure he didn't have a concussion. He was also given a ticket for illegally crossing the highway (which he didn't pay which meant there was a warrant for his arrest, which then meant he got three hots and a cot and the jail - he wins). I manage to drive to work. I walk into the newsroom. The boss is there. He says, "OOOH! You're late!" I explain what happened. He says, "Well, you need to get out the door. You've got to get to the shelters to cover the dinners." "Are you serious?" I ask. He assures me that he is. I get in the car with my photographer. We show up at one shelter. A homeless guy starts walking at us shouting, "You guys only show up for stuff like this. You don't care about us any other day of the year." Like a possessed woman, I respond with, "If you know what's good for you, you won't take another step towards us." After that, we went and got video and interviews of the homeless and needy getting their free meals. We even sat down and ate with some of them. At the end of the day, the last thing I wanted to do was drive home. But I did. I was a little more grateful for what I had. And each year that I don't bump a bum, I am a little happier. Not just because I haven't had it happen again, but because I know how good I have it.

And I wonder if that same dude is running his scam in Corpus Christi or some place else?
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