Brandy On New Orleans

Brandy Pigeon

The Trivial but Appreciated Things I'm Most Thankful for This Thanksgiving

By Brandy Pigeon

My seven year old daughter brought home her annual Thanksgiving works from school this week. All of the staples were there: The multicolored turkey made from the outline of her hand, the Pilgrim hat crafted out of construction paper, and the list of things she's most thankful for. I was very happy to see that she's most thankful for her family, coming in 2nd place were her friends and her school, and now I know that the 3rd most important thing in her life is her "Polly Pocket - Race To The Mall" play set. I always put these little mementos in plastic containers to keep them safe. As I put these latest works of art into those familiar storage bins, I began looking through the construction paper gems from previous Thanksgivings, Christmases, Valentine's, and so on. That's when it occurred to me that maybe writing down the things we're thankful for shouldn't be abandoned after Middle School. As I sat there, sifting through glittery hearts, cotton ball covered paper snowmen, and popsicle stick picture frames, I realized that I was thankful for this Rubbermaid box; well more accurately, the treasures it held inside. Each and every piece of art in this box is a snapshot of my daughter; her thoughts, her ideas, her work. I can flip through these pages and read her life like a novel. She's definitely progressed a great deal from the bottom pieces to the ones I'm currently placing at the top of the pile. Her turkeys are neater, her finger paintings are no longer a just a swirl of colors, and her greeting cards are actually legible. This box is a reminder for me of each of those stages, the times in our lives that they occurred, and a mental image of how far she's come. Looking through this plastic bin brings me absolute joy. I continue thumbing through and decide that I too, should have a list of what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving.

I didn't want my list to be the filled with obvious... my family, my friends, my faith, my health - that doesn't take much thought; of course those are the things I'm most thankful for in my life. No, what I wanted to find were the things that are often forgotten or overlooked; but nonetheless deserve acknowledgment. Since seeing my daughter's list, I've been trying to think of the seemingly insignificant things that make life more enjoyable, inspire me, or in some way brighten an average know, the "small stuff". That said, I decided that my list would consist of little things, as long as they fit the above criteria. So, as much I love Clorox wipes, Swiffers, iced coffee, and satellite radio, they don't meet the "total package" standard needed to make my list. It took a more time than I thought; but I finally came up with my "Trivial but Appreciated Things I'm Most Thankful for This Thanksgiving" list.

One of the first things that popped into my head, which will be no surprise to those who know me, was football. I love football... and I unconditionally love the Saints. The season thus far has caused more heartache than joy; but I'm still thankful for the sport itself and especially my team. Win or lose, I'm thankful that for four months out of the year, my Sundays can provide an escape from day to day routines, and bring me into a world of touchdowns, turnovers, and tackling. Of course, a Saints victory can make the week seem a lot brighter; but just watching two teams fight it out on the gridiron is exhilarating. Witnessing feats like what should have been an impossible one handed catch being caught, or a team come from the jaws of defeat to win a game, or a series of lateral tosses resulting in six points is empowering. For sixty minutes each week, football brings me into the world of competition, and even though I don't suit up, I definitely feel like part of action - and I love it.

I don't watch a lot of television, but there are few shows that I anxiously await seeing, and they have never disappointed me. "Lost", "Pushing Daisies", and "The Office" - Thank You. The writer's strike has made me realize how much I love these shows and how sorry I'll be if they're taken away. "Lost" has been a staple of my Wednesday nights since it premiered. It definitely helps with my football withdrawals that come after the Super Bowl. Somehow, "Lost" managed to take a great concept, and actually make it work. Survivors trapped on an island could have gotten really old, really fast; but the creators of "Lost" have kept the show exciting and innovative. The Season 3 finale was, in my humble opinion, the greatest season ending cliffhanger since "Who Shot J.R.?"; and I'm willing to bet the season 4 premier will not disappoint the way "Dallas" did. Sometimes after watching an episode of "Lost", my head spins with questions that I can't possibly answer. Questions about the space/time continuum, alternate realities, and the significance of those infamous numbers; but I suppose creating so many Stephen Hawking-esque viewers is what makes "Lost" so original. The supernatural aspects, the time warp possibilities, and the flashbacks make this show intoxicating and addictive. "Pushing Daisies" is my newest guilty pleasure. I thought after Showtime's "Dead Like Me" was cancelled, I'd never get anything so clever again. Luckily, Bryan Fuller was able to conjure up some more magic, and have a network give him a chance to shine once again. The premise of a young pie maker being able to revive dead things for only one minute before having to send them permanently to the hereafter, is a fresh idea that distinguishes itself from the multitude of cop, law, and reality shows that flood the channels. The technicolor background, the cast, and the dialog make this a must see each week. Finally, how could I survive without a dose of Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute, Jim & Pam, and the rest of the Dunder Mifflin gang? Anyone who has ever worked in an office setting, can identify with the characters on "The Office". We all know the boss' pet, the slacker, the underachievers, and the romance dramas that plague the world of fluorescent lighting and cubicles. This is one of the only shows on television that actually makes me laugh out loud. It's definitely a show I have to TiVo, because in order to catch everything that happens, I really need to watch it twice. So there it is, my ode to television. It may not be something I think about often, but I am grateful for the shows I mentioned. They make me think, they make me laugh, and they give me something to look forward to each week.

The final thing on my list (that I'm willing to share publicly, at least) is something I've never put much thought into; but while doing this little project, I realized is an integral part of my life, and has been for as long as I can remember. Dreaming. Not in the sense of dreaming I'll win the lottery, or that one day I'll cheer on the Saints in their Super Bowl victory; but actual dreaming while sleeping. My husband says he can never remember his dreams in the morning; that is unimaginable to me. I have always had extremely vivid dreams and can recall them nearly all of the time. I'm thankful for that. My dreams are always in color and I usually have more than one complete dream a night. The dreams I have at night are so real, that sometimes when I wake up it takes a moment or two to separate my dream world from reality. The downside to dreaming this way is that nightmares are just as real as the good dreams. Thankfully, I haven't had any of those terrifying, jump out of bed, wake up screaming dreams in a while. Lately, most of my dreams consist of me hanging out with people who are no longer in my life. I'm usually at a party or some sort of gathering, and I'm just chatting with these people; and in my dreams, there's nothing strange or awkward about it. Just picking up where we left off, without skipping a beat. Some of the people have in real life passed away, some I've just lost touch with, and some are people I don't see anymore who I just miss a great deal. I don't try to analyze my dreams; but I do look forward to spending time with loved ones that for one reason or another, I can't see when I'm awake. I've read that people who have very detailed and memorable dreams are generally more creative than those who don't. I kind of think that theory is a bit like the "chicken or the egg" conundrum. I feel that the link between dreams and creativity is probably accurate; but is it because you're a creative person that that distant part of your brain remains active during sleep, or are certain people more creative because dreaming exposes their brain's imagination centers, which in turn allows them access to creative thinking that non-dreamers may not enter so easily? Who knows... I'm quite sure I don't have those answers. What I do know; however, is that when I go to bed each night, my mind will provide me with false realities that I may or may not wish to experience. My dreams are a part of who I am and who I've always been; and in some way, they've helped make me the person I am today - so I am thankful for the ability I have to dream, and for the doors that are opened in real life because of what my mind unlocks while I'm asleep.

So there it is, my rather unconventional list of the things for which I am thankful. I highly recommend making your own list. It's interesting to think of the stuff we don't necessarily realize we appreciate. It's easy to remember the big things; but sometimes discovering and embracing the smaller things that enhance our lives, can be catalyst to recognizing and celebrating the multitude of moments, acts, and memories that give each of us so many reasons to be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

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