If there’s anything I have learned in life, it is that I am grateful. Grateful for all I have been blessed with and grateful for whatever acts of kindness or compliments that come my way. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not playing the “poor me” card, but I am just saying that maturity teaches that gratefulness should be exercised frequently and for nearly everything.
For example, there’s nothing that will lift the spirits during a long walk along the beach with your wife than the sight of a clean, vacant portable toilet! See! Grateful!
I have even learned to be grateful for an old mismatched pair of socks that will occasionally appear in my drawer. In my younger days I would have tossed them, but now I think, “I wear boots anyway, so who is going to know?” Besides, if I dig deep enough, I will probably find another pair just like them. What are the chances of that? Blessings abound!
Over the weekend my wife Patty and I attended a local GOP dinner and while visiting with some of the folks I was recognized by a young lady who told me that she always reads my column here. Then she went on to say that she only looks for the funnies and the opinion column, and with my photo here she had both. (She really didn’t put it exactly that way, but I found it to be hilarious and told her I was going to say she said that. She was a good sport.) Regardless, I found the inference very funny, and I certainly was and am appreciative that someone would find anything I have to say entertaining. See! Grateful.
After giving what I thought was one of my finest musical performances on stage I was approached by a fellow named Charlie, who used to follow my act around to different venues, and he told me that he really enjoyed the show and my singing was “just OK.” At first I was heartbroken as any ego-reddened maniac would be, but a split second later I saw the humor in the innocence of his honesty, I thanked him profusely for the compliment, and have always remembered him. See! Grateful.
Sometimes you must search through a lot of barnyard fertilizer to find something to be grateful about, but it is always there. Another Charlie approached my wife and I while on a song-pitching trip in Nashville. His job was to find songs that he would pitch to major artists as they were recording in Music City. He asked to hear mine, and after I played the tunes for him, his compliment went something like this. “Those are pretty good songs, if only you had someone better to sing them on the demo!”
“That was me singing those,” I explained.
Just as quickly, Charlie replied, “Yeah I know.”
I wanted to hurl him from my car, but then I thought, “He likes the songs at least, and that’s what I am here for.” See! Grateful.
Through the years I have had people hand me what I call left-handed compliments, some of which I am certain they meant derogatorily, mean-spirited and just plain hateful. But I have tried to find the good in it. Not always have I succeeded, but I did spend some time, limited time in some cases, trying to uncover the compliment. For example, after doing what I believed to have been a remarkably good radio show, my boss admitted that he listened, and in his words it was “better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!” I could have wilted, but I strutted my stuff knowing that it had to be a compelling performance because my boss never, ever admitted listening to me, much less ever made an observation of my performance. Not to mention, do you know how painful a poke in the eye with a sharp stick would be? See! Grateful.
I have always admired my brother John who seems to let nothing in the world shake him. He never loses sleep over things that don’t, and some that do, matter. With maturity, I am learning to adapt to that. I try to live by the adage “Don’t sweat the petty stuff, and don’t pet the sweaty stuff.” While I am not certain what the second half of that adage truly means, I am good with trying to abide by the first half of it, and not sweat the petty stuff. See! Grateful!
Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at http://www.HerbDayVoices.com and http://www.HerbDayRadio.com.