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Late in every November, our worlds seem to catch a breath and spend a long weekend saying “Thanks!” –  to life and God and family. All the large-ticket items like health and harvest and friendships and faith are spotlighted and appreciated. The long weekend, free of the onus of gift giving, overflows with food and flying footballs and somehow always seems too short.

And it is. When one stops to think of everything else we should be grateful for, all the small-ticket items we take for granted, an additional few days would help. Things like combs…and Scotch tape…and Kleenex; crossword puzzles, cartoons, Chinese checkers and even Cheerios (the most effective baby pacifier around). The list is endless, and every one of us would highlight different items.

When I stopped to think about my own list, the following items – and reasons why – came to mind:

Stop Signs – because it seems the only time they find the spotlight is when there is an accident, usually tragic. Yet, how many lives have they saved? Just by being there. They also remind me to shift gears, slow down and take a look around.

Musak in elevators – because Musak gives testimony to what music should be. Today’s screaming, pounding, ear-damaging noise has me run for cover to embrace silence like a long-lost friend.

Senior Discounts – Why did it take me so long to claim them? They do not seem like a big deal, but for me they offer more than 10% off. They encourage me to celebrate my years rather than deny them.

Other Peoples’ Pets – (selfish, I know.) Unconditional love, without the expense, responsibility and sometimes mess. All the enjoyment of wagging tails, purring, scratching and pulling ears and smuggling surprises. Almost like being a favorite uncle or a grandparent.

Winter Blooms – Paperwhites, poinsettia, Christmas cactus and amaryllis brighten bare windows and rooms with a feeling of spring and new life, warming the chill of winds, ice and snow.

There are many more like the above, but these caught my thinking and say quite clearly that so much of what we take for granted deserves our thanks as well. Last year a friend reminded me that what belongs at the very top of everyone’s list, however, are the five senses. Far from small-ticket items since they are priceless, but like the stop sign they tend to find little appreciation until there’s trouble.

Be thankful for life and love and self and, especially, for all that comes with them. Happy Thanksgiving.