Barney got in a fight with Andy’s one-armed cousin who was visiting from out of town. The tussle started, unfortunately, over a huge misunderstanding on Thanksgiving Day many years ago.
Barney was never the brightest monkey in the shed. He had a big heart but no good filter when it came to conversation, which got him in trouble. He also wasn’t a fighter. The handful of ‘altercations’ he had before this particular Thanksgiving Day pretty much always ended the same: ended when Barney inadvertently used his chin to try and bust up his opponent’s knuckles.
This fight between him and Andy’s one-armed cousin Thanksgiving Day didn’t last long. Andy and another big cousin were able to break up the fight after Barney fell back on the dessert table, but they were not able to stop it before the one-armed cousin landed two furious jabs and a precise uppercut to Barney’s wait-a-minute expression.
Later that Thanksgiving Day as others were helping themselves to third helpings of pecan pie, Barney’s eyes opened. Andy was there.
“How you feeling?”
“Don’t know. I think I got beat up,” Barney said.
“You got tapped pretty hard.”
“My nose feels broke. I didn’t mean no harm to your cousin, Andy, honest,” Barney said.
“Oh, I know, and he knows it now, too. He’s cooled off and down on the dock fishing with Mable and Sarah. Having a fine time. Said he wants to tell you sorry when you’re up to it,” Andy said. “But he’s a bull of a dude and got a temper. You should be thankful.”
“Thankful? Why in the world should I be thankful?” Barney said.
“It’s a shame he lost his arm to the auger last year, but you should be thankful he didn’t have two arms today. If he’d a had two good arms to use on you, he might’ve killed you before we got in there to stop it,” Andy said.
Thankfulness is a relative thing, a practice in comparing things or experiences to others and then judging which is better. You are thankful for the better thing, right? But ‘better’ is a relative term. Better is better than what? One man’s misfortune, or his view of it, just might be to another man a windfall event to celebrate, or for him a better thing to be thankful for.
My wife and kids are healthy and my friends and relatives are also relatively the same. We have food, shelter and love, and we have plenty of nice clothes to keep us from being naked. We have plenty of things to keep us entertained (too much actually). No matter how you compare it, we should be thankful, but that doesn’t mean we always are thankful.
As I told my boy not long ago, being thankful takes practices and you have to try to be thankful to keep the thankful muscle toned up and strong. The old use-is-or-lose-it axiom. What I said to him was no groundbreaking parental action, or particularly wise, but I think my 10-year-old boy got the message, and by telling him I think I did, too.
We all get troubles. We all get bad troubles from time to time. Some get troubles I don’t want to think about, and that’s bad. The grace I’ve seen others show in times of their troubles has amazed me, and I doubt I could be as gracious. But I can try, and I can certainly be thankful today when so many blessings are staring me in the nose.
I hope you and your family have more blessings than you know what to do with. Be as thankful as you can.
Good luck, take care and thanks for reading.
(Editor’s note: The fight and those who took part in it referenced in this story are fictional. Any resemblance to characters real or fictional I hope brings no harm to, or offends, the real or fictional.)