St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Guest Column

This holiday is always half full

Published November 19, 2006


I don't really know why, but some days I wake up and my morning cup of coffee appears to be half full. Other mornings, it appears to be half empty. It could be the phase of the moon or what I dreamt about the night before. But there you have it.

On those days when the cup is half empty, I try and do something special in order to send the creepier thoughts to another place in my brain. My brother tells me to go paint a wall or a picture. That usually works. Moving the furniture helps, too. My husband can always tell when my coffee cup is not as full as it should be. He usually ends up tripping over a piece of moved furniture upon returning home from work.

At any rate, the other day, for whatever reason, my coffee cup appeared to be half empty, so I decided it was time to create something.

I thought about my little autumn display in our side yard. It was just a little thing with two scarecrows, one man and one woman. In between the two stands a little pumpkin with two big eyes and a glowing smile. That display was great for Halloween, but Thanksgiving was drawing near and I decided I needed a turkey to put in the display in place of the pumpkin. At once my cup of coffee magically became half full.

I cleaned up the house and washed the breakfast dishes, then got in my car on a hunt for a turkey. This was going to be really cool.

I went to all those store with the word "big" in them but found nothing but leftover Halloween decorations and Christmas decorations.

I meandered to stores with larger departments and larger prices. Lo and behold, there were still no Thanksgiving decorations, only Christmas decorations. This was making my little project seem harder than I had imagined.

Lucky for me, I wasn't going to drink another cup of coffee until later in the afternoon. I knew it would appear half empty again.

Well, not only was I discouraged because my project couldn't be completed, but I suddenly realized that Thanksgiving must not be as big a deal as it used to be. This also disturbed me.

So, when I went home, I went to my display and turned the pumpkin around so you can't see the face on the other side. Now I had a Thanksgiving display. One problem was solved and I could probably drink that afternoon cup of coffee without too many negative thoughts.

I decided to call a friend and tell her about my dilemma. She didn't quite understand why I was so upset.

I explained that Thanksgiving was disappearing from the calendar. She told me it was no big deal. She was going to put up her Christmas tree that week. I asked her if she thought it wasn't a little early. After all, it was only the 6th of November. She explained that she would be gone for Christmas and wanted time to enjoy it. My, I really was distraught!

The next morning I drank my half empty cup of coffee, and proceeded to my morning routine which included taking my shower.

While drying my hair, I heard my brain singing, Hark How the Bells. The displays in the store and my friend had finally gotten to me! I even sat down to think about where I would put our two trees this year. Then I rearranged the furniture in preparation for that event.

Then I sat down and scolded myself for allowing others to get into my brain. I love the Christmas season, but it is much too early to start singing carols. I know that if I get the spirit now, the spirit will be gone before the holiday arrives.

The next morning I again poured my cup of coffee. This time it seemed to be half full; that is, after I had drank half of it. I thought about the events of the past few days and came to the conclusion that the best thing to do when the cup appears half empty is to count my blessings. After all, that is what Thanksgiving is all about.

I thought about those early settlers, way up north in the bitter cold, who sat down to feast on what food they could find, who shared their meal with the Native Americans, who suffered loss and death of family members, but still took the time to thank God for what they had.

So today, as I drink my coffee, I do thank God for what I have. My husband and I are not rich by any means, but we have what we need and then some.

I am thankful for the talents God has given both of us and for our families. I am thankful for friends near and far. I am so thankful for our family members and friends who are in good health and for our own good health.

I am so blessed to be living where the sun shines more often than not. I am grateful for a hurricane season that didn't come. I thank God for giving us brains to use to our best advantage. I thank Him for this great country where I can go shopping without fear of being blown up by a suicide bomber.

I am thankful that 9/11 happened only once and pray that it doesn't happen again.

I am thankful for food on my table and a roof over my head. I am thankful for the beauty of nature and all that it gives to all of us.

I am most thankful for my husband, who allows me to be me, who seldom complains about what I do and who is always there when I need him.

There are just so many things to be thankful for that my cup really should never be half empty. So the next time my brain plays tricks on me and makes me feel as though the cup is half empty, I will remember to count my blessings.

I will remember those brave people who forged a new life in a new land so that today we can have so very much.

Thought for the day: Never forget to be thankful and never forget Thanksgiving.

[Last modified November 19, 2006, 08:25:54]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters