Another coffee pot bit the dust. OK, I really mean coffee maker. It’s just that I come from a generation when the word “pot” covered everything in he kitchen that had anything to do with making something to eat or drink. As I said, my coffee pot died.

I have been using, for ever, those discount store devices for which I have paid anywhere from $12.95 to $19.95, except for the time when I sprang for one that I just knew would last a lifetime, for which I paid the enormous sum of $24.95. It had a French sounding name, which, I felt, would be a plus. The damned thing didn’t last six months. So much for that terribly overrated French “mystique”.

While considering my next move, I glanced over at the little three cup Cajun coffee pot I have had for over 50 years and is now a “decorator” piece in my kitchen. I wondered if I should just abandon modernity and go back to pouring scoops of boiling water over the coffee until the little pot is full, then setting the pot in a pan of simmering water to keep it warm. That worked for years without ever needing to plug anything into a wall socket. I can remember standing there half awake in that peaceful pre-dawn silence, tending to that little pot with loving care, as though it were the antidote for the “evil that lurks in the hearts of men”.

I do have a large coffee maker made by Black and Decker, the people who make table saws, power drills and whisker trimmers, but it’s too big to leave on my small counter top. I only use it when there are large groups to serve. Rare.
So, considering all these factors, I made the leap and ordered a real coffee pot with a stainless insulating carafe. I can make as little as 2 cups to as much as 10 cups. I can also set it to make coffee in the morning, all by itself, in that pre-dawn quietness, just before I wake up. You can’t see it, but I am smiling.

I’m 81 today. I want to thank all of you who sent along a greeting on this once in a lifetime day.

Actually, I believe all days fit that description, do they not? And here it is on the eve of Thanksgiving as well. When Thanksgiving used to float, my birthday came on Thanksgiving Day from time to time. Of course, that wouldn’t do. Besides, there needed to be another fixed long weekend and this seemed as good a place as any to stick one in the calendar. I don’t mind.

So, on this auspicious day, I want to be thankful for a few things.

Obviously I am thankful to be here. Like the inimitable Minnie Pearl, “I’m just so proud to be here”! I never made plans to be here so long. And I appreciate everyone making room for my extended stay. I have issues, like any octogenarian, but through the ministrations of a team of physicians, Medicare, a drug plan I can afford and the ability to appreciate good gin, I seem to be doing OK at the moment – and the moment is all any of us really have.

Then I am thankful for my family in all of it’s branches. They are the foundation on which “I AM” has been built. I am specially thankful for my children who mean more to me than they can know, and who actually speak to me, and who all have iPhones with which to do it.

I am thankful for my friends who seem willing to put up with me and my vices. It has occurred to me that without a few vices, we would be a boring and completely lackluster tribe. Actually, I have been rejected by some because of my vices. They are certainly the less for it.

I am thankful for one woman who knows all my vices, even the ones I have managed to hide from most of you out there. I’m thankful for her love and patience and belief. There has to be belief in a lasting relationship. I am thankful for her family who have let me inside to feel a part of their lives, to share their joy and sadness and love.

As I said, I am thankful for the moment. Celebrate the moment with me. Don’t mourn the passing of the moment. Don’t be anxious about the next moment.

Thank you all.

We went for a walk in the woods this afternoon
Not many afternoons left to do that without
Special consideration – snowshoes, skis, crampons
We climbed our local mountain in the sub 40? chill
Shedding clothing on the way up and reaching for it on the way down
I could have been talked out of it – lazy to the bone
But here’s the thing – I get more than I give to it
I am remembering how I used to run these same trails
On which I now strain for breath as I walk slowly up them
But that list is endless, it seems, and is not profitable

We photographed each other standing by a rock wall
That proclaimed some whimsical intelligence
That left a window enclosing an elliptical stone
That seemed to say, “See, we actually had fun doing this”

It’s impossible to go anywhere in these woods
Without walking in someone’s footsteps
Where love was made, life was lived
And Death called every name

Sometimes, while sitting in November’s afternoon sun, I catch myself gazing not at the bony maples in their stark beauty, or the sky so sharply blue and cold, but downward at the old pocked and scared brick beneath my boots, a patch of lichen sheathing a point on a sandstone flag and the endless patterns etched by time and a low fall sun in those old salvaged cross ties that seemed like such a deal at the time.

A concrete pot that held petunias in their day stands empty of all but cold soil and fallen leaves.  The gardens all about are full of the dead and dying awaiting a moment when some mysterious gene will wake up with a program of flourishing life, symmetry and beauty.  The pleasure I feel is palpable.  But I’ve never been hard to please in the out of doors.

The sun warms me though it is not long for warming.  I am beginning to wonder if I can get to my feet having set for a spell with my knees drawn up so.  It occurs to me that I, with my cracks, blemishes and faded color, fit right in with the textured weathered and decaying world about me.  I had to smile thinking that someone passing by might not see me, so well camouflaged, amid the lichens, fallen leaves, grasses and lilies gone by.  Particularly if I were quite still.

I have never stayed up past 2 AM on an election night. I’m not sure that what I was doing could be called “staying up” either. I ended up turning the TV toward my position in bed so that I could close my eyes without the concurrent danger of falling out of a chair.

I had actually fallen into a rather deep sleep while reading and listening at the same time. Due to a bit of earlier imbibing, my system needed a bathroom break and, as is usual, I woke up to take care of that duty and noticed quite a celebration going on in Chicago. It couldn’t mean but one thing.

I actually felt the President would win this election, but I didn’t think it would be determined in one day. Poor Carl Rove, even after everyone else was conceding the results, and while strangling on his own hubris, held out until the floor just fell out from under him. One would expect that he would just fade away, but his “kind” never get that message. The man spent, as it is said, multiplied millions of other peoples – read corporate – money (thanks to the Supremes) to spread lies and distortions which have worked their dark magic in the past and did not this time. I wish we as a nation could get past this childish tactic.

But to move on, we can only hope that comments Republican leadership have made which seem to embrace a dirty tricks philosophy will turn out to be TV rhetoric and not a plan for sabotage. Mitch McConnell is on record, for instance, saying that if Obama wins this election, the Republicans will make it impossible for him to govern. They actually tried that tactic and I believe the nation is tired of it. This country wants movement in Washington. Not a my-way-or-the-highway kind of political strategy.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. I am ecstatic about four more years of a truly good man in the White House who believes that government is for the people and if those needs are met then everything else works. Be well, and stay tuned.

Jerry Henderson