The Countdown

Birdie knew she should be counting her blessings. Naming them one by one as the old hymn suggested, but she just wasn’t in a blessing-naming mood right now. Thanksgiving holiday was coming up, and she knew she would get in the thankful mode eventually, but right now she felt downright surly. It was most likely due to dissatisfaction with herself, but it was manifesting in a sweeping scorn for everyone else. And she felt like naming the things she hated.

She hated the roll of fat that encased her stomach. She hated the articles and websites that explained how to get rid of the roll of fat that encased her stomach. She hated the people that wrote those articles. She hated the way those people looked with their svelte waistlines.

She hated their before and after pictures because it proved that they had made some progress and had moved from miserable specimens to success stories because of their gumption and perseverance. And while she was at, she despised their gumption and perseverance.

She hated their happy smiling faces as they enjoyed drinking green smoothies, eating flaxseeds, and shunning French fries. She hated them for drinking 10 gallons of purified water a day and claiming to no longer crave anything sweet now that they had cleansed their systems. She hated them for declaring, “If I can do it, so can you.”

She hated the young women who showed up for the Pilates class she had taken a chance on (just to see if she could maybe do some of that stuff that sounded so promising). Those young women with their strong legs, sculpted arms, and flat stomachs. The ones who could sit on the mat and form a “V” with their bodies, while Birdie could barely lift one leg in the air while propping herself with her hands. If she never heard the words “strong core” again, it would be too soon.

And while she was naming all the the things she detested, she had no use for people who were always looking on the bright side. Or people who were moaning about turning 60 or 50 or some age that was younger than Birdie.

It was true. There was no pleasing her. It irked her when the people around her were cheerful, and it griped her when they were gloomy

And what about those married couples who say they’d never had a fight? Never had a quarrel. Never a cross word. Did they even live in the same house together? Or were they just too bland to get crosswise of each other? Birdie didn’t believe them. Or if it was true, it meant they were just too boring for words. And she hated that, too.

Birdie hated it when other people ranted about things instead of either changing or learning to accept the inevitable. She didn’t like to hear complaining, and she didn’t like it when people used words like hate when what they really meant was irked, ticked off, aggravated, irritated, or annoyed.

So… Birdie took a breath and began counting.

Family. Friends. Home. Books. A window seat in the morning sun. Cats. A sense of humor. A cozy bed. Down comforters. A warm fire.
Her flower garden. Golden autumns. Laughter. Health. Heated car seats. Ice cubes. Ceiling fans. The comforting tick of the kitchen clock.
Gerald, who helped clean up after supper and was not a picky eater. Synonyms. Snow. The ocean, which was entirely, too far away, although that made it sound like she was complaining again, but–just saying.
The water from their well. Red-winged black birds. Sun pennies on the lake. Baby ducks in the pond.
Porch swings. Reruns of I Love Lucy. Thunder and lightning. Chicken-fried steak. Garden nurseries. Going to the movies. New shoes. A fresh haircut. Massages.
Piano and violin music. Whistling. Sleeping in. Getting up early. Going places. Staying home. Making lists. Indoor plumbing. Ferris wheels. The crescent moon.
Long summer days. Long winter evenings. Hot water from the tap. Lemons. Texting. Pink and yellow.
And more. Lots more.


4 responses »

  1. I’ve had moods like that where no one can win….it’s funny how it is most difficult to count our blessings when we need to count them the most. I’d put a smiley face but that might be too cheerful

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