This past weekend I spent time doing a number of things. I attended a couple of Veterans Day memorial events, enjoyed a Glenn Miller Band concert, went to church, ate breakfast with members of my car club, attended the Marine Corps birthday gala. I spent the rest of the time cleaning the carpets, washing the windows and mirrors, waxing the furniture and getting the house ready for the holiday season. While the house is always tidy, the deep cleaning takes a great deal of time and I have found parts of my body that ache that I did not even know I had.
I am not complaining. It was a great deal of work but work never hurt anyone and when you are using the rug cleaning machine you also have a great deal of time to think. Carol and I are blessed in many different ways. We have family and friends and our freedom and all of those things that I will be discussing in my Thanksgiving column.
I want to focus on the house.
We have a nice house. Not too big and not too small. It works for us and we enjoy it. I designed it years ago and contractors Bob Tees and Andy Hutchison built it well. As houses go it will never be on the cover of any House Beautiful magazine and the design isn't going to inspire architects to emulate the floor plan. Like most of you I get to live in a nice house.
When I rented the carpet cleaning machine I did not realize that the house would grow to what seems the size of Buckingham Palace. My gosh there was a lot of carpet. And hence a great deal of time to count my blessings from God.
I began to think that while I have a nice house I bet there are at least a billion people on the planet who have a better house. A billion better off than us. There was the rub. With the world's population at over 7 billion folks it means that I live better than 6 billion others. Talk about being blessed.
Growing up in Compton and living in a house between a mortuary and an auto body paint shop across the street from a warehouse and fire station I can really appreciate the blessings that freedom and an education will provide.
Certainly we think of people caught by natural disasters or fires that need immediate help and relief. I am thinking about those who for various reasons just find themselves struggling.
Those 6 billion folks I referenced would probably tell me to stop thinking about the aches and pains and to be grateful for having the house to clean. I am.
They would tell me that I shouldn't complain about hauling in wood to heat the house because I am warm and sheltered from the cold that bites. I don't.
A couple of weeks ago we visited a friend for dinner and one of the other dinner guests was telling the story of a friend of his, who happened to be a public school teacher, that had some of her students over to her home for an event. Hers is a rather small house and she feels somewhat cramped in it. When her students saw the house they asked how many families lived there with her.
When she stated she lived there alone they were in shock and awe. They couldn't imagine a bedroom for themselves let alone a bed just for them. It is all perspective. If 6 billion folks would trade places with you you're doing well.
I saw one of my students last week without a jacket and he was shivering. When I asked why he didn't wear his coat his response was that he did not own one. Not enough cash to buy a coat. I asked around and a couple of friends had a couple of jackets to share and so he now is sporting a warm jacket.
If you are doing the house cleaning and closet cleaning and find sweaters and jackets please consider donating them to PTAs, schools, church's, or to Golden 1 Credit Union's "Coats for Kids" project to get them onto folks who are cold. The jackets don't work in the closet.