I’ve been tossing an idea around in my head for a while to write about the things that make me happy and for which I’m grateful. With last week ending on news of sadness and terrible tragedy, now seems as opportune a time as any other for a column like that. I’m sure many people can benefit from reminding themselves of just how lucky they are or spreading a little modest gratitude to others who deserve to hear the thanks.
Some of these are inspired by columns of the past year or so—maybe when I complained about something, or when a reader contributed a thought-provoking comment about what I’d written. Some are profound, some are more whimsical. Others still are just simple, sweet moments and glimpses of life that I don’t want to let pass by unnoticed. And they're (mostly) in no particular order.
1. After reading Friday morning’s news, hugs from my kiddies were a little bit sweeter and tighter. I was very happy to know exactly where they were, safe and sound.
2. I wanted to put this shout-out prominently high up on the list, because about Wilton's emergency response after the freak Halloween snow storm: A big ‘Thank You’ goes to First Selectman Bill Brennan, Fire Chief Paul Milositz and their departments for wading into the world of social media. They created a Facebook page for Emergency Notifications and a twitter account that will be used as part of the coordinated effort anytime there is a disaster or emergency situation. With storm season now seemingly year-round, this is a great acknowledgement of understanding how more and more residents are getting their news and information. As Milositz (who is also Wilton’s emergency response director) told the Board of Selectmen, “We have to get better at [communicating with residents].” This is a giant step in that direction.
3. Bravo to the Wilton Chamber of Commerce and Wilton merchants for this past weekend. Building on the concept of sidewalk sales of years’ past, the addition of a street fair, complete with a closed off street for pedestrians, a full schedule of events and entertainment, food and refreshments (who’d have ever thought we’d see a beer tent in Wilton!), children’s activities, and more, it was a well-thought idea to energize residents—and hopefully non-residents—about shopping locally in Wilton.
4. I’d like to give thanks for Jersey tomatoes. Big, juicy, ruby red, amazing Jersey tomatoes. There’s nothing else like ‘em.
5. Not just because I live in a part of Wilton that would be smack-dab in the middle of the path of “Super 7,” but I’m really glad we don’t have that highway! Thanks to the first of a multi-part series in the Wilton Bulletin (commemorating the 40 years since a group of residents got an injunction blocking its construction) I’m learning about the history of who wanted the super-highway, who didn’t, and why we should be grateful it was blocked.
Could you imagine a 4-lane highway cutting through Allen’s Meadow? How do you think a 4-ramp interchange right beside Wilton High School and the Wilton Y would have affected life in Wilton? What was that? I don’t think I would have heard your answers over the noise of the trucks zooming by on the I-95-like Interstate cutting an ugly swath through town.
6. Slowly but surely, ? There are several people saying thanks that Portofino’s is finally open again, (re)joining the ranks of Wilton’s restaurant row. This year’s new entrants Cactus Rose and Bianco Rossi, are soon to be followed by an organic bakery and café in the old Michaela’s Bakery spot. Bon Appetit Café seems to be doing well enough to ask Planning and Zoning for the right to expand, and a new restaurant—Bistro 7—opened up on the northern end of town last month.
Now, with the Coffee Barn happily percolating, eyes are turned to Vintage Salsa & Rotisserie, which is due to open momentarily at the Wilton Train Station. They teased some people Saturday afternoon with tastes of beef from the rotisserie, churros and of course their famous salsas. All I can say is I’m thankful we don’t have to drive as far to satisfy our cravings.
7. Since we’re on the topic of food, may I say how grateful I am for the existence of blueberries? Oh, and major thanks to whomever it was who invented Reese’s peanut butter cups. And a good rosé wine, I am really thankful for that. (Don’t judge.)
8. I’m happy for air conditioning.
9. I’m thankful for the perspective to realize how privileged I am to be able to say that I’m happy to have air conditioning, in today’s world. I am grateful for the ability and opportunity to work hard enough to pay for it.
10. I’m thankful for kids of all stripes who know what it is to give back. For the column this year I talked to some students in the high school, including the , who are dedicated to acceptance and tolerance. I heard a great story about some young Wilton Little Leaguers who have . I got to tout a friend of my son’s who I’ve long-admired for standing up to stereotype in order to . I’ve enjoyed writing these, and other stories about kids who want to help others.
When I hear similar compliments from adults about my own kids, how they’re ‘good kids,’ I shiver with joy. I am thankful, too, to be able to return the favor and tell the moms and dads of other good kids just how wonderful I think their children are as well.
11. We’re fortunate to have Gail Lavielle as a state representative. She’s a tireless public servant, and is smart and classy to boot. She and I sometimes agree politically and sometimes don’t, but I always admire her perseverance, dedication to her constituents and knowledge. Especially when you’re a constituent in need, she’s great to have in your corner.
12. I’m grateful my daughter has someone to call her very best, best friend, and that someone stopped today to buy the lemonade they squeezed fresh to sell at their little stand.
13. I’m still thankful for .
14. I say a silent “Thank You!” each time I bike, walk or jog on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. It’s my own private Nirvana.
15. I always appreciate a good cup of coffee. I especially want to give thanks for the cup of coffee I enjoyed every morning on my honeymoon. I remember exactly how it tasted, and something about that still makes me smile.
16. Thanks for the sound of my daughter’s laughter when she snuggles with her dad.
17. I’m grateful that my parents are healthy and that my children see them regularly.
18. I’m grateful for the phone call from the doctor who said, “It’s negative, everything is fine.”
19. I’m grateful that this is a never-ending list, which is the ultimate thing to be thankful for, after all. By simply sitting down and putting it on virtual paper, I’ve brightened my day today a little bit more. Hopefully I’ve sparked some thought, and maybe conversation, about what we have to be thankful for.
So now, to you—what are you thankful for? In the comments below, please tell us what make you grateful and let’s see how uplifting we can be today.