Blessings and Giving Thanks

Everett Johnson
Sitting here to write this column is the last thing I want to be doing right now.  Fishing is taking off like a rocket and this office seems more a prison than it ever did.  I am here in body but my spirit is elsewhere.

In my mind’s eye I am stalking the edge of an oyster bed in San Antonio Bay. It is cloudy with a hint of northeast breeze and I should have worn waders, but I don’t want it to be winter yet.  A few yards to my right shrimp skip franticly, fleeing predators intent on getting fat. My cast is met with a sweet thump and a thrashing pull.  I fight the fish gingerly to make the contest last before unhooking my prize and watching her swim away. Overhead, a dozen pintails survey the shoreline and then settle into a marsh pond.  A raspy call echoes from the backcountry telling me the whooping cranes are back.

This is Heaven on Earth and I am one with the natural world.  Fears and worries of volatile markets and what has become of my retirement fund are far away. Falling deeper into the spell I can become an ancient hunter-gatherer.  My rod and reel is a spear and my Columbia duds are replaced with scraps of hide. Sometimes I’m an explorer, the first to find this place, and I wish I could stay longer.

Is it silly to dream? Sillier still would be to never dream.  Is this productive?  I would argue that it is, especially in a therapeutic sense. When I return from my dreams I realize how lucky I am to live in the same place I go to in my dreams. I count it as a blessing.

I love the Texas coast and I am thankful I found it when I did.  I am thankful for the way God made me and that he put me here in this day and age. I do not believe the guys who wore hides and speared their fish were as blessed as I.  If I was to compile a list of everything God has blessed me with it would take a long time to complete.  My life has been that good.

On the fourth Thursday this month we will commemorate a national holiday of Thanksgiving. We will join friends, family and loved ones in feast and celebration that can be traced much farther back than struggling settlers on a rocky New England shore.

People of many cultures have done this for ions, reveling in the fruits or their labors and marking good fortune, not always on the fourth Thursday, but always with reverence and praise and dreams of being able to do it again.

When you offer a prayer of thanks for the bounty on your table, reflect on how blessed we truly are.  Pray for our troops way out there in the desert and for their families who will miss them at their Thanksgiving tables.  Pray for our country’s leaders that they will be blessed with great wisdom and good judgment. Pray for all our friends and neighbors who lost so much in the hurricane.  Give thanks for all your blessings, and be especially thankful for your dreams.