Long Story Short: Gathering your thanks

A few weeks ago, a friend told me he was working on his Thanksgiving List — that’s right, with a capital T and a capital L.
I asked the obvious question.
“What’s a Thanksgiving List?”
He explained that his father had been a longtime Thanksgiving List-maker. Thankfully, his father’s list grew longer each November.
My friend had been working on his list for several weeks. Diligently, his wife was making hers. In fact, every member of their family was working on a Thanksgiving List to bring to Turkey Day.
Here’s what they do:
For every year lived, each family member writes down a moment — a memory — for which they are grateful.
Not necessarily major accomplishments. Not necessarily spotlight moments complete with trophies or prestigious awards, but the other, more personal moments that have staying power.
I asked for an example from his list. Here’s what he had to offer.
He, his wife and their two daughters live on the East Coast. They were snowed in several times last winter. On the morning after an epic snowstorm, he decided nothing was going to keep him and his 3-year-old daughter from missing a Washington Capitals game. Despite the blanket of snow, they took a train into the city.
About three miles from the arena, the train had to stop. Too much snow. Everyone debarked and set out on foot. He put his daughter on his shoulders and began to walk and wonder what he was going to do. The situation was becoming dire.
He walked by a cab.
A driver was in it.
He asked the driver if he would take a fare. The driver said he would.
So, in a very deserted nation’s capital, my friend and his young daughter made their way to the hockey game in the lone car on the streets.
After a nail biting finish, the home team won. My friend went on to tell of amazing things that followed — involving the rescue of nearly frozen goldfish and lackluster room service, but events that eventually worked together to create lasting and life-changing friendships.
However, it was that simple act of walking on perfect snow with his daughter on his shoulders that stayed. As he told the story and even still, I’m pretty sure I hear the snow crunch.
The rules of The Thanksgiving List are simple.
Figure out how old you are. Start thinking. Then, using whatever writing mechanism you prefer — from crayon to ipad. Write down moments you are thankful for — one for each year of your life. The moments don’t have to come from specific years. Just look back over time and consider moments small and large, meaningful and seemingly insignificant — but figure out the ones you are most grateful for.
Then, wherever it is you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, take your list. If you’re able, tell your fellow-Thanksgivingers of your plan in advance.
If not, be bold. Take your list anyway. At some point during the meal — and I believe you’ll recognize the moment when it comes, pull out The List. Explain it. And, share the first one. (It would super-terrific if you were wearing a corduroy jacket with suede elbow patches and an interior pocket to pull The List from.) However, The List is effective in any form. Even if others don’t come to the table prepared, they’ll be able to decide upon a moment to share.
Thanksgiving offers the perfect chance for everyone to try on a little shared gratitude for size

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