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Even in bad times, be thankful

There is an unwritten law in the journalistic world that every columnist has to write a "What I am Thankful For" column this week and I am no exception. I don't mind the law, since I don't think we spend nearly enough time being thankful and far too much time being regretful, vindictive, petty, or worse than all of these, apathetic.

So what am I thankful for? I'm thankful my mother isn't around to catch me ending a sentence with a preposition, for starters. I'm thankful that my husband would rather watch plants grow on the television (seriously!) than football. Now, I don't have to arm wrestle for the remote to make sure I get to watch MY teams.

I'm thankful for my three boys, of course, and even, in a strange way, for the chaos they create in my life. It might be neater and cleaner without them around, but oh, how empty. The two oldest have spent this week visiting cousins in Tennessee and I haven't had to break up a single fight, referee a single stupid argument, or drag them kicking and screaming to their rooms for bedtime. Darn it.

Even when things go wrong, I have things for which to be thankful. My cat, 9-year-old Tasha, who has only been outside three times in her life, slipped away from us somehow last weekend. Despite hours of combing the neighborhood, harassing the animal shelter, and praying, she has not returned and probably will not. She was not in the best of health, and there had been a desperation in her affection those last few weeks that make me wonder if she was saying "good-bye." While I am certainly not thankful that she has gone and I will never really know what happened to her, I can be thankful for the nine years she was with me, my fur-lined hot water bottle, my confidant, my comfort, and my friend.

I have had three great feline friends in my life, all of them strays who found their ways to my doorstep in unusual circumstances, and all of them, oddly enough, gray in one way or another. I'm not going out looking for a replacement - it is far too soon and painful. Besides, sooner or later, some little gray and white kitten or gray tabby will cross my path and find me.

So add one more thing for which to be thankful - the Egyptian somewhere long, long ago who realized domesticating wild cats could be a good thing.

Good night, Tasha, and thank you for your friendship