Anna Gratz Cockerville of Two Writing Teachers developed this Slice of Life for December when people are stressed waiting in line to buy presents among other things. Ms. Cockerville provides six fine categories for gratitude prompts, so this is a lesson plan that teachers can really return to throughout their careers https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/the-antidote-to-december-stress-teach-students-to-write-about-gratitude/
I just got up from my computer zone because a young dad and his two sons are gleefully playing soccer in the apartment atrium. I called out to a neighbor, “Now that’s a fun dad!” For the second time in two days, I asserted to a parent that soccer is a great game for little kids to start early because dribbling is way easier in soccer than basketball. Yes, I just felt gratitude.
Everything happened in the right sequence yesterday. A friend at Stanley’s Famous Bar-B-Q told me about my new neighbors–the journalist ladies–having a garage sale. I bought a cute door mat shaped like a paw for only $2. Their house is one of the oldest on the block–1922! My street is an eclectic hodge-podge with an air conditioning store, cabinet factory, little houses, two apartment offices, law offices, indigent health care, a child psychiatrist, a hospital branch for new moms, etc. The BBQ place has curious neighbors: a methadone clinic, a money-lending place, and a shoe repair store!
The journalist ladies have three adorable cats and a gray tabby kitten. The Siamese and the brown tabby sat around with their paws tucked under. The gray cat was the toughest of the four to get a good cellphone picture because she kept squirming around–probably in heat. It was a fun house party: a bunch of ladies half my age and me taking pictures of cats.
Later I returned to the BBQ place and met a long-lost former student, now all grown-up together with her sisters and brothers in law. One of the sisters happens to be an ESOL teacher at my favorite local secondary school, so we had a lot to discuss. I stayed there until closing. Since the BBQ place is closed Sunday, they had leftover chopped beef, so the chef gave it to me!
The last Sunday of the month is potluck at my church, so I took some BBQ with sauce on it–a far cry from my usual vegetable side dishes. We had a visiting minister who plays guitar and sings funny, heart-warming songs. He not only did a guest service but performed after the potluck lunch. Guess what? I showed cat pictures to the older ladies sitting around me, including of course, Earl Grey–the cat across the street. My joke about “We’ve been together for 11 months” is sure to get a laugh.
I have had a lot to be grateful about this weekend. When I look at Anna Cockerville’s categories for her gratitude assignment, I can see elements of an adventure with friends, places that mean a lot to me, and this slice is a letter to all of these folks!