I’m looking at the bay water right now. A storm is blowing in. It looks like heaven is fixing to open up.
Vacationers in the cabin to my right are doing the same thing I’m doing. The man is on his porch, wearing a bright red Georgia Bulldog T-shirt, smoking a cigarette.
The family in the cabin to my left is from Auburn, Alabama. The back of their truck, smeared with pictures of tigers and eagles. He’s on his porch, too. He’s sipping a cup of something that’s supposed to be coffee. But I’d bet good money it’s hair-of-the-dog.
“Good morning,” says Georgia.
“Good morning,” I’m saying.
Auburn says nothing—his morning isn’t so good.
Well mine is. And I’m just going to come right out and say it: I feel grateful. I don’t know why, to tell you the truth. I suppose a man can’t control the way he feels, sometimes.
Neither good nor bad.
Anyway, it’s not because my life is wonderful, or because I’m naturally happy. My life hasn’t always been so wonderful. And I’m not exactly the giddiest little sailor God ever created.
But I’m grateful for things. Things like puppies, geckos, and stocked coolers. For comfortable shoes, stiff breezes, and clouds that catch the light just right. And for this penny a cashier handed me, dated 1909.
I’m grateful for fellas who get up early to go fishing because they can’t wait until after breakfast. Right now, I see four boats in the bay. And the only thing missing out there is me.
I’m grateful for people who find the courage to quit unhappy jobs. For people who lose. For worriers, and the self-conscious. I’m grateful for beautiful girls who think they’re ugly. I’m grateful for good athletes; more grateful for bad ones who try.
I thank God for ice machines, shade trees, and oyster shells so deformed they’re magnificent. For rural people, who try to make ends meet, but can’t. For rich folks, who try to make ends meet but can’t. For wildflowers others call weeds; for hideous flowers that win awards.
For anyone who’s ever been left out.
For hungover neighbors in beach cabins, who had too much bourbon last night.
For my mama—who if she didn’t quilt, paint, knit, crotchet, garden, or make big breakfasts, I believe she’d blow her stack. For my sister, who was born to be a mother. For my wife, who might never be one.
For my life—no matter how short or long it may be.
For this storm blowing in right now.