Ungratefulness leads to unhappiness

“When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock/And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin turkey-cock… O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best.”
As a girl in upstate New York, I experienced James Whitcomb Riley’s poem first hand.
Unlike the prairie states, there was no wheat grown. There was only corn to feed the dairy cows which supplied milk to New York City.
And I remember with pleasure one time when I was allowed to help with the shocking of the corn. Dragging the tall bundles of corn and carefully constructing sturdy teepees. It was an elaborate procedure that would let the ears of corn dry.
After shocking the corn, the pumpkins which grew with the corn were exposed and easy to pick. And then it was time to choose our Thanksgiving turkey.
We were very grateful for the abundant harvest, and I understood exactly why Riley said “O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best.”
Years ago, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby began his Thanksgiving column with “Ask yourself this as you sit down to your turkey dinner: If you had been a pilgrim would you have given thanks?”
That’s a question worth pondering.
The Mayflower had a rough crossing; and by the time the Pilgrims arrived, it was too late to prepare for the winter storms.
Three months after arrival, half of the settlers had died—sometimes as many as two or three a day.
The seed wheat they brought from the Old Country wasn’t suited for the stony soil of the Atlantic shore; and when they ordered goods from England, pirates stole the shipment.
Yet they were thankful!
But said Jacoby, “Even on Thanksgiving, we are more likely to concentrate on the turkey or the television than on giving thanks. But perhaps we would think differently about thankfulness if we realized its extraordinary power to improve our lives.”
Being grateful goes far beyond mere politeness. “Gratitude is nothing less than the key to happiness itself,” said Jacoby.
In the book, “Gratitude a Way of Life” by Louise Hay and Friends, Dr. Tom Costa writes (in all capital letters) “YOU CANNOT BE GRATEFUL AND UNHAPPY AT THE SAME TIME.”
“It is emotionally impossible to do both,” says Costa.
When you count your blessings, you will appreciate your health, your family, your friends, your home, your pets and your food. With all that blessing, how can you not be happy!
And on the other hand, if you complain about your friends, your family, where you to have to live and the food you are served, how can you be anything but unhappy!
Gratitude, whether toward God or toward other people, will bring joy and happiness to your own life and those around you.
So this November, why not be serious about gratitude.
Get a piece of paper and write down what you’re thankful for.
What’s special about your life right now? Do you have a new grandchild or a new friend?
Is your health better than it was a year ago?
Do you have a new refrigerator or new stove?
Whatever is on your list, be sure to give thanks.
And always remember that gratitude is the key to happiness.
Copyright 2010 Marie Snider
Marie Snider is an award-winning healthcare writer and syndicated columnist.
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@aol.com or visit her website at www.visit-snider.com.

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