Lots of people are feeling grateful in this holiday season, if my email inbox is any indication. I was flooded with expressions of gratitude for many different things in response to my pre-Thanksgiving newsletter, “A Spirit of Gratitude Is Healthy for Society.” Instead of the usual newsy column I’d like to devote the space today to sharing with you just a bit of what you all shared with me.
In 2013, I had sudden shortness of breath and pain down my left arm, went to my doctor and found that I had almost complete blockage in my left anterior descending artery, also known as the widowmaker. (Isn’t that a lovely name?) I had a stent inserted and soon I was feeling strikingly better than I had in years. My father had the same symptoms decades ago, but without the possibility of stents faced more extreme options, and died at the age of 63.
So I am grateful for the wonders of modern medicine, appreciative to be born in a time when such options are open to me. I treasure my extended time on earth and try to walk the walk each and every day — briskly and happily!
New York City
After our Thanksgiving meal the 13-year-old daughter of our friends, Nikka Gershman-Pepper, an award-winning flutist, played a violin composition by Sibelius that she had adapted for flute. Just when Nikka was about to take her bow from our thunderous applause, our dog Journey approached her with his instrument: a toy ball that he squeaks when mouthed in the key of E minor. Journey knew grace and felt gratitude. What a gift!
Nancy Gould Chuda
I am leaning into gratitude more than I ever thought possible. Two and a half years ago I lost my precious 28-year-old son, Jordan, to suicide. My grief journey has taught me thus far to appreciate the simple, beautiful things … birds, trees, walking in nature and just breathing air. I am grateful I got to be Jordan’s mom. I recorded my album “Gratitude” in 2019 after his passing.
Indian Land, S.C.
One Christmas when I was a child, my family decided to go to Yellowstone National Park. There was so much snow that we were stranded in Old Faithful Inn without a room. Our family had Cheetos and other snack foods for Christmas dinner in employee housing. Yet it wasn’t sad or depressing. Quite the opposite. We were so grateful!
Each morning when I awaken from my slumber, I say out loud at least five people or things I am grateful for: Another day, my parents, my friends, birds singing, good health, the golden maple leaves that have dropped in my yard. After 20 years of this practice, I’m a happy little coconut.
Merry Y. Wong
Dana Point, Calif.
I was in grade school in the 1950s when my teacher asked the class to write down what we were thankful for. My parents had fled from Stalin’s army and secret police, taken a boat to Nazi Germany (that was their best option at the time), walked to the Allied zone and finally established a new life in America. I wrote down that I was thankful that I had not been captured by the Russians.
Number of the week
China’s holdings of foreign currencies in November, stated in dollar terms, according to the median of estimates of economists surveyed by FactSet. That would be down from $3.218 trillion in October. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange is scheduled to release the official figure on Tuesday. On Friday the U.S. Treasury Department, which had China and 11 other nations on its monitoring list for possible currency manipulation, said China’s currency did not appear to be undervalued, which would give its exporters a competitive edge. But it said, “China’s failure to publish foreign exchange intervention and broader lack of transparency around key features of its exchange rate mechanism make it an outlier among major economies, and the activities of state-owned banks in particular warrant Treasury’s close monitoring.”
Quote of the day
“The primary function of the financial mechanism of the country in wartime is to help meet the requirements of war production.”
— “Annual Report of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Covering Operations for the Year 1941” (1942)
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