As Karen and I sat at the kitchen table a few days following 911, we pondered all we might learn from this horrific event. We decided to make a list of the things we were thankful for. On my list was my Fifth Grade Teacher, Mr. Trantum. My workbook describes how fond I am of him. Karen asked me if I ever thanked him. I phoned him immediately and much to my surprise he remembered me. We sent Mr. Trantum a gift basket for Christmas that same year. Below is his thank you note:
December 27, 2001
Dear Creed and Karen,
Thank you both for the lovely Harry and David gift box of delicious fruit (pears) and candy and nuts. Wow, what a beautiful gift!
Creed, I was thrilled to also receive the photographs. Yes, the earlier picture of yourself was when you were in my classroom…and even that shirt I remember. I don’t remember all my former students, but I do remember you well. You were one of my favorite people and the photo you sent is exactly how I pictured you in my mind’s eye. You were always well behaved and never gave me any difficulty. Let me explain that I’m going to get a duel picture frame and put each picture in each side. Then place them on my fireplace mantle. You represent all my former students, which is especially fitting since I just retired. I want you to know also that your phone call in November was truly a blessing for me! Someday soon I hope we can meet in person. Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year! Please keep in touch.
The cover photo is one of the pics Mr. Trantum referenced in his thank you note. So what’s the point you say. Who do you need to call and simply say thank you? About two months ago I called my cousin Chuck. He died one week later. Heart failure.
About 15 years ago I told Karen I should call Bill and Connie. I said that for 3-4 days straight and never called. That same week on Saturday a mutual friend called and told me Bill and Connie died in a plane crash.
Who received the blessing of my call to Mr. Trantum? The call to Chuck?
And even by not calling Bill and Connie I learned the value of simply picking up a telephone and saying thank you. “Your friendship means a lot to me.”
If you’re trying to find joy in your life, start by finding reasons to be thankful. Start by calling people you love. I regularly ask clients if they’ve followed this example. How about you? Who do you need to call?
Why not make 2017 one that is more thankful for all you’ve been given?