As I recall the scene from “The Waltons” [circa 1975], John Boy was in his room trying to figure out how he would earn the money to go to college.  Grandma timidly knocks on his door and enters and gives him the minimal dollars and cents she has been saving for years for that very purpose.  We know her offering is a mere drop in the bucket, but her grandson graciously accepts it, takes her fragile body in his arms, and responds with one of my favorite film quotes:  “Grandma, I cherish you.”

“Grandma, I cherish you.”


I have been thinking about that scene often in recent days and weeks.  So many people have done so many good things for me throughout my life, things that I have unintentionally ignored or taken for granted.  As I approach my 74th birthday, my wife of going on 50 years stands at the head of the line.

How few times have I sincerely thanked my wife

Mrs. tVM and her family, 1985
  • For the thousands of diapers she’s changed
  • For the thousands of meals she’s cooked
  • For the thousands of dishes she’s washed
  • For the thousands of miles she’s pushed the vacuum cleaner
  • For the thousands of trips to the grocery store to keep me and the kids fed
  • For the thousands of haircuts for me and the kids (my wife has been my only barber since the day we were married; convert that into dollars!)
  • For the thousands of dog bowls she’s filled with food and water

The list is literally endless, and the answer is sadly, “Too few.”

For the last year with my limited mobility as the result of an untimely broken leg, she literally put me on her back and carried me down this long road without complaint.  Although I can never atone for past ignorance, I find myself more attentive in recent days, weeks, and months.  I think most of us gravitate to our own special way of expressing gratitude to those who we love the older we get.  That is a good thing.

Mrs, tVM and Clarence, 2023

My advice… don’t wait until you are aging and/or struck with adversity.  Be like John Boy and acknowledge every day the good things the people you love and who love you do for you to make you a better person, and the world a better place to be.

Dear Family and Friends, I cherish you.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

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  1. Thank you, Gene, for sharing your life in front of us so transparently. This is a good reminder about thankfulness. I just listened to a message from the Bible from Psalm 107 about thankfulness. The man who gave it is a good friend of ours. He is a Messianic Jew who has been using a walker for most of his life. He just turned 70 years old. I like the photos.

  2. Thank you, Gene,
    Right on!! Meister Eckhardt expressed it so well so many centuries ago: “If the only prayer you ever utter is “thank you”, that is enough.
    The word Eucharist is Greek for thank you and we are all invited to live a eucharistic life. As Dag Hammarskjold also expressed in his MARKINGS published after his death/martyrdom: “For all that was, Thanks; for all to come, YES!”
    Peace be with you and yours,
    Mitakuje Oyasin

  3. Beautiful story…..yes, I find myself thanking my children and other
    Family members for the things they do for me. It truly is a Gift!