When a nightmare really isn’t a nightmare

There are so many platitudes about thankfulness that it may be tough to be grateful for the worn phrase ‘the attitude of gratitude’.

There are so many platitudes about thankfulness that it may be tough to be grateful for the worn phrase ‘the attitude of gratitude’.  And most of us have made so many appreciation lists they no longer seem meaningful.

Should we really play the ‘glad game’ when there is no Pollyanna at home? As we look back on Thanksgiving and our friends to the south look forward, reminding ourselves to be grateful may nag at us like a prickle in a sock. And please let me know if you enjoy being told, “Smile, things could be worse!”

I recall a beloved niece whose mother insisted, when the child was cranky, that she paste a forced smile upon her face. Mom insisted that the crabby inside would soon be altered to match the outside.  Of course the irritable child did her best to prove mama wrong —until she read as a young adult, a “Psychology Today” article that confirmed her mother’s intuitive theory.

But there is a magic cure, and it’s smirking not far away. Even if I’m upset at the landlord, my children, my friends, myself, or even a smidge at the universe, there is a story that always turns the tables for me.

It wasn’t the best of times. The Irish Potato Famine had dragged on for years.  And even though potatoes can ably sustain life for a very long time, to make things worse, the First World War was still in progress.

Emily had just turned 12 — one of a large number of children in a family from the emerald isle.  Whether the decision was made by drawing straws, casting lots, or parental talk late into the night, somehow Emily was chosen as the child who would survive – the child who would be sent across the sea.  The precious coins were counted, and a fourth-class ticket on a passenger liner was purchased.  In order to save the family, Emily would cross the ocean to North America as an indentured servant.

No one is quite sure what happened.  Emily either got sick, or somehow was late, but whatever the cause – Emily missed the boat.  There would be no refund for the ticket, and the family’s thin gauze of hope dissolved in tears.  The family returned to their potatoes and cried.  It hardly seemed a time for gratitude.

The next time I don’t like what’s happening (and it will be soon), perhaps I’ll pause just a second before reacting.  In the long view, life rarely looks as bad as in a troubled moment.  That was especially true for Emily’s family.  Because just off the coast of Ireland, the Lusitania sank.

Whatever we grieve, miss, wish for or hurt over — the story’s not over yet.  And just think of all the good times we would have missed with Grandma Emily. Not to mention that my husband would have been someone else!  As Alphonse Karr said, “I am grateful that thorns have roses.”

Or maybe I’d just prefer to be grumpy.  LOL@wltribune.com.

Rita Corbett is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The red rock garden in Williams Lake was filled with new rocks in recognition of the National Day of Awareness of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Red rocks left as reminder of missing and murdered local women in Williams Lake

May 5 marked the National Day for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
57 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

Thirty people in the region are in hospital, 16 of whom are in intensive care

Kari, a 12-year-old Belted Galloway, produced triplets Wednesday, April 27. Mother and babies are doing fine. (Kelly Sinoski photo -100 Mile Free Press).
Holy cow: triplets born in 100 Mile House

Linda and Don Savjord witnessed a rare experience last week at Bridge Creek Ranch.

Fireman’s Fairways between Chimney and Felker lakes is slated to open soon, following a clean up work bee this Sunday, May 9 starting at 10 a.m. (Photo submitted)
Cleanup slated for Sunday, May 9 at Fireman’s Fairways Golf Course

Fireman’s Fairway is an 11-hole, par 3 course, opened in 1994

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The White House says it is making plans to share up to 60 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

The total number of cases in the region is now at 11,075 since the pandemic began

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read