12 little stories about gratitude


We asked Times readers to tell us what they were grateful for this year, in less than 100 words – a storytelling style made popular by The Times’ Tiny Love Stories. We received nearly 1,500 entries covering everything from great moments of gratitude, such as a life-saving medicine or the birth of a child, to the joys of the mundane, such as ice cream and exercise.

Here are a few of the responses we received:

Spaghetti Pie and laughter

Halfway through a five-year goodbye with my father, I forgot what his laugh sounded like. After his death a few months ago, my siblings and I recovered three treasures. Gifts, really: a recipe card for Spaghetti Pie, an experimental dinner he once made for us that was as disgusting as it sounds; a picture of him dressed as a turkey, something he did most Thanksgivings to embarrass us; and mock infomercials he recorded ten years before he fell ill. In the video bloopers, I heard his laugh again – a hoarse “pah” like mine.

Carrie Friedman, 45, Los Angeles

A neighbour

Your ‘hello’ waves, your bouncy gait as you mow our lawn since it’s right next to yours. Your spicy chicken curry when our third was born. Your ‘stop!’ when my son’s green ball rolled into the street and I wasn’t there. Your giant trampoline filled with feet from every house. You “send the kids” so I could drink coffee in silence. Passing the dinosaur costume you made, a pink dress, puzzles. How you thought of me, cared for me and my family in this disconnected world.

Jenna Jonathan, 34, Grand Rapids, Michigan

The friendliness of the cashier

I work from home and take a break twice a week to walk to the market. I talk to Mirella, the cashier, as she calls my purchases. I ask about her grandson. She asks about my children, whom she has watched grow from pram to college. This year, we’re checking in on her sister and my mom, who both have Alzheimer’s. The relentless disease robs us both, and as part-time caregivers, the sad weight of it all can be a lot. But twice a week someone I’ve never seen outside the market checks in with me and I’m grateful.

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Emily Franklin, 50, Boston

‘Swordfish trombones. Interested?’

A small record store opened up in our small town in Northern California. I am a vinyl junkie and became an instant regular. Now one of the owners knows my tastes so well that he randomly texts me, “Mule variations and swordfish trombones.” Interested?” I am a round the clock caregiver for my disabled husband. The owners hold the LPs for me until I can get in. Their shop is a bright spot of promise and nostalgia in a life that can be sad.

Annalisa McMorrow, 53, Point Reyes Station, California.

A new life

Three years of heartache.

Nine months of hopeful concern.

And now elation.

Astrid is finally here!

Madelaine Driskill, 34, Colorado Springs

The miracle of medicine

I saw his wet eyes. He was terrified. “Can I make it, doctor?” he asked, as many had done before. He had AIDS and Covid-19, the two illnesses that marked my career, and monkeypox, the new one that brought back the fear and stigma of the 1990s. I remembered a time not long ago when I had little to offer but my sympathy…not now, not anymore. I gave him antiretrovirals, a monoclonal antibody and, after a call to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TPOXX and cidofovir. I am thankful that I was able to answer, “Yes, I think so.”

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Pablo Tebas, 61, Philadelphia

‘Too tight football pants’

We gather at the field around 7:30am, plenty of time to apply wraps, balms and braces and roll out tired limbs. Our bellies, stuffed in our favorite England football jerseys, hang over the elastic of our shorts. The game begins and the thump, thump of the foot on the ball is interrupted by the usual insults: “The target is over there, Mike.” For an hour everything is forgotten: last night’s shouting match with the wife, the dwindling bank balance, the polite rejection at work. We are together and playing a game that we love. I am thankful for old men in football shorts that are too tight.

Barak Goodman, 59, Brooklyn, NY

Aerobic laugh

I’m armpit-deep in a pool with 50 other water-aerobic women of a certain age, kicking as high as I can while pumping my water weights down and as far as they can go. “It’s harder,” the leader yells. “Higher.” We shout and obey. Our group of women faithfully stomps, kicks, punches and jumps because we love it here. We love and support each other. We’ve seen the dark side of life and are here to live and laugh and even move. There is no fat shame here. I am very grateful for all of them.

Barbara Hart, 77, Cincinnati

‘An honest repairman’

It’s been a rough week and I was exhausted driving home from the airport. Suddenly the engine just cut off. I came to a stop on the shoulder of a busy highway. I called a tow truck and my car ended up at a nearby repair shop. This was going to be expensive. I called a taxi and came home. The next morning the repair shop called and said the bill was $10. What? Turns out I was out of gas, not broke. He could have charged me anything, but I found an honest repairman.

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John Parker, 69, Pawleys Island, SC

Short and sweet

I am thankful for my family and ice cream.

Noah Pasco, 6, New York City

Coincidence or a spiritual visit?

The day after you died in May, a mourning dove first started visiting my backyard. He often appeared after I sat at the wooden table, perched on a nearby branch as his small, feathered body quivered in a series of coos. I jokingly called him TJ – a reverse of your name – and whether by chance (as you would have claimed), or a spiritual visitation (as my mystical mother suggested), he stayed for several weeks. Talking to him filled me with gratitude and reminded me that you live on: in me and everyone who loves you.

Natalie Jabbar, 36, Bay Area of ​​California

‘Love and perseverance’

Our 25th wedding anniversary. We are lesbians. When we met in Portland, Maine, in 1994, we were both activists. Lesbians and gay men were just beginning to challenge marriage laws. We bought the first book on planning a same-sex wedding. On October 4, 1997, we got together with 75 friends and got married. It was not legally recognized. But nothing could stop us. For 15 years we traveled to every state or country that would give us a legal document recognizing us as a couple. Ontario was our first legal marriage; then New York State and finally the United States. Love and perseverance.

M. Eve Elzenga, 69, Rochester, NY

The post 12 Little Stories About Gratitude appeared first on New York Times.


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