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  • Karl Thunemann

Karl's Keyboard #15

How the Gratitude Blogger Blew Thanksgiving

Wouldn’t you think that a self-proclaimed gratitude blogger would have the wits to wrap himself around Thanksgiving Day and make it his own? I would think so—yet owing to an elaborate unfolding of events I missed it.

You might think that because I generally post this Keyboard on Wednesday it would be a slam dunk to tell you some wonderful stories about Thanksgiving. But no—Thanksgiving was last week. I didn’t have a Keyboard scheduled then because a few weeks earlier I had become lost in time and space and skipped a week.

Over the years Faith and I have been involved in several Thanksgiving traditions. But with the pandemic alert on, we could not have guests or visit family. We couldn’t even join friends at our co-op for a traditional turkey dinner in the dining room, because COVID 19 has shut down that gathering place. However, we did order dinner delivered from the dining room, which we would consume alone. It was good. Faith thought the cranberry sauce was too sour, so I got two portions of that. A source of gratitude, but not exactly primary. I spent most of the day working on a new epistle, long in the works, called “Fueled by Unreasonable Expectations,” which begins with the statement, “I want too much.” It is no ode to gratitude, but it is featured today.

And then the next day, so-called Black Friday, there came real cause for celebration. My blog host informed me that I had a new subscriber. Not just anyone, but Mary Scriver, whom I regard as the Queen of the Blogosphere. Mary and I met in 1985, when she was called as the interim minister of the small Unitarian church I belonged to. I was about to phase myself out of organized religion, but I was intrigued. There was a vacancy on the board and I applied for it, which earned me the dubious chore of presiding two years later when the congregation decided to part company with Mary’s successor, our new permanent minister. I did not relish the job of hatchet man and did it badly, but I was the only one on the board willing to carry it out.

But this is not about firing people. It is about reviving a long-term friendship that has seen frequent interruptions. It was hard keeping in touch with Mary because she seemed so peripatetic. She became minister of the Unitarian Church in Saskatoon and adopted the sobriquet Prairie Mary, and it stuck. And she does love prairies, probably more than she loves writing. And does she write—one thousand words a day for various blogs she keeps up. She eventually made her way back to Browning, Montana, headquarters of the Blackfeet Nation and home of her former husband, renowned Western artist Bob Scriver. She was a teacher in Browning during her first stay, and though she has moved to a smaller nearby town, the prairie fuels her blogs. She has intense interest in Montana history, in arts and culture, reversing climate change, and myriad other subjects. She is formidably intelligent, and incredibly witty and direct.

Mary contacted me to let me know she was posting an article about Ley lines, and an anecdote I shared with her in 1986 about a man who had a vision of Ley lines—invisible but important connections between points on the Earth—while driving across Lake Washington on a floating bridge. Not surprisingly, I had no recollection of this story, but I didn’t doubt her. I had no idea what Ley lines were and had to look the term up. And then I thought—because I had just written a post about mala beads and the belief that 108 lines are believed to lead to the heart chakra—that this had somehow reached her already. But the article is just being posted today, and telepathy has never been part of our friendship. I hope her posts in this blog will be frequent.

We have exchanged numerous emails the past few days, which has given me remarkable insight into the workings of my mind under the condition of Mild Cognitive Impairment. When Mary mentioned 1985-86, it caused a large file of recollections to fall into perspective. I have never forgotten them, but I have trouble putting them in sequence. Giving this anchor point in the past, I could see where a dozen different threads in my life, how they met, wound together, and separated. Many of them are unhappy: recalling these prompts me to revisit sorrow and regret. But still, I feel gratitude for recovering these connections.

I look forward to sharing Mary’s posts with you. And next year, should this blog be still kicking—I will not overlook Thanksgiving Day.

Featured in this Keyboard

How Mala Beads Girdled My Globe. Working with mala beads has lately become my principal form of meditation. I have been astonished at the many ways they draw connections among many aspects of my spiritual life.

Fueled by Unrealistic Expectations. I struggle to dampen down my ambitions for this blog. I turn to my confidantes who help to constrain me.

Mary Strachan Scriver took her undergrad degree at NU in theatre. She taught on the Blackfeet Reservation through the Sixties and married a cowboy sculptor born there in 1914. In the Seventies she was the first female animal control officer in Portland, OR and designed an education program for later officers. Then she went back to grad school.

Her two master’s degrees came from Meadville/Lombard (Mdiv) and the U of Chicago Div School (MA in Religious Studies). After three years riding circuit in Montana, she had a fabulous year in Kirkland, WA, as an interim. The next two years were in Saskatoon, then she went back to the Blackfeet Rez, got thrown out, and went back to Portland to work as a “clerical specialist.” Her mother died of cancer and left her enough money for a little house in Valier, Montaña, where she built bookshelves and writes.

The Big Huzzah

As a blog, the Daily Meditation is essential. And this article by Paul Harrison—nine things you should know about meditation, reminds us—in a simple, straightforward fashion—how to approach this vast topic.

Til next time …

Remember to meditate! Express gratitude that Black Friday is over –if in fact it is!


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