On Bein’ Thankful


Recently, I ran into a guy I hadn’t seen in five years. He ogled at my new scars (I call ’em epidermal ornamentation) and my jaunty stance of leanin’ on my lunar-lander walker-cane. He then mumbled some crap amounting to, “Oh, poor you! Aw, that’s awful! How horrible for you!”

You know the type. His 5-star dinner is ruined because Chez Henri’s is outta’ cherry-amaretto-walnut ice cream for dessert. And he’s one of those who thinks anybody who’s hit a coupla’ potholes on the road of life must, be crushed, miserable and moanin’ because he dang sure would be. Hey, I didn’t say he’s a friend; just some guy.

He’s also the sort who’s nonplussed when a guy like me smiles and says, “Nah; I’m doin’ great, and man, am I thankful! I’d count my blessings, but I can’t count that high.”

Here’s a kinda’ Connor CAT-scan slice: Sometimes when the Memsaab Helena is putting donkey-liniment on my back and feelin’ all those lumps, squiggles an’ knots which were not “original issue,” I can feel her hands tremble; chokin’ up; sometimes I feel the tears pattering. Then she’ll squeeze me gently and whisper, “Oh, thank God, John … Just thank God.” I know what she’s thankful for, and it ain’t the scars and broken bits.

And a warm sirocco of gratitude blows over me; faithful friends, a loving wife, great kids; worthwhile work and the feeling that I can still make my own way and contribute to the good; earning the food I eat and the air I breathe. Yeah, I’ve got tons to be thankful for, and no regrets.

Pass the turkey and a big slice a’ THANKS, please …

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7 thoughts on “On Bein’ Thankful

  1. Jason Hutton

    Mr Connor,

    Thanks for your service first of all and secondly for your articles, this one touched me especialy. I was with the 75th in the 90’s. I had been sitting around feeling the aches, pains and loss; your article gave me the nudge I was needing. You reminded me that the families of those we have lost have suffered far more than we who get to spend another day with our families. So thank you.

    Jason Hutton

    1. John Connor

      75th Rangers? Bravo, Jason! Yeah, I know all about those aches and pains, pal. When it’s at its worst, I try to remember the old Marine saying, “Pain is just fear leaving the body,” and I think, “Dang! I must be FEARLESS by now!”
      Thank you for YOUR service, Jason. Enjoy every little splash of sun, every fresh breath of air, and savor them as a toast to your fallen comrades.

  2. Glen Funkey

    Mr. Conner
    I also would like to thank you for your service and for the article. I never had the opportunity to serve since0 as a 10 year old I contdracted poliomyelitis. I have always tried to continue my life as normally as I could. Unable to play sports in high school and college I worked with the teams as a student trainer. Recieved education to doctoral level as a physical therapist and worked until the first of June this year and decided at age 73 it was time to rest. My post polio was progressively weakining me until the last 5 years at work were done on a scooter. It bothered me when people would not let me do things for myself or say things like “you poor thing, you must hurt all the time”. My usual answer to them was no, ‘I can do that’ or ‘I’m great and having a great day’. Your article was wonderful and should be taken to heart by all those who think they are helping by sympathizing.

    Keep writing

    Glen Funkey

    1. John Connor

      Glen, GUYS LIKE YOU ARE THE REASON I WRITE. I’ve gotta tell you about another amputee veteran I met a couple of years ago: Like you, he’s a never-surrender, never-say-die guy. I noticed a bumper sticker on his truck that summed up his character. It had a graphic of two lemons, one whole and one sliced, with text that’s a different twist on an old saying: “When Life Hands You Lemons – Hey! FREE LEMONS! COOL!” At that moment, it just struck me as hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing and he joined in until we were both bent over double with tears down our cheeks. Somehow I know if you had been there, you’d be laughing with us…

  3. just a grunt

    Mr. Conner,
    You are an insperation. theres never any doubt that your articles will lift the spirits and make me realize how much the world we live in has lost with the new generation. currently srving on active duty in the marine corps as a rifleman. wish we had more people like you leading the way. we all look forward to your next article, thanks for the strong words

  4. John Connor

    And thank YOU for your service, Marine, and pass my respect and regards along to your buddies. I don’t know if you have much contact with old-Corps Marines; veterans of WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, the March Up-country in Iraq in 2003, but I do, and I can tell you we all agree on this: Different wars, different conditions, different weapons and enemies, but our Marines today could have been our brothers at Tarawa and Iwo Jima; Inchon and the Frozen Chosin; Hue and the DMZ; clearing the trenches at Ad Diwaniyah or charging across the Baghdad Bridge under fire. You stand tall in good company. “No better friend, no worse enemy.”
    Semper Fidelis, Marine –

  5. brad hill

    First, thank you for your service! Second, thank you for your continued service by being one of the great writers. I recently was given a book by a fellow soldier. It explained alot about PTSD to me and i found it very helpfull. Just thought with your legions of followers you might know someone else who could find it useful.
    Janet j. Seahorn PH.D
    E. Anthony Seahorn MBA
    If your interested, i can give/send my copy to you at the magazine. Once again thank you.
    Brad Hill

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