I have much to be thankful for this holiday season, but my gratitude has less to do with the health and well-being of my family and friends than it does with my own dumb luck.

On the coldest day so far this winter season, my car blew some kind of belt and had to be towed for repairs.

That was the bad news.

The good news? The car died in front of a cozy Starbucks, and I had a pair of lattes while waiting for the tow truck to arrive. One of the coffees was free because the Starbucks people felt sorry for me.

It happened in broad daylight, instead of the dark of night. Within walking distance of my house, instead of 200 miles away. In a parking lot, instead of along a highway. And no one was parked in front of me, so the tow truck had easy access to my crippled van.

And I was very grateful.

While trying to move my fully decorated Christmas tree — just a little to the left — it fell over like, well, like a tree.

That was the bad news.

The good news? Not a single ornament was broken in the fall, and I was able to wrestle the tree back to standing without much trouble at all.

And I was so-o-o-o grateful.

I am grateful for my son, but at holidays he tends to complain about the fussiness of the food I prepare. And I am grateful for my daughter, but frankly, that child is money walking out the door.

I am grateful for the friendship of my sisters, my neighbors and my co-workers, but I am suspicious of them all because I consider myself too much trouble to bother with, and I wonder about their motives.

I suppose I should be grateful for my health, but my hip has been hurting since April, and I don’t know whom to thank for that.

I have had to find other inspiration for gratitude, and dodging a bullet — whether with a car or a Christmas tree — will do nicely, thank you very much.

This is the time of year when we are admonished to catalog our good fortune and express our thanks to God or to each other. Or perhaps in a quiet acknowledgment spoken silently to ourselves. Face it, each of us has a pretty long list, no matter the hardships of the last year.

But that list is usually top-heavy with things like health, meaningful work and a roof over our heads. I am here to speak for the little gratitudes that seem to get lost in the shuffle.

Like waking up in the morning and having an inch of milk left in the jug — just enough for coffee.

Or walking out the door and NOT having a flat tire.

Or having your teenager decide to spend a Saturday night at home watching a movie while baking a box cake instead of running out the door with friends. (I know I’m grateful when that happens.)

There is something else you should know about my broken-down van and my falling-down Christmas tree.

My husband came to give me a ride home just as the tow truck driver left with my van. “I like rescuing you,” he said.

And he put a couple of bricks on the Christmas tree stand to keep it upright, never once mentioning that he had suggested such a precaution before the first ornament was hung.

I’d have to say, I am grateful to him. But I am also grateful for him.

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