When our granddaughter Kiele was in pre-school, her teacher taught the class a wonderful grace to say before meals. It is:

Thank you, God, for happy hearts

And rain and sunny weather.

Thank you for the food we eat

And that we are together. Amen.

Our family has said this grace for many years now. Kiele is now a sophomore in high school. Her two younger brothers have learned the poem and we all hold hands while we recite it.

Giving thanks can be a simple thing. All it requires is a deep-felt need to express your gratitude. No matter how you say it, a thankful prayer recited by a family around the dinner table is strong evidence of togetherness and love.

In this season of giving thanks, I want to enumerate the many blessings that have been bestowed on me. I give thanks for…….

*Not having to live through a bad hurricane after two years of living in Florida.

*Having a solidly built home, plenty of heat and air conditioning, and a safe, friendly community.

*Fairly good eyesight that allows me to read, do Sudoku and crossword puzzles, write on the computer, and drive a car.

*My friends from PA and SC who continue to be a big part of my life even though we have miles between us.

*My ancestors who bequeathed me such a wonderful heritage - both Italian and Scotch-Irish.

*Our neighbors here in On Top of the World who share their daily lives with us, play games, enjoy activities, keep their properties in top-notch condition, and have a wry sense of humor about living in an "adult" community.

*My recipe collection of classics from my family, Jim's family, and friends and relatives who know how much I love to cook.

*Decent health - so that I can enjoy travel, activities, and the everyday stresses of life.

*And, last but not least, my family - for tolerating an aged Taurean who can be a pain in the butt now and then. My excellent husband deserves a medal - for being the MacGyver of our household, his caring treatment of our elderly neighbors, his practical wisdom, and his realistic attitude about life. He is my rock, my best friend, and the greatest guy I know.

*Daughter Jennifer and her family - for keeping us on our toes. They bring much love and laughter into our lives. We moved to Florida to be closer to them and we are never sorry about that.

*And, to our other family members, whether close or alienated - a thankful prayer that you are happy, healthy, and productive. Sending love to y'all.

Life is too fragile and too short. So, I hereby give thanks for every single second I breathe. Hope there are many more to come.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.