Goldie gets Grateful: A Short Story of Thanks
This week’s remarkable thought is inspired by a story I wrote called, Goldie gets Grateful… take a beat, take a breath, and listen in or read it for yourself! Love, J
Goldie Gets Grateful
Traffic was a beast. The loop was at a standstill. Goldie drummed her fingers on the steering wheel, then rifled through the console of her Camry, looking for… anything. Half of a Cliff bar, an empty container of Altoids, and a licorice sucker. “Licorice sucker, who in their right mind…” She trailed off, recounting the fit her 2-year-old daughter had thrown, after too long at the pediatrician with the despicable reward of a licorice sucker. The fowl compensation clung to the felt lining of the console.
The growl of her stomach wasn’t persuasive enough to convince Goldie to pry the sucker from its landing. Nor was it strong enough to lure her to gnaw on the Cliff bar she’d found repugnant the last time she’d attempted to appease her appetite in traffic. “COME ON!” She bellowed at no one.
“I wish I was a Jedi.” Again, only herself to hear her.
The man in the car next to her stared at Goldie. Looking straight at him she said, “You don’t know me. I might be talking to myself OR I have someone on speakerphone. OR! There is some guy tied up in my backseat, and I am going to murder him, sautee his liver in butter and bury him in my backyard. That’s right mister. Keep your eyes on the road. Or pick your nose… gag.” She raised her voice, simply for effect, “We are trying to live in a society here.”
The car in front of her moved. Her heart skipped a beat. “Yes! We are moving!. No… we are not.” Goldie scrolled through her iPhone and hit the app to listen to the news. A loud argument filled the car, in spite of her wimpy sound system, the seats vibrated angry voices.
“If the Democrats would stop trying these ridiculous tactics!”
“How can you even say that? None of this would even be going on and funding would be in place for the needs of the people!”
“At the expense of the taxpayers, you cannot possibly convince me that if…”
She switched the chaos off and bantered with herself, “If you would just let me run the country, I would feed the masses your livers sauteed in butter and bury all of you in my backyard and make the work week Tuesday through Thursday.”
In her passenger-side mirror, she spied a black monster truck creeping up behind her on the shoulder and she began to spew, “Really? Are we to assume that the law doesn’t apply to you and your toxic masculinity?” By the time the oversize Ford F-150, on tractor tires no less, made it to her side view, all she could see was spiked hub caps and naked lady mud flaps.
“Oh my, I hate you! As president, I promise to make naked lady mud flaps illegal!”
The traffic crept an inch and Goldie sent a text to the babysitter, “stuck in traffic… hope to be there within the hour.” She glanced at her back seat and craved the little company that should already be buckled in her car seat and on her way home. “Sorry baby.” She whimpered into the silence. Guilt assaulted her.
She sent another text to her husband. “Stuck in traffic, can you go get the extra car seat from the house and go get our girl from the sitter?”
Her phone alerted, “I am stuck on the loop. It is a parking lot. What’s for dinner?”
She answered “Oh, something special. I am going to kill the guy tied up in my backseat and we are going to sautee his liver in butter. Grab some Chianti from the liquor store and a shovel.” But she deleted it. Traffic jams were no place for murder jokes.
She typed, “IDK, if we ever get off the loop I will grab the baby, you grab us dinner.”
He quickly replied, “Gotcha, paper sack ala greasy burgers it is.”
And guilt ravaged her again. She should have put something in the crockpot. Her stomach answered her ideal dinner wish with a loud rumble.
Left to stare at the bumper of a Lexus that wasn’t going anywhere Goldie felt her throat tighten. She didn’t want to cry, it is cliche to cry in traffic, but left alone with her thoughts for this long, culpability was the resounding gong for the day. A rushed morning, a baby that didn’t want to get out of her cozy bed and be whisked off to the sitter, the gossip fest at lunch, no time to work out, a half-hearted job on the Bristol account, nothing for dinner, late to pick up the baby… and now mascara laced tears dripping off her chin as she let guilt win and hopelessness flow.
“You are a wreck, Goldie. FOR THE LOVE!” She willed the traffic to move.
For whatever reason, this worked. “HA! I am the all-powerful Goldie!” she sniffled and slowly traffic began to creep forward.
She repeated herself, with a twinge of disgust and her signature snort… “All-powerful Goldie.”
And then from somewhere within her, she argued, “You are hardly all-powerful. You blew it today.” She hit her podcast app to drown out the icky self-talk.
A soothing voice filled the Camry. “What you resist persists, and what you practice you perfect. So what are you resisting and what are you practicing. If negativity is your focus this is what you will continue to experience. Practice gratitude in the midst of turbulence and you will find yourself in a constant state of harmony.” As her speed increased and her destination grew more plausible she listened intently. “Gratitude is the greatest of mood elevators. It is the emotion that cannot be argued with by the subconscious. When in a state of gratitude the subconscious believes that everything is just fine. In that space, the mind is alerted to more goodness, more opportunities, and more harmony from within yourself.”
Lost in the deep thought Goldie barely hit her brakes when traffic slammed back into standstill mode.
“DANG IT!” She barked.
Goldie contemplated calling her sister to complain. She grabbed at the Cliff bar from the console, but could not make herself take a bite. So, she fished on her phone for some twinge of social medic distraction, and then she succumbed to the still small voice, “Try it, Goldie, try gratitude.”
“Fine!” Who she was irritated with was not of relevance.
“I am grateful for my baby girl.”
“And, I am grateful for my husband… he is hilarious, and kind, and not hard to look at.”
“ Oh, I am grateful for my sister.”
“Let’s see, I am grateful my mother-in-law lives in Florida, and not next door to me.”
“I am grateful for…”
The list went on. Some of the things she listed were a stretch, and in most circles, they would have been deemed passive-aggressive at best, but they made her smile. A few times they cracked her up. Which is what she ended with, “I am grateful I crack myself up, laughter is good medicine.” Just as she pulled into the driveway of the sitter’s house.
And there she was.
Jet black curls, just like her daddy. Rosy cheeks and a sweet toddler pot belly. Her jade green eyes sparkled. No one has ever had a more beautiful child, and don’t even bother arguing, lest your liver be sauteed in butter and your corpse rot in a random backyard in West End Thurber.
Goldie’s heart gushed as she witnessed those darling dimples flash on the cherub face of her beloved baby girl. Her chubby baby fingers pointed at Goldie’s car and she clapped. Goldie could read the beautiful child’s lips as they curved in delight, “It’s mama! It’s mama!”
Goldie gasped with comfort, “Oh… and I am so grateful I am not the last mom at pickup today. I really do rock.”
Goldie would count this day as Grateful.
I would say poor Goldie, as I have felt the frustrations of daily life assault me on occasion. So, I have come to conclude, life is sometimes much like a licorice sucker clinging to the felt of an overheated Toyota. And I realize it might sound cliche. At first, I felt as though I were too smart to fool myself by listing all my blessings in an effort to appease my anxious soul. Still, on one occasion I recall most vividly, for fear of a full-blown panic attack, I gave the method a go.
I am thankful for my husband.
And, I am thankful for five of my six children.
I am thankful I will eventually be thankful for all six of my children.
Oh gosh, I am thankful for the roast in the crockpot.
Before long I was overcome with gratitude and recognized the calm of a subconscious that could not argue with the voice of grateful abundance. And so, this week’s quality question is pretty simple, but it has life-altering effects… What are you grateful for?
Like myself, and Goldie, some lemons might need to be turned into lemonade, but creativity is another way to engage the subconscious and change your mind about the world you are navigating.
Try it. Ask yourself, “What am I grateful for?”
Jesus be all over you! Love, J