All Bran

We had taken a Caribbean cruise with four other people, one of whom liked to draw cartoons. During our week at sea, he sketched each one in our group involved in a scene which amusingly caricatured some aspect of our personality or activities. One of these pictured the sumptuous midnight buffet. It showed long tables cascaded with floral arrangements, centered with two mermaid ice-sculptures flanking a roasted pig complete with apple-in-mouth. Artfully arranged down each side of the buffet stood silver bowls of shiny fruit; carved pineapple boats dotted with maraschino cherries; lovely hams, beef, and turkeys; large ornate trays laden with mounds of shrimp and crab; exquisite tortes, cheesecakes, and multi-layered, whipped cream-topped wonders; plus every other delicacy one could imagine.

In one corner of the cartoon stood my husband, Dick, knobby knees extending from running-shorts, exclaiming, "BUT I DON'T SEE ANY ALL-BRAN !! "

As I grumble about "another grey winter day," do I ever notice the interesting way the clouds hang at half-mast in front of Mt. Ashland, barely allowing its snow-capped peak to push through. . . and the way the frost paints intricate snowflakes on the windows. . . or the brilliant streaks of orange and red in the sky heralding the sunrise?

As I complain about rising health costs and bemoan politically-driven debates on Medicare, do I remember to feel thankful for the reassuring security promised me here in my Manor home?

As I look down my nose at an occasional small serving or slightly over-cooked pork roast, do I ever express wonder at how many tasty entrees and delicious desserts are prepared for me (and 900 or so others) every single day?

Since I'm active and healthy, am I filled with overwhelming gratitude and zest for living or does my stiff achey knee absorb my thoughts and give me an excuse to pout?

When someone on my committee sees only one way (and it's not my way) to do something, do I lament about stupid, hard-headed people, and forget about all the wonderful warmth and friendship offered to me daily in this hilltop community?