Tim Blagg

Plenty to be grateful for

How good fortune comes into play

Thankfulness is on everybody’s mind these days, what with Thanksgiving day passing and the Christmas and Hanukkah holidays coming up.

But we have to be careful when we wish for things to go our way, and then give thanks when they do.

Often, if we get OUR way, someone else doesn’t get theirs.

Sure, not every situation is a zero-sum game, but many are.

Take the small band of nuns that lived in a convent back in 1863 in Emmitsburg, Md.

One day, to their collective horror, they heard that Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Virginia was marching north, intent on laying waste to the fat, productive farms of Pennsylvania. The Rebels were stealing cows, burning barns and stuffing as much good food into their starving mouths as they could.

Confederate cavalry, under J.E.B. Stuart, was riding hard, scouting and pillaging.

So the nuns gathered and prayed, hard, asking that the coming horde be diverted.

To their relief, their prayers were answered. Hearing that a nearby town was bigger and had more goods to seize (including, some believe, badly needed shoes), the Rebels headed there — for Gettysburg.

Only one resident — Mary Virginia Wade — was killed as a result, but the town was leveled, and its citizens were faced for weeks with the task of helping to find and bury some of the more than 7,000 soldiers who were killed.

Did the nuns feel guilty? Or simply relieved?

Today, if we win the lottery, that means someone else didn’t.

But if we wish for health for ourselves and our family, that doesn’t mean another’s illness.

So I guess thankfulness means being grateful for good fortune, without wishing bad luck on others.

I can live with that and I certainly have plenty to be grateful for.

Six grandchildren, happy kids, a beautiful and talented wife, and a responsible job doing something that I love.

Who could ask for more?

Sure, there are some glitches, but why concentrate on them?

Overall, I’m sitting pretty ... and I hope you are, too.

Blagg has been Editor of The Recorder since 1986. He lives in Greenfield and is a military historian with an interest in local history. He can be reached at: tblagg@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 250.

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