In a miserable year, thanksgiving with a small and capital T would seem to be the last thing on anyone’s mind (unless you’re our hostess with the mostest, Wares columnist Cami). And yet, we have found that gratitude – the subject of our November issue and the first of all virtues, according to the Roman statesman Cicero – is in inverse proportion to adversity. The more people suffer, the more grateful they seem to be. And that’s a good thing, say psychologists, who’ve been studying gratitude seriously since the beginning of this century. They’ve found that people who are grateful for what they have are healthier and more content. (See our opening essay.)
In this issue, you’ll meet people who are grateful for their circumstances as well as organizations we’re grateful for. David Standridge of The Shipwright’s Daughter in Mystic (Phil’s cover story) is a Michelin-starred chef who is grateful to find a wonderful, challenging new gig outside New York City. But this isn’t about dumping on New York City, a heroic, glamorous place – one of the greatest megacities in history – that has weathered revolution, bombings, burnings, riots, depressions and numerous plagues. Indeed, while Standridge was looking for a change to a suburban environment, others are trickling back to the Big Apple; taking advantage of better deals like the life science industry; or have never left. (See Jeremy’s stories on philanthropic New York City hotels and equally charitable chefs Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster.)
In November WAG, we’re grateful for businesses and people like these and for nonprofits like Yonkers’ Greyston Foundation (Jeremy again) and the YWCA of White Plains & Central Westchester, which fight for justice for all. We’re thankful for Connections Mentoring, which hasn’t forgotten at-risk youth in the metro area, particularly at The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, who are vulnerable to falling through the cracks in hard times. We’re grateful for doctors like Sherlita and Robert Amler who are respectively on the frontlines of the war against the coronavirus and training new doctors for the fight of our lives. And we’re thankful for organizations like the Lymphoma Research Foundation, which remind us that we mustn’t neglect other diseases that can trip people up at this time without proper treatments and research.
We’re grateful for our beloved Waggers, who each month not only respond to the challenges of our themes but balance serious issues with more light-hearted fare. Debbi heads to Miraval Berskshires Resort & Spa while adding another great item to our What’s Trending column. Barbara goes skinny-dipping and snorkeling among some unusual sea sculptures in Grenada. Katie offers a cornucopia of treasures, some of which might be hiding in your own homes. Rajni serves up a lentil curry perfect for fall weather. And Doug explores why Champagne is eternal.
We’re thankful for the words of wisdom they report and impart – Gio on the need for balance in life; Phil on the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the virtue of patience, a tested quality in tough times; Gregg on novelist David Leavitt and the importance of the tangible in our ephemeral, wired age; and new Wagger Richard Cross on tips for handling your newly adopted dog, a big trend in the coronavirus era. We’re thankful as well for our readers, subscribers and advertisers, particularly those who bring us such provocative stories and grace our Wits’ page. (See Fatime’s compilation.)
But we’re also grateful to the people, places and things we’ve lost this year. While we’ll never forget lost loved ones, there are those who hold we must let go of material things that we no longer have – everything from a job and a home to a ring that had sentimental value. And yet, we cannot let go until we acknowledge that loss, its meaning for our lives and the suffering it has caused. Only then can we be free.
So in this year like no other, we are grateful to all that we have lost – and for all that remains.
A 2020 YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Visionary Award winner and a 2018 Folio Women in Media Award Winner, Georgette Gouveia is the author of “Burying the Dead,” “Daimon: A Novel of Alexander the Great” and “Seamless Sky” (JMS Books), as well as “The Penalty for Holding,” a 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist (JMS Books), and “Water Music” (Greenleaf Book Group). They’re part of her series of novels, “The Games Men Play,” also the name of the sports/culture blog she writes.
Her short story “The Glass Door,” about love in the time of the coronavirus, was recently published by JMS. Read WAG’s serialization of “Seamless Sky”. For more, visit thegamesmenplay.com.