** Knowing that I can still make my 94-year-old mother – who resides in an independent senior community 75 miles away – laugh during a phone call.
** Watching my bright, handsome, 20-year-old son talk – from the far-end of my socially-distanced dining room table – and realizing that we share an empathetic perspective on life and a quirky sense of humor.
** Being reminded almost every day – through emails and occasional phone calls – that my identical twin brother, David (“the smarter of the Giacalone boys”) – is a kindred spirit who loves and accepts me despite my flaws.
** Seeing the resilience and pride of the “essential workers” who continue keeping the wheels of everyday life turning.
** Having downstate New York friends who don’t complain when I send them one-too-many photos of ducks congregating along Cazenovia Creek while I’m on an early morning walk.
** Having Buffalo friends and allies who remind me that, as exasperating as it may be, fighting to make Buffalo City Hall comply with the letter and spirit of zoning, development and environmental laws is a worthwhile and essential endeavor.
** Seeing that at least one local State Supreme Court Justice is willing to let City Hall know that it is not above the law.
** Sensing that the Red Cross team really meant it when they expressed gratitude for donating a pint of my blood a few days ago.
** Remaining healthy and motivated enough to continue donating blood on a regular basis.
** While feeling isolated and rudderless in this divided country, having a Haudenosaunee friend tell me that I am an adopted member of the Tonawanda Seneca Nation.
** Having a casual acquaintance share her belief that “class can be defined by the goodness of the heart and mind, not by the pocketbook or club memberships!”
** Being reassured, by the November 2020 victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, that things will be better.
** The bittersweet feeling I experienced this morning when, reaching the final entry in Buffalo News columnist Sean Kirst’s year-end “memorable quotes” column, I read:
Dec. 26 – “If you saw him, he was a person to behold.” – Sharon Holley, a key official and educator at the Nash House Museum, at the death at 87 of George Arthur, a civil rights groundbreaker, former president of the Common Council and extraordinary champion of Buffalo.
With All Due Respect (and, Gratitude),