Who is one person you can pause and be grateful for today?
For me, it’s Mrs. Lanka, the babysitter who looked after me when I was about 5 or 6.
Actually, the word babysitter doesn’t really do Mrs. Lanka justice. Because from her I learned all sorts of things — especially, the joy of simple pleasures, like puzzles, reading and baking.
But what I remember most about my days with Mrs. Lanka are our trips to the Bayard Cutting Arboretum on Long Island. I think it was there — seeing the expanse of the Great Lawn or climbing the knotted branches of the giant European Weeping Beech tree — that I fell in love with wandering and wondering.
Our absolute favorite thing to do was follow the River Walk along the Connetquot River. We’d meander down the labyrinthine paths past all manner of plants — stopping now and then to search out the metal tags that identified the plants and trees.
Eventually, we would end up on Breezy Island. There we’d unpack whatever treat Mrs. Lanka had packed – maybe a PBJ sandwich or some juicy oranges — and bask in the sun while ducks and geese floated by.
I can still taste those oranges.
And whenever I see cat o’ nine tails and beach grass, I say a little prayer of thanks to Mrs. Lanka.
Who do you need to thank today?