Was worried that it might have been my last Thanksgiving


2023 has been an interesting year for me so far. The first six months were rough, health-wise.

I had some scary COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) flair-ups, one of which landed me in the hospital for a week. This was after a lung cancer diagnosis, which was followed by radiation treatments. Luckily for me, the radiation treatment was followed by a clean bill of health.

Going through something like this makes you take a good hard look at your life and poses some interesting questions… like why did I beat The Big C when so many others did not?

I don’t have an answer for that, but I will be eternally grateful to those healers who brought me through this trying time. I am grateful for all the prayers that were offered, the friends who checked up on me and my family who carted me to appointments, scans, treatments and tests.

I am grateful to the readers of this column who took the time to offer comments and sent emails to let me know they liked what I wrote about and for those who offered suggestions for other subjects.

I am grateful for the beauty I see when I look outside my windows. The trees, which are some of the most beautiful and unusual I have ever seen, the flowers that bloom in spite of me, and the squirrels that continue to me make me smile with their antics.

It might seem silly to some, but I am grateful to my car. Not just for my car but to my car, and I tell it so, often. I bought it new in 2006 in Dallas, Texas, and it has taken me everywhere I wanted to go since then. Together we traversed the great state of Texas for five years from one end to the other.

Then we moved to California, where it got to rest quite a bit.

Next came the months we spent in Eugene Oregon, and finally we traveled to Olympia in 2018.

During our many trips together, she has never failed me. I bought her tires and a battery or two, changed her oil and other fluids, and filled her with gas once a month and she takes me everywhere I want to go.

Another of my daughters joined us here about a year ago. She shares my sense of humor, which means we spend a lot of time laughing. The daughter I moved to Washington with, spends a lot more time rolling her eyes. I suspect she often goes into the other room to giggle outside of our earshot… not wanting to encourage us any further.

I am grateful for my son-in-law, who patiently puts together everything I buy that comes in pieces.

I am grateful for the enjoyment brought my way by Bella Rose, the smartest dog in my world.  How smart is she, you may ask? Well, last month I had her spayed after which she came home with The Cone of Shame.

Bella’s safe place is her crate and she struggled to get in with the cone in place. After she got in, she refused to come out. So, I finally removed the cone so she could go outside to do her business.

Unfortunately, when I did this, I broke the attachment for her collar. So I bought her the blow-up ring that attached to her collar and would bend when she went through her crate or doggie door.

She hated this also. After the second day, she went outside with it on and came inside without it. She also had removed her collar to which it had been attached. This blow-up ring was royal blue…the yard is completely fenced… it should have been an easy task to find it.

It is still missing a month later and I have decided she must have buried it. Happily, she healed without any problems since this is also the dog that won’t move if she has been attached to a leash, so trips to the vet are a real chore. Good thing she is so darn smart.

The “Littles” as I refer to my great-grands, are a never-ending source of joy. Their amazement at everything that comes their way is contagious. I am grateful that two-year-old Willow came through his recent eye surgery like the warrior he is and his five-year-old sister, Prairie, is so patient with him. Most of all I am grateful for the time I have to enjoy them.

I wasn’t sure last spring if I would be spending this Thanksgiving with my family and for that, I am the most grateful of all.

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below.


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  • Drutty

    Delighted to hear that you weathered the medical traumas and won the war! It is not a road we would chose but sometimes have to. Know that you touch many with your articles. Take care.

    Friday, November 24, 2023 Report this

  • JKRector

    I'm thankful for your column Kathleen... thank you for sharing your heart with us.

    Friday, November 24, 2023 Report this