We all take things for granted, some more than others.

And those things we take for granted are more for some people than others and the list of those items varies with whoever is doing the granted part.

And, it has come to my mind, that it’s easy not to be grateful or express gratefulness for those things. We think that being grateful is understood or assumed.

The list of things that we take for granted does vary. I am relatively certain that there isn’t a lot of disagreement about the sun rising in the east and setting in the west as one of those things that happens daily. Most of us take for granted that the tides come in and go out, the moon rises and sets on a schedule that varies month to month, and that the earth is not flat, although there is disagreement on that issue.

Generally, we know that there are two things that are inevitable: Death and taxes. We don’t know when death will come but we know the tax form deadline is April 15 each and every year, with an exception or two on the date depending on the calendar.

Because it is 2020, there are dozens or maybe hundreds of things that we can take for granted that our forepeople certainly couldn’t or maybe even dreamt were possible. We flip a switch and the lights come on or turn off. We open a faucet and there’s cold or hot water that comes out of the tap. We change our thermostats to vary the temperature up or down and our houses are warmer or cooler.

We use our phones (landline and cell) to communicate with people all over the world. We still call it dialing but there aren’t a lot of phones left out there in the world that the rotary dial is still the one and only way to connect with someone. We still call it winding up the car window when most of us push a button and the window goes up or goes down.

We take for granted that all those things just work. And we don’t think about it until one day or one minute, there’s a boom and the power goes out or we turn the key (or push the button) and the car battery fails to fire up and nothing works. We call OPU or AAA and like magic, the broken is fixed.

We’re Minnesotans so we believe that people are nice. When someone isn’t so nice, gives us the one finger salute, exceeds their turn at a four-way stop, uses words that our mothers wouldn’t like when we tell a driver that a headlight is out, it’s a shock and a surprise. We take for granted that being nice and kind is part of the way of the world.

Unfortunately, it’s not. And, dear readers three, it’s getting worse. Politicians of every ilk do not provide a good example. And it’s not just politicians; this group is just an example. Today’s educators face some students who show little or no respect and whose terrible behavior is not rectified or addressed.

I digress.

It’s easy enough to take good health for granted, unless you don’t enjoy good health. It’s easy enough to think that there are solutions out there for troubles that befall us. It’s easy enough to think and really believe that if we just try harder, we can fix problems and have success.

And it’s easy not to take the time to thank people for all the good things that they do.

February is full of celebrations. One of the most notable is coming up on Monday, Feb. 17. It’s Random Act of Kindness Day, an observation that is worthy of being celebrated each and every day of the year.

I have many thanks to offer for deliberate acts of kindness shown to me in the past month. I have been recovering from surgery, having had my left knee replaced at the Owatonna Hospital by a talented Mayo Clinic surgeon, Dr. Perkinson and his assistant, Valerie Peterson, along with the whole team of medical folks who cared for me before, during and after the procedure. All the caregivers were outstandingly kind.

And so were my friends, neighbors, my brother, Ted , and other family members, PEO sisters, and others who prayed for me, delivered food, sent cards, wrote notes, called, shoveled, vacuumed, visited and kept me on the recovery path. I was blessed with a team of Allina home health workers who were a tremendous service.

I pledge not to take such kindnesses for granted. Join with me on Feb. 17 to show your kindness and thank people who you know – and even those you don’t know -- who are kind and thoughtful.

Love wins.

Jan Mittelstadt Tippett is a retired newspaper editor and publisher. She can be reached at jtippett@midco.net.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at jjackson@owatonna.com

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