Thinking of Thanking

Thinking of Thanking

December 17, 2015 – As children, our sense of holiday cheer is often limited due to a preoccupation with how we can personally and materially benefit from the season of goodwill.

Case in point: I never once sat on Santa’s lap to talk about what my brothers wanted for Christmas.

But sometimes children witness such simple expressions of thoughtfulness that so perfectly embody the spirit of the season that their lessons linger years after the wrapping paper is tossed into the fireplace and Glass Wax stencils become passe.

One cold, wintry morning when I was in elementary school, I remember eating breakfast in our kitchen that my mom always complained was too small for our family. Despite its small size, none of us ever woke up when breakfast wasn’t already underway and she wasn’t helping everyone get their day off to a good start.

My mom was a prototypical, vastly under-appreciated, mid-1960’s stay-at-home mom who took care of her family so well we didn’t even realize just how good our lives were. She made everything seem effortless. Worried about us incessantly but always made sure all her kids were well fed, groomed and properly clothed before each school day began.

Winters could be especially numbing in Canton, Ohio and on days when the gas forced air furnace didn’t seem to put out quite enough BTUs, an open oven door made the otherwise periodically drafty house more comfortable. My flannel pajamas helped but couldn’t fend off all the wintry chill that managed to make its way through the single pane windows of a solid brick house built long before the era of advanced energy efficiency.

On this particular December morning as I shivered my way through my bacon and eggs or oatmeal or whatever hot breakfast she thoughtfully made that morning, my mom suddenly looked out the back window having heard something that startled her.

“Oh no,” she gasped half to herself and half out loud. “Oh no!”

Something was wrong. I didn’t know what it was but it must have been something serious to cause her such distress. I knew that much.

Without warning, she made a mad dash to the closet, deftly grabbing her coat and her plaid scarf which she loosely tied around her head as fast as she could. She kicked off her slippers and plopped her bare feet into her faux fur-trimmed rubber boots and, grabbing something off the draining board as she left, bolted out of the back door with such abandon I thought maybe the garage was on fire.

As she ran down the driveway through snow that must have been a foot deep, arms flailing about and frantically shouting as if hailing a cab during a New York City rush hour and late for an appointment, I did my best to follow her movements to see if I could find out what was causing her such consternation. Making my way around to the dining room toward the front of the house, as I watched through the bay window, I sensed her anxiety abating once it became clear to me what all the commotion had been about.

She almost missed the garbage man.

She smiled and waved as she just barely managed to grab the attention of the bundled-up guy riding on the back of the truck before it moved on to the next house.

But she wasn’t trying to flag them down so desperately because she needed to pass along another bag of egg shells and coffee grounds.

She was afraid she’d miss giving the workers their Christmas gift, a personalized card into which she had placed a few dollars as a token of her appreciation for the dedicated work they performed all year long.

The garbage man.

Sadly, it never occurred to me that someone whose job it was to haul our garbage every week deserved a present. After all, Christmas was supposed to be about me getting presents.

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more genuine smile than the one that grew on that man’s face once he realized why my mom was waving so desperately to stop the truck. I couldn’t tell if he teared up or not but it was obvious this unexpected gift warmed his heart greatly as he joyfully waved back on behalf of the crew in reciprocal appreciation of her thoughtfulness.

When our lives get busy we often forget to thank those who matter and who make our lives so much better.

At our firm, we ALWAYS focus on our mission of helping those who need our help, ALWAYS pledge to do what’s right for the client and strive to ALWAYS express our appreciation for the opportunities they give us to be of service.

So to all the friends, claimants, attorneys, claims professionals, retirees-to-be, industry peers and business partners who continue to place their confidence in us and make our existence possible:



for the Opportunity to Be of Service



to You and Yours

We are humbled by your trust and forever grateful to you for reminding us why we’re here.

Have a terrific holiday and all best wishes for a prosperous 2016.

PS Even though I now live in Southern California where it doesn’t snow and garbage men are now called sanitation workers who pick up trash without leaving their vehicles, I always remember to pass along a token of appreciation to these and the other dedicated professionals who service our home in honor of my late mom and the lesson she didn’t even realize she taught me so many years ago.


3 Responses to “Thinking of Thanking”

  1. Janice Galleher says:

    Lovely story Dan.

    Have a Blessed Christmas. Hope you are in good health.

  2. Deb Johnson says:

    You have touched my heart Dan. God bless you and yours at this most precious time of year.

  3. Dave Roark says:

    Hi Dan:

    Very nice story. Your time growing up in Canton is mentioned relatively often, which is a testament to how great it must have been.

    Warm wishes to you and your family. Merry Christmas and may you enjoy a healthy, prosperous Happy New Year.

    Best, Dave

Finn Financial Group