By Susan B. Richardson, Kendal at Granville Resident —
Thanksgiving is fast approaching with all the shopping and table-setting, roasting and baking in preparation for the Thanksgiving meal, along with the happy anticipation of gathering family and friends around that table. It is eminently a time for giving thanks.
However, it also seems to be true that as one grows older, gratitude becomes more and more a conscious habit. I regularly find myself beginning the day—or ending the day— by reviewing all the good fortune that characterizes my life. It is true that I am also aware of the grave dangers and appalling suffering in the world at large, yet, even as the stark difference between my experience and the experience of so many others instills feelings of unease and guilt, it also heightens my sense of my great and unearned good luck.
Heading my gratitude list is a loving family and a band of dear friends, near and far. At a recent book event where readers were able to chat with the beloved author Alexander McCall Smith, McCall Smith learned that a local fan had invited a friend from out of town (whom she had not seen for 20 years when they were grade school friends) to join her at the event. The author noted the unique value of longtime friends and even suggested that after a certain age, it was not likely for people to form deep friendships. I agreed with the first but not the second idea, and I offered as evidence the strong and affirming friendships that can form when people join a retirement community, and, in fact, introduced the friend who had accompanied me to the book event as evidence.
My husband and I moved to Kendal at Granville, somewhat reluctantly, at the point when his medical needs had increased and we needed the kind of support that the community offered. Rather to my surprise and certainly to my pleasure, we then discovered—through dinner conversations, joint committee work and shared activities and entertainments—a whole new circle of interesting people who, over a relatively short time, became good, new friends. Indeed, the strong Kendal culture of welcome and affirmation fosters this formation of friendship.
And so, I also regularly give thanks for my great good luck in settling in this place. Not only for the surrounding village of Granville, a charming Brigadoon-like place where people walk and neighbors care, where a college provides stimulation and education, but also for the pampering comfort and reassuring safety of Kendal at Granville, where also resides a community of near and dear friends.