My spare room rehabilitation project moves very slowly, but I have the conviction, as yet unaided by evidence, that it is moving. I watched "The Wizard of Oz" last night, which I still rate among my five favorite movies. Although I will work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I consider Thanksgiving week among my favorites, as the three days before the day itself always seem productive and almost cheerful.
When I was a young lawyer, our firm had the old-fashioned kind of voice mail. Everyone dialed in to pick up messages, and the voice mail could only be used "in house". Messages tended to be practical, fairly upbeat, "need to do this" or "didn't get a chance to tell you this" or "need to report to you on this" messages. One could also use the system to send messages to the entire firm or to all the partners. These messages were usually upbeat recitals of good things in the firm. I also remember, though, the one about how the powers that be "need to tell all of you why we're changing the bonus structure completely in mid-stream because we've been so successful and a few of us deserve more of the credit", although I no longer remember how much that particular charming greeting cost me, other than to remember it was a material sum of money.
But my most vivid memory of this outmoded technology voice mail was the annual Thanksgiving greeting. Our senior partner would leave a long message to all the attorneys and paralegals in the firm, talking about how much we all have to be thankful for each year. I had the good fortune to work in a successful firm with largely good people. The message he left each Thanksgiving was a reminder that sometimes it's good to pause, and just be thankful. It was anything but maudlin--just the simple affirmation that it's good to pause, and to appreciate. I've got fond memories of picking that greeting up each Thanksgiving for a few years running, each time a little different in wording, each time a heartfelt pause from the litigation wars.
Now our firm is but four attorneys, and we can give our greetings by walking down the hall, rather than sending a voice mail among five offices. But the inward gesture is still important. I'll remember this year to pause, and to be thankful.