We Won!

Wednesday night you will generally find us down at the pub having a bite of dinner and enjoying a little friendly competition with the folks who turn up for Quiz Night. I have written about this before on my old blog here and mentioned it in a few other places as well.

John and I tend to be somewhere in the middle of the teams and don’t often move too far up or down in the rankings from week to week. There are some brainy groups who always seem to win or at least finish in the top three, but it’s rarely been us. Well, once we did finish first, but we were part of a team of six instead of our usual two so while it was fun, it didn’t feel as sweet as it did last night.

I have to say here that I always feel a bit of pressure when there is what people in the pub would refer to as an ” American” question. Last night, we played with Jean and Robert who were also at the pasty making competition. They always do well and frequently win or come in second so we had a much better chance right from the beginning than we normally do.

It was a killer quiz and seemed much more difficult than usual and I struggled as I often do to come up with the answers to questions I think of as ” British” questions. One example of this might be a rugby question about a famous player from 1970. Now there is no way I am going to get a question like that one right, but the pressure is always on when it’s about something related to American trivia.

Last night’s combination of Jean, Robert, and John left little for me to do much of the time as they were usually whispering the answers to each other while I was still digesting the question. In fact, there were only two questions I answered that my teammates needed help on and while I knew a few others, they were the type most of us would know.

I am often teased here in a good-naturedly way about my competitiveness which I prefer to laughingly call enthusiasm. One example of my “Enthusiastic nature ” might be the difference in how I react when the answers are read at the end of the quiz. In a room full of people who at most give off a soft murmuring sound when they’ve found they have answered a tough question correctly, my loud ” YES! ” coming out of the corner tends to draw a bit of attention.

Last night, there were two questions like this for us, questions that I answered that no one on our team could answer. I can’t remember them both, but the one that stands out was, ” What was Nancy Reagan’s maiden name ?”  It seems easy until everyone looks at you for the answer since it’s an American question and for a few minutes I was blank only remembering it when I thought of her daughter Patti Davis who used her mother’s maiden name after disagreeing with her father’s politics.

After we placed first, I was excited, but felt like it was more their victory than mine as I had only known two answers that they couldn’t get on their own. This morning though I can see it a bit differently. While writing the details of last nights win, I just realized that the points difference last night between first and second place was … two questions.

This is the regular team of folks that Jean and Robert usually play with on quiz night. Robert and Jean are in the darker purple shirts at one end of the table with Helen and Jeff at the other. Karen is sitting in between Jean and Jeff and has moved back to Canada recently freeing up a spot on their team. Jeff and Helen couldn’t be there last night so we joined Jean and Robert to create the Anglo-American Alliance.

A Grateful Heart

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

~Thornton Wilder

On this day of American Thanksgiving I want to take a minute to say a few words. In a few hours I will sit down with some of my family and friends to share a meal. Sadly they won’t all be here, but rest assured I will be thinking of them as my step-mother Cullene offers a Thanksgiving blessing that while it varies slightly from year to year has a familiarity that is as constant as seeing her at the door to welcome me whenever I come home.

I try to live in a state of awareness and gratitude for the everyday gifts of love and friendship that I am fortunate to be able to claim as mine. These are infinitely more dear to me than anything in shiny paper and string and just as important as awareness is for me, so too is acknowledgement.

Most of the time I think I do a pretty good job of letting people know how grateful I am for the connections we share, but just in case….

I’m grateful for every minute I get to spend with my now grown up girl

… and for the love and respect of this man I adore.

I’m grateful for Cullene who mothers me like a child of her own.

I’m grateful for my sister Margaret who lives almost as far from our home state as I do …

… and my sister Jennie who prefers to stay a bit closer to her southern roots.

I’m grateful for a chance to say hello to family I had not seen for years and goodbye to a place that has a special history.

I am so fortunate to have the friends I do and I wish I had time to post a photograph of each and every one of you, but the turkey is almost ready and people will be coming through the door in a minute so I need to say ….

I’m so very grateful for those of you who take time to stop by GOTJ and especially those who leave a comment or two because that’s how the circle grows … increasing my good fortune and my group of friends.