Cappuccino at Speedway, etc.

I once overheard two doctors greet each other inside a hospital cafeteria. One of the doctors posed a common question that got an interesting response. He simply said, “How are you?” The other doctor replied, “OK, I guess, still able to take my meals upright.” I was stunned! I never knew that sitting up to eat was a criterion for health. This answer also brought tears to my eyes because my father was currently a patient at that hospital, and he was not only unable to take his meals upright, but he was days away from dying.

It is interesting to approach the topic of gratitude from the upright-eating-doctor’s point of view. What things can I do today that I might not be able to do in the future? Of course, the list is long – I can see, hear, smell, taste, speak, walk, etc.

It was probably the nearness of Thanksgiving that caused me to think about all of this on an early November road trip to my hometown. St. Louis is 360 miles from my current home in Cincinnati. From the moment I got in the car, I appreciated the facts that at age 65, I am still able to drive, and that my health permits me to travel alone. As six hours of travel passed, I found countless things to be grateful for and made a photographic gratitude journal documenting all that brought me joy.

Here it is now:

I am grateful for cappuccino at Speedway to start my day.


I am grateful (an hour later) for a much-needed restroom stop.


I am grateful for terrific oldies stations on Sirius XM to keep me company as I drive. (But have you ever paid attention to the lyrics of Mack the Knife? What’s that all about?!)


I am grateful for wonderful weather and gorgeous skies during my journey.


I am grateful for Arby’s fast food to fill my stomach quickly with minimal delay to my travels.


I am grateful for a safe arrival in St. Louis and for a nice “visit” with my beloved parents.


I am grateful for a stop at Jackman’s Fabrics, a store I loved when I made clothes as a teenager and that I love even more now that I am a quilt maker.


I am grateful for reaching my hotel so I can freshen up after a full day of driving.


I am grateful for dinner at a favorite hometown restaurant and for the childhood friend who will meet me here, and of course for the fact that we are able to take our meal upright.

A six-hour drive to St. Louis could be considered a pain in the rear or it could be viewed as a joyous journey. I chose to see the joy. My reward was that all these little things added up to a wonderful day and for that I am very grateful.


  1. Cindy Berge says:

    Hi Lorie. I had a similar look ahead last week when I celebrated by 70th Birthday. However, I could never express what I thought about as good as you can. Cindy

  2. Vera Long says:

    Re eating upright: Bill gets very upset when anyone eats standing up in the kitchen around the island and near the refrigerator. However, he often makes a joke about being grateful for being vertical when people ask how he is.

  3. Lisa Griebling says:

    So enjoyable to read this, M! Great job.

  4. Loie says:

    My sentiments exactly! Only you could express them so eloquently! Thanks for sharing your journey! As I stand here upright responding to you, I am thankful. xo

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Thanks for sharing, Loie! So far no one has commented on the lyrics to Mack the Knife. Whaddaya think about them???

  5. Great story of your solo journey. Gratefulness for the things we often take for granted. 😊👏🏻

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Thanks Didi! I am certain that many people are grateful for your beautiful artwork! I love seeing your creations on facebook!

  6. Sue says:

    I love this idea of a visual gratitude journal. You are so brilliant! Thanks for sharing your beautiful insightful thoughts! On Mack the Knife – sounds to me like it’s about a mass murderer! Think of all the times we sang along so cheerfully!

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Glad you like it! I am trying to sell a “highly visual” article to a quilt magazine! Regarding Mack the Knife, I loved singing along – Watch out old Mackie is back, indeed!!!!!

  7. Ellen Sullivan says:

    Really enjoyed this, Lorie! I take it from your Mack the Knife question that you aren’t familiar with Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. It’s a musical (so right up my Tin Pan Alley) based on a very old play The Beggar’s Opera. Mack (short for Macheath) is a charming villain and the lyrics detail some of the women he’s done wrong. It is a weird song standing alone.

  8. Sheryl Rothman says:

    I’m grateful for the memory a big orange harvest moon always brings … Steven and I laugh and think of Scott’s bar mitzvah!

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Hi Sheryl! I am happy to hear that you think of Scott’s bar mitzvah from time to time, but you’ll have to remind me about the big orange harvest moon!?

  9. Wayne Rosenthal says:

    Lori, that is a great Blog. You definitely know how to see the best in things. And it does sound like a fun trip.

    Incidentally, we may know each other. Don’t you have a brother named Don who graduated in 1968? I was in his class.

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Hi Wayne. Thanks so much for reading the blog. Glad you enjoyed it! It’s hard as a writer to put yourself “out there.” I have a couple of connections to the class of 1968, but not Don. My ex-husband graduated then, Stefan Eckert. And my brother also graduated then, Richard Kleiner. Did you know either of them?

  10. Stefan Eckert says:

    Lorie: Beautiful and great. Wonderful writing. The photos and descriptions made it feel like I was on the trip myself. Thank you.

  11. Rose says:

    A grateful spirit is one of the best tools for turning around a “down” day. I’m trying to cultivate more of that spirit in my life! Thanks for the reminder.

    • Lorie Kleiner Eckert says:

      Thanks for reading this and commenting, Rose. My latest mantra when things don’t go well is to remember that I am “Too blessed to be stressed.”

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