Middle Gratitude, an essay by Bob O'Cape Cod at Spillwords.com

Middle Gratitude

Middle Gratitude

written by: Bob O’Cape Cod


I am thankful for the middle.

I try to live in the middle.

Fortunately, I now live in the middle between the two villages that I visit the most, South Dennis and Dennis Port.

The town of Dennis is in the middle of the Cape. It includes five distinct villages. Guess they couldn’t get along back then.

When I worked in Washington DC, I lived near the western edge of the circuitous beltway that circled the District.

The Beltway is almost equidistant from the White House at every point on that circumferential highway.

If you were to look at all the places that I worked at over the 35 years that I lived there, you would discover that the place where I put down roots before I knew where I was going to be working was right in the middle of all of those jobs.

Coincidence? Brilliance on my part? I prefer Karma. Probably because I picked jobs at places I could get to relatively painlessly.

If you’re mathematically inclined, you could calculate the distances to each of my jobs and multiply them by the amount of time I spent working those jobs.

You would discover that the weighted averages of my commutes showed me having picked the best place to have lived to minimize my commute career-wise a prior.

For which I was uber grateful, eh?

We are all an amalgam of opposing forces, right?

While there were a lot of forces keeping me in the middle most of my times, at other times I was often an outlier.

This gave me a perspective from both ends of the spectrum, the center of the circle and a point on the circumference, for which I was very grateful.

My favorite peripheral story is the time my training company in Basic Training was tear-gassed by our adorable and loving drill sergeant.

Most of the company fell to their knees with gassed tears in their eyes whereas the gaseous cloud missed me by my eye tooth as I was at the end of the back row of the company formation for the entire training cycle because my name was towards the end of the alphabet.

I stood there in wonder at the power of tear gas.

It surely made grown men cry…

I have always tried to stay in the middle of things that are important.

Many of my middle memories of the middle are more philosophical than real.

Many, too many years ago, I took the last grand photograph of my entire clan.

I set the tripod up and ran to join the group so that I would be in the picture.

As I was setting up the camera to go off on a time delay, I looked at my clan, and I realized that everybody there in my middle-aged mind radiated out from me.

I was the epi-center of my family circle!

It was not lost on me at that August moment on Cape Cod that none of my two dozen relatives in the picture would have that view of the group as a whole like the view that I had.

They would only see my photograph.

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