Senior Corner: Gratitude in all its guises & hues
Senior Corner

Senior Corner: Gratitude in all its guises & hues


Hi, come on in. Let’s get comfy and talk about “feel-good stuff.”

I’m going to steal a word from the wonderful meditation teacher, Dr. James K. Keolker. By the way, a word about Dr. Keolker — he just recently did a series of meditation classes at Rianda House in St. Helena, and will be offering a couple of sessions soon. I highly recommend him.

One of the many classes I’ve attended, Dr. Keolker suggested we think about the word “gratitude,” and what it means to us. It’s such a beautiful word, and it’s been on my mind ever since my class with Dr. Keolker.

So, let’s think about the word, what it means, and who or what we feel gratitude toward.

Thinking of the word, gratitude, I think of my husband, Tom, who died more than 29 years ago, but we still “hang-out” once in a while. We chat about the children and how proud we are of them. Occasionally, on a rare day when I’m feeling blue, I’ll get an imaginary nudge from him, getting me back on a better track.

Tom taught the children and me much about gratitude — being grateful for the kindness in people; to never knowingly hurt someone with a word of a deed; to always do your share, or more, of the task at hand. To work together, and that no one has a free ride in life, always do, at least, your share. Be a “giver,” never a “taker.”

He was truly a lovely man, and, of course, his wonderful personality, his “giving” nature, and his sense of fun live on in our children, their children and their children’s children.

I also feel gratitude for my sweet and kind brother, Norm, his wife, Sue and their kind and generous sons, Dan and Jim. As well as my dear friends, all of whom possess the traits I so love: generosity, kindness, compassion, and a great sense of humor.

A bit more about husband, Tom. He served during WWII in the Navy as a Coxswain, transporting soldiers from ship to shore. He served two-and-a-half years, discharged Dec. 28, 1945. He would never speak of the war. We met a few years later, for which I am very grateful.

I feel gratitude for the various organizations that I belong to. It’s such fun becoming part of the community and working towards helping make a difference in seniors’ lives, for instance.

Along the way, you meet some very lovely people, many of whom become good friends.

I strongly recommend signing up for one of our county advisory committees, commissions or boards. Just check with the County Clerk of the board. Also, there are so many organizations that would love for you to volunteer. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to offer your services.

Before we say goodbye, I’d like to share one more of my feelings of gratitude, which goes to “my boss” Sasha Paulsen, features editor, and Sean Scully, editor of the Napa Valley Register for the privilege of writing our Senior Corner. You make us feel good about being the senior generation, and that our discussions may be helpful for our county seniors.

As always, I’ve enjoyed our time together. Why not jot down a few things that you are grateful for? Until next time, do something loving and kind for someone you care about.

Betty Rhodes is active on the Napa County Commission on Aging, as well as the Senior Advisory Commission. Reach her at


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Betty Rhodes is thankful for so many things at the end of 2019 and is looking forward to 2020, including having more fun, experimenting with new ideas and taking advantage of great programs and activities at the Napa Senior Center.

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