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Posted by TerryS ( on October 10, 2000 at 14:20:23:


I understand that the late Dr. Fulton Oursler used to tell of an
old woman who took care of him when he was a child. Anna was a
former slave who, after emancipation, was hired by the family
for many years.

He remembered her sitting at the kitchen table, her hands folded
and her eyes gazing upward as she prayed, "Much obliged, Lord,
for my vittles." He asked her what vittles were and she replied
that they were food and drink. He told her that she would get
food and drink whether or not she gave thanks, and Anna said,
"Yes, we'll get our vittles, but it makes 'em taste better when
we're thankful."

She told him that an old preacher taught her, as a little girl,
to always look for things to be grateful for. So, as soon as she
awoke each morning, she asked herself, "What is the first thing I
can be grateful for today?" Sometimes the smell of early-morning
coffee perking in the kitchen found its way to her room. On those
mornings, the aroma prompted her to say, "Much obliged, Lord, for
the coffee. And much obliged, too, for the
smell of it!"

Young Fulton grew up and left home. One day he received a message
that Anna was dying. He returned home and found her in bed with
her hands folded over her white sheets, just as he had seen them
folded in prayer over her white apron at the kitchen table so
many times before.

He wondered what she could give thanks for at a time like this.
As if reading his mind, she opened her eyes and gazed at the
loving faces around her bed. Then, shutting her eyes again, she
said quietly, "Much obliged, Lord, for such fine friends."

Oursler was deeply influenced by Anna's uncanny ability to always
find something to be thankful for. This wise woman taught him a
vital secret that many people have never learned: she taught him
how to be happy.

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