Maintain a Positive Attitude and Count Your Blessings

So often we are caught up in our work or daily routines and rarely get the chance to reflect on how we got to where we are today.

How much do we really know about our families and our parents? Time passes quickly, so generally we know very little. For instance, I knew when I was young that my father had been shot up in World War II. He was one of the first wave of U.S. Marines to hit Iwo Jima. I knew he had been hit five times. But it wasn’t until he passed away in 2007 that the family gathered around the kitchen table and while reading some old newspaper clippings I learned that he was hit five times in the SAME DAY!

He lay motionless on the battlefield until a Navy corpsman saw him lying there and kicked him. Dad groaned and he was picked up. Dad took a bullet through his back and out his chest and another went through his helmet and grazed his forehead. He had shrapnel in his body and couldn’t lift his left arm higher than shoulder height. He had throat cancer when I was an infant and later had prostate cancer. Finally, dad died of esophageal cancer. But he never complained.

I was drafted for the Vietnam war. I reported for my physical but was classified 4F because of my asthma. I felt rejected, but in retrospect I was fortunate that I didn’t have to go into battle.

I often think about my dad even though he’s been gone for nearly nine years. I can recall the times we spent together and some of the activities we shared. I started my professional career as a sportswriter in northern New Jersey as a freshman in high school. I didn’t have my driver’s license yet, so dad drove me back and forth to the newspaper.

Another great memory is the time he took me to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., to see my first college football game in 1961—the one in which Army crushed the College of William & Mary, 48-13.

I’ll always cherish those moments. But with dad gone, my focus now is on my 89-year-old mother who is living with me (she has moderate Alzheimer’s disease). Apparently, her family didn’t talk much when she was a child. But if I want to know, I ask questions.

I am indeed grateful and blessed. Are you?

About the Author

Greg Schmalz
Greg Schmalz is president of Schmalz Communications LLC, Brick, N.J. He believes in maintaining a positive attitude and counting your blessings.

1 Comment on "Maintain a Positive Attitude and Count Your Blessings"

  1. Hello, Mr. Schmalz! Among my blessings today I count folks such as you who take time to remind us of life’s truly important things. Thank you. Best wishes. Linda

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