With a Grateful Heart

Source: : wickipedia.com

I have often heard the expression, “have an attitude of gratitude” and while I like the ring of the words, I wonder how many people are truly grateful for the small and big blessings in their lives. As little children we are taught to say “Thank You” and hopefully that carries over into our adult life.

To zero in on a special time in my life that I am very grateful for, is to walk back to my late teen years in India. During one month of May we drove from Bombay to Goa and stayed in the family home in the village. It was holiday time, and life was great. The long drive over mountainous roads was an adventure, but what was more colorful was once we stepped into our village.

The soil in Goa is red, so very quickly you could get dirty! Clothes had to be hand washed and hung out to dry. I loved going to draw water from the well while listening to my mother’s warning, “Be careful. Don’t fall in.” The well was deep, and peering into it was magical for me. The bucket of water swayed back and forth on the pulley, as I slowly brought it up to the surface.

Then the bucket had to be carried to the kitchen without spilling any water along the way.

I am grateful for the memories of plucking mangoes off the trees and eating them with relish. The movie “The Sound of Music” had just come to India, and I learned the music and lyrics quickly. What amused the family was watching me run up and down the hills singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music.” I ignored their remarks because I was too caught up in the euphoria of the moment. I was no Julie Andrews, but imagined I was one.

That year we happened to have extended family visiting, so the fun multiplied as we adjusted to life far from the city. Meal times were good, but what was better was sitting around a bonfire in the evening, and singing songs way into the night. Others in the village joined us, and stories were told while we laughed galore. The darkening night mesmerized me as the stars appeared in the sky one by one.

A village custom was to say the Rosary in community. So in the evening we gathered in one person’s home while everyone squished together and recited the many Hail Mary’s and Holy Mary’s. It was easy to start to giggle at these moments, as a few of the violinists had already had a little too much wine, and the music was far from being melodic. The hostess was nicknamed “Baby” even though her real name was Martha. We addressed her as “Aunty Baby” which caused more giggles. I don’t know how much real praying we did then.

As I reminisce, I am filled with gratitude for moments that still stay fresh in my memory. I thank God for a loving family, who gave me the freedom to explore a different landscape, and mingle with the local people. We had no electricity, but that did not deter us from rejoicing in our surroundings by the flickering light of a kerosene lamp. To the tune of “Edelweiss” I now sing,

“Thank you Lord on this day for our many good blessings.

Thank you Lord on this day for our many close friendships.

Glory to God may you hear our prayers guide us on forever.

Thank you Lord on this day for our blessings and friendships.”

Viola Athaide is a student in the Windows of Theology program at Regis College, Toronto. She currently teaches Scripture at her local parish church.

  • Susana P Que, MD
    Posted at 02:42h, 07 August Reply

    Thanks Viola for sharing those beautiful moments in your life. It is always a good feeling to reminisce the days of our youth. Continue to be a blessing to us and to many others as well. God bless you.

  • Tonis Kilp
    Posted at 08:30h, 07 August Reply

    What a wonderful article, I can see you with your family enjoying each others company, families are truly a gift from God, many blessings, tonis.

  • Mary C Johnston
    Posted at 09:59h, 07 August Reply

    What a lovely reminiscence it brings to mind similar memories for me although my family were at the other side of the world. Families are a great blessing .

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 10:53h, 07 August Reply

    Thank you Viola!

  • Ana Maria Rodriguez
    Posted at 11:39h, 07 August Reply

    Viola very well written!! I could fell the smell of the nature and joy of your family!!!!! Thanks for sharing in such a real way!!!!!
    Ana Maria

  • Rita Coutinho
    Posted at 13:40h, 07 August Reply

    That was beautiful, Viola. You do have a flair for writing. It brought back similar memories of my own trips to Goa every other May. How we looked forward to those days of merriment and fun, of luscious mangoes and most of all port wine which was prohibited in the rest of India together with other alcoholic beverages.. Most of the family that shared those precious moments are long gone, but the memories remain.


  • Lorraine Majcen
    Posted at 16:36h, 07 August Reply

    Thanks for sharing your memories Viola. Those care free days, which bring such joy to our hearts. You are a great story teller Viola. Your grandchildren are blessed in abundance to hear about your experiences, and so are we. The good old Days!!

  • Maria Skarzynski
    Posted at 22:10h, 07 August Reply

    ‘I don’t know how much real praying we did then’ – God bless you, you were the prayer. Beautiful !

  • Fay Vaz
    Posted at 22:57h, 07 August Reply

    You are just so gifted – You tell it in such a simple way and as I read this I can picture each scene the way you describe it so well – You are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit as you share your true life stories.

  • Edlyn de Souza
    Posted at 11:38h, 08 August Reply

    Thanks Viola. Really brings back memories way back to 1947, the earliest I can remember. Loved your reference to tipsy violinsts. Can virtually get the smells of the posros, Tinto reeking of urrak and feni.

    The well, the red mud, rivulets and mandshir and more…

  • Bonnie azevedo
    Posted at 13:56h, 08 August Reply

    Thank you for sharing one can never forget those were the days.
    God bless.

  • Doreen Pinto
    Posted at 14:58h, 09 August Reply

    Thanks for the giggles Viola, I giggled too when I read your article. I could not help remembering the giggly phone conversations we have so often. I could actually picture you giggling or trying not to giggle when you had to say ‘Aunty Baby’. Loved reading it. God Bless

  • I Karam
    Posted at 19:04h, 12 August Reply

    Thanks for sharing memories of your youth family stories, what is good in this later stage of life that we glorify God for our wonderful life and give Him the glory.

  • Lorella D'Cruz
    Posted at 03:22h, 17 August Reply

    I can understand why this article has attracted so many “Likes.” It brought the readers such a lovely insight into village life and teaches us that you don’t need the trappings of modern life to have a good time. I too had the giggles at the slightly inebriated violinists playing out of tune, and the “Aunty Baby”moniker sounded hilarious until I recalled that my own mother used to be called “Marygirl” in Mumbai (then Bombay) half a century ago. In those early childhood years, I didn’t blink an eye when my cousins addressed her as “Aunty Marygirl” 🙂

  • Donna Zeolla
    Posted at 06:51h, 22 August Reply

    Thank you, Viola! What a beautiful gathering of memories! You reminded me to be grateful for last night’s sunset at the lake with friends. Gifts are everywhere! Blessings!

    Posted at 10:18h, 22 August Reply

    Simple, very simple and yet radical! It returns to the roots, reporting stories and exposing memories from the depths of your own ever-unfolding sacred biography. Once again, THANK YOU, Viola. And as always, keep up the great work.

  • Linda Rego
    Posted at 15:21h, 24 August Reply

    Thank you for the memories Viola! These words and memories reminded me of our trip to Goa. It was a very short trip but I do remember your Goa home was a magical yet very spartan place. I was intrigued with the tree in the yard where Connie and Dulcie pole picked some bean like vegetables and prepared them for our dinner. I don’t know what they were, but it made a delightful dish. I was also intrigued by the family that lived on the property to watch over the house. Thank you for sharing!

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