Day 1,542 – Thankful for Breathtaking Sunrises and Phone Cards

The majority of my drive to Winona this morning was spent with one thing on my mind – the breathtaking sunrise behind me. It was one of those awesome ones when the sky starts changing into that deep dark red on the horizon. There was a beam of light that slowly ascended from the earth to the heavens and stood like a pillar without any peek at the sun below it. The sky slowly shifted to all different shades of purple and pink as the sun slowly rose. Even though I was viewing it largely from my mirrors it took my breath away. How awesome to view such a spectacular sight in the morning? Having all of it unfold above the bluffs and the Mississippi made it all the more majestic. I’m grateful for those moments of extreme natural beauty.

On one of my seven Zoom/Teams calls today I was laughing pretty hard. We were talking about “way back in the day” and having to actually pay for long distance calls. My friend Justin reminded me of one of the items almost every college student had back in the mid to late ’90’s… a phone card. This was the wonderful piece of plastic that was pre-loaded with a certain number of minutes so you could call home and talk without having to pay for long distance. I still remember burning through many of those back in the day when I’d call my parents at a very reasonable hour – usually after 10pm!

The phone card in of itself isn’t what I’m really grateful for today, but rather a symbol of something I’m thankful for. Think about it – that was only 20-25 years ago! Isn’t it wild to think of just how far technology has come in such a short period of time? I can’t remember the last time I looked at a phone bill that showed long distance charges other than when I leave the country.

It also reminded me of my first “real” job when I got my first pager. Just over 21 years ago I was mesmerized by my ability to see baseball scores being updated in almost real time when I wasn’t by a TV, computer, or radio. I still have a couple of old fantasy football magazines from back in the day showing the newer and fancier versions of the pager. What a change over a couple of decades!

What I’m thankful for is the reminder to pause and be grateful for what we have, while imaging a better tomorrow. Sometimes it’s easier to appreciate something when I can look back to something from the past to remind myself of how much better life is today. That little mention of a “phone card” did just that for me today.


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