Thanks, or No Thanks!

Claire Dillon

Did you know the phrase “thank you” was used during the times of the Pharaohs in Egypt? It was considered polite and especially good breeding to send a thank you note written on papyrus in those days, just like today. And no, a text or email definitely would not have sufficed.

How many ways can you say thank you? Well, there’s merci in French, cheers in English, danke in German, gracias in Spanish, and Arigato in Japanese, for starters. There are more than 100 ways to say thank you in the most recognized languages of the world, leaving another 6,900 languages that most people have no clue even exist. And did you know, thank you is one of the three phrases allowed to be said out loud at any time in a monastery, that otherwise embraces silence. Do we say it often enough? Probably not.

Thanks come in all shapes and sizes. There are the enormous thank yous, like thanking God for giving you a loving family, to the little thanks to that woman with an overflowing grocery basket who lets you go ahead of her at the check-out line.

Sometimes we deliver a sarcastic thanks when a person has shared something personal or intimate with a group of people, who definitely didn’t want to hear it. You pause for a moment before grinning and then respond with, “thanks for sharing!”

Thank you freely rolls off the tongue when someone offers to take your shift at the hospital on Christmas day so you can spend time with your kids. In this instance, you probably need to say thank you several times. And maybe even pick up a little something at Starbucks before you return the next day.

Sometimes people are just careless when it comes to saying thank you. Like when you stay late at work for the next day’s presentation and go home and bake cookies until 11 p.m., making snickerdoodles for the mother/daughter bake sale the next day. Proudly, you set down that plate of gorgeous cookies on the bake sale table only to be asked “Are they gluten-free?”

There is of course the two-edged sword when you tell your husband you signed up the two of you for salsa lessons and his response is ‘thanks, but no thanks.’”

This year brought about a gigantic thank you in many people’s hearts for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, and to all the men and women who volunteered their time to make it happen. That’s a resounding thank you likely heard round the world for sure.

And last but not least, there’s this one. I reserve it for the holiday dinner table when your grandmother passes you her favorite dish of whipped turnips with stewed prunes, and you politely hold up your hand in horror and reply gently with the utmost respect, “no thanks, Grandma!”

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and when in doubt about any situation, just say thank you! It never fails.

The SaddleBrooke Ranch Writing Guild is a group dedicated to improving our writing skills. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the La Vista room of the La Hacienda Club from 1 to 3 p.m.  If you have any questions about the club, contact Joy Hellard at [email protected].