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Every Thanksgiving, I take the time to pause and reflect on my life.  So much of what I write here is a response to the bad, the gladly stupid, the cruel, the destructive and the evil.  It is necessary to do that, for as John Stuart Mill said:

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

 Yet were American life not mostly filled with goodness, love, belonging and liberty–which we must ever create and maintain–it would not be worth living.  I do indeed try, not nearly enough I know, to exalt the good.  Today, I address, to a small degree, that failing.

In the daily maelstrom of our lives, we take much for granted.  We can’t help it.  To function, we have to focus our attention on one thing after another, mundane things like driving without running into things, and more meaningful things like interpersonal relationships.  Actually, perhaps that’s too severe an analysis.  I’ve no doubt of a great many things, and it’s simply not necessary to think of them, to give thanks for them, every day.  Living well, trying to be His useful servants, as God would have us do, is perhaps the best form of thanks, perhaps even revenge.

As I mentioned, on this scruffy little blog I often write about what’s wrong. I don’t do that because I’m inherently pessimistic; quite the opposite.  However, I know human nature perhaps better than the average bear, and that does make me a bit cynical.  As Lily Tomlin so wisely put it:

No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.  

I do hope, by shining light on various subjects, to encourage people to do the right thing, perhaps to help them more clearly see things about which they might want to know, and might care.  I even hope to help others see things in ways they might not have considered.  To whatever degree I’m successful I leave to you, gentle readers, to judge.

Also, I’m a writer, so I’m compelled to write.  It’s part of what I am.

So for this Thanksgiving, I present a brief list of the things for which I am thankful.  I will surely fail to recall some, omit others in the interest of not boring you to tears, and there are always things best left unsaid, but these are on my mind this Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for:

*Mrs. Manor, who on December 2, will have tolerated and loved me for 43 years, years she has made the best of my life.  As Mark Twain said about his beloved wife, she is both girl and woman, and wheresoever she is, there is Paradise.  I tell her how much I love her–often–every day; I will always feel it can never be enough to repay her tender mercies.

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*The everyday miracles the Father provides in such profusion.

*The Lord, who has saved my pathetic rear end on more than one occasion.

*My physicians, and medical and drug researchers, who have kept me alive and functional through illnesses that only a few decades ago would have you reading my obituary rather than this scruffy little blog.

*Each new day, regardless of old and new aches, pains and annoyances.

*Being born in the United States of America, where everyone so born begins life having won the lottery.

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*Memories of my many students, of their wonder and energy, and of the opportunity to lead them to greater things.  I miss them, but it was time for others to pick up the torch, and as Charles deGaulle said:

The graveyards are full of indispensable men.

*The joys of retirement, many yet to be discovered, and the time it provides for service and reflection.

*Wyoming.  It’s good to see the endless sky and breathe the air of a free state.

*The opportunity to treat everyone with sincerity and kindness, no matter how hard that might be.  I’m not always successful, but I work at it.

*As Teddy Roosevelt said, “the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.”  Work defines us, but we can’t let it consume us.

June, 2017: directing the Gillette Chamber Singers, a choir I founded 33 years ago.

*The gift of music, and the opportunity to use it to inspire others, to bring a smile to their faces, and joy to their hearts.  True, the Covid hoax has made that difficult, but as long as mankind lives, music never dies.

*The opportunity to try to live as God wants me to live.

*The opportunity to meet those that need to meet me, and to meet the people I need to meet.

*The Internet, which has given me friends I may never meet in person.  I’m not grateful, by the way, for pop up ads.

*My old friends, who, as Harry Chapin put it (paraphrased), know who I am and know where I’ve been.

*Family, who love me regardless.

*The gift of new family: a new husband and extended family for my niece, with a new great niece/nephew(?) on the way, and a new wife, two children and extended family for Mrs. Manor’s nephew.

*The lives God has put me in the right place at the right time to save.

*The women and men who have written a check for any amount up to and including their lives, and who, serving our nation in the military, will not be home for Thanksgiving this year.

*The lives of countless American men and women who placed the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of liberty, that each new American will always win the lottery.

*Those politicians, police officers, and all governmental employees, who take seriously their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution, who put America above party, and who will not obey illegal or immoral orders.

*All the patriots who expose and fight those that do obey illegal and immoral orders, regardless of the cost.

*The freedom of all Americans to tell people like NBC what to stuff other than turkey.

credit: teachingamerican history*The fact that God put extraordinary men–and women–in the colonies at the right time to found America.  I’ve never thought that a coincidence.

*The Constitution, which makes America unique in all of human history, and which will hold us together, if we take Mill’s advice.

*All the pets I’ve loved, who lived such short lives, yet burned so brightly, and who didn’t care about my too many failings.

*All my friends, who know my failings, and care about me anyway.

*The wisdom that may come with experience, and the common sense to recognize and use it.

*Free will.

*Laughter.

*The June, 2018 publication of my first book, License To Kill: The Murder Of Erik Scott.  Getting anything published these days, particularly if it’s not an attack on normal Americans, is near-miraculous.

*You, gentle readers, who take the time from your busy days to read this scruffy little blog, to catch my mistakes, and to so intelligently and politely comment.

*Serendipity.  Our retirement fell together perfectly.  Everything clicked into place precisely when it needed to, leaving us amazed, grateful, comforted and happy.  More than a year on, we’re becoming comfortable with our new lives.

Finally, we’re grateful for the years to come as we have reunited with family, met new family, and for the opportunity to love and support each other as we age and prepare for the final journey.

May this Thanksgiving be a blessing, gentle readers, and every Thanksgiving to come.

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A wonderful and restful Thanksgiving to all.  May we all meet here again next year, and may the Lord bless and keep you and yours.