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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. I, like a lot of folks, have many things to be thankful for. I've got a wonderful family, a good job, and a lot of friends. There are two stories that really have always brought the meaning of the holiday home for me.

The first happened in the early 1990's. My grandmother, who was about 86 years old, was flown by flight for life to University Hospital in Madison, Wi on the Monday of Thanksgiving week. She was suffering from conjestive heart failure. They started the normal course of treatment, and by tuesday afternoon she was feeling much better, and asked if she could be released on Wednesday.

When they said probably not, she became very adament about it. The doctor explained that he was sure that her kids would understand her staying in the hospital through Thanksgiving. But she told him, that's not the reason. She said "I have to serve dinner at the Salvation Army Thursday, someone has to feed those poor old people." She fed those 'poor old people' until a few years before she died at 96, and always gave thanks for being able to help.

The second story involved me, in 1999. I was in at a Navy school in San Diego, Ca. that year, and unable to spend the holiday with my wife and kids. So instead I hung out at my friend Ted's house, with his wife and another couple and their son. That alone would have been enough to make me a thankful guy, because I'd done holiday alone in a barracks, or overseas many times, and hated it.

When the phone rang and it was my wife, Ted told me I should take it in the other room, she sounded upset. When I got on the phone she told me Joe, the man her mother had lived with the last 10 years had died. He had a massive heart attack while he was getting ready to go out deer hunting. Joe was very much the perfect father-in-law (even if they weren't married) we golfed together every winter in San Diego, he treated my kids like they were his grandchildren, and my mother-in-law like the queen of the world.

Being with a group of friends immediately became more important to me. I realized that you can have lots of "stuff" but when things go very very wrong, stuff won't comfort you, stuff doesn't understand a 35 year old man crying like a baby. Friends do understand, especially guys like Ted, who'd golfed with Joe and I a number of times. Ted made sure for the next four days, until I was back in classes that I was okay.

So, today while you eat your dinner, and give thanks, keep in mind there are a lot of "things" to be thankful for, but friends, and loving people need to be at the top of the list. Have a great holiday, enjoy the food, family and friends, and understand the real meaning of this holiday. Richard Cohen's Column in the Post sums it up quite well also

linked at Don Surber

4Comments:

Blogger Mike Wallster said...

Beautiful.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Thanks Mike.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Very cool. Happy Thanksgiving!

11:33 AM  
Blogger OnlineMom said...

Great post - have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

1:53 PM  

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