Our Pledge To You


SNEED: Counting my blessings, with plenty to be thankful for

The Thanksgiving window at the now-shuttered Country Shop in Winnetka.

It’s Thanksgiving once more — and harder to talk turkey since our president talks Twitter litter.

However, we are a can do nation and we can make do.

So let’s once again take time to count our blessings and be grateful for the differences that make our country so great.

Once again, my gratitude list.

• My son, Patrick Martin Richard Sneed-Griffin.

• Taking chances.

• The gift of magical thinking.

• Love in the time of the diaspora.

• Kindness, forgiveness . . . always.

• Good knees.


• Discovering the TV series “Friday Night Lights” on Netflix five years after its NBC finale — and falling in love with “coach” Kyle Chandler. Who knew? I don’t even like football.

• Daydreaming.

• Pondering the location of the second star to the right.

• Being able to separate fools from folly.

Leslie Hindman’s sense of humor on April Fool’s Day. Run. Fast.

• A seat at Joan Hall’s dinner table.

• Generosity.

• A brave heart.

• My 5-year-old grandniece “Livia” dictating a worried letter to the tooth fairy this year in fear of not finding any money under her pillow.

“Dear Tooth Fairy,” said Livvy. “I kind of swallowed my tooth. It’s now a lost tooth. Has anyone turned you upside down tooth fairy? That wouldn’t be very nice because your change would fall out. But I would help you pick it up! You are the best tooth fairy.”

• North Dakota. Nebraska. Newfoundland.

• Grasshoppers.

• Tubby the Tuba.

• The Arctic swill of a daiquiri at the Floridita in Havana; a Nespresso latte in Morocco.

• Dinner with Fidel . . . and George Ryan.

• “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by William Butler Yeats. And the late Angus who once wandered into my life.

• My friend Anne Keegan, a great writer who was once as close to me as me.

• Going away; coming home to Chicago.

• Trust.

• The memory of my good dogs, Zeb, Daisy, Marly and Querencia, who died on days that should have never ended. The years with Minou, the absolute best cat ever, who left her perch on my pillow when the leaves began to fall.

• My new pups, Mr. Pip and Two Two. (Querencia II)

• Curiosity.

• Mincemeat pie.

• A toasted zucchini muffin at the Three Tarts Café.

• Road trips. Alone.

• The pool at the Arizona Inn; crisps at El Minuto in Tucson; a desert town called “Why,” accompanied by a few answers.

• Shadows at five o’clock.

• Time off.

• Newspapers.

• Truth. Candor. Tempered by an understanding heart.

• Adoption.

• The Missouri River.

• A father’s legacy; my garden.

• The floss of a Cottonwood Tree.

• Harry the Bunny; on a TV show for babies.

• My childhood on the prairie.

• My name.

• My father, who taught me the love of adventure.

• My mother, who was as warm as her namesake month: June.

• A good read; the color orange; a garden carrot.

• The 1970s of my career.

• The spectacular Thanksgiving window at the now shuttered Country Shop in Winnetka. A photograph of it highlights my column.

• Bees.

• Crickets, but not in my basement.

• Ald. Edward Burke singing “Who Threw The Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder?” Wife Anne Burke having to listen to it.

• The gift of good neighbors. Sisters. Cousins.

• Sunflowers pointing up.

• The gift of life; old friends.

• Whistling in the dark; laughing until it hurts.

• The music of Christmas composed before the 1950s.

• The poems of Omar Khayyam; the story of “Little Orphant Annie,” and Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard often read by my parents.”

• The novel: “All the Light You Cannot See.”

For this, I give thanks . . . always.

Finally, the English poet Chidiock Tichborne, who penned “Elegy” in 1586:

“My tale was heard, and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent, and yet I am not old,
I saw the world, and yet I was not seen:
My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.”