Let’s talk turkey!
What a year.
A year when geography hit the headlines. When Paris, Ferguson, Syria, and the streets of South Side Chicago were branded destinations for terror or street violence.
When a guy named Donald Trump made you doubt his country of origin.
When a 9-year-old child gets executed as payback for something somebody else did.
Then again, there are so many reasons to be grateful.
• A son named Patrick, who loves telling me what to do. I probably should listen more often.
• Being able to separate fool from folly.
• A vodka martini with olive juice on the side.
• Growing up in North Dakota.
• Coming home to Chicago.
• The memory of my good dog Zeb, who died on a warm spring day last year when he should have been chasing squirrels. My Querencia, who was the queen of my heart for 11 years. Minou, the absolute best cat in the world, who left her perch on my pillow when the leaves began to fall.
• My new pups: Mr. Pip and Two Two; constant reminders I am wacko wacko wacko.
• Grant DePorter’s sports stories.
• Mincemeat pie from Tag’s Bakery in Evanston; a slug of caffeine from the Alchemy Coffee & Bake House.
• Mom’s potato salad.
• Road trips. Alone.
• A town called Why.
• Katy Keene comic books, pre-1953.
• Mondays off.
• Truth. Candor. Tempered by an understanding heart.
• Forgiveness . . . always.
• The courage of foster parents who had the guts to love a child they ultimately lost, like the couple who thought they had adopted Baby Richard years ago . . . and was told later they hadn’t. Let’s hope he someday comes to know the love they have for him.
• The Missouri River.
• A father’s legacy; my garden.
• The floss of a Cottonwood tree.
• The film “Spotlight.” Finally, a movie that accurately portrays real newspaper reporters in action. No fancy duds. A reality.
• Sparrows. Owls you cannot see. The Meadowlark.
• Old time radio.
• The humor of Jack Benny and Phil Harris. Peter Coyote’s narrations. Singers k.d. lang, Gordon MacRae and Jo Stafford.
• A morning ritual consisting of 550 calories and four newspapers at Three Tarts Bakery and Café in Northfield. Thanks Kate.
• The spectacular Thanksgiving window that is no more at the now shuttered Country Shop in Winnetka.
• The Arizona Inn and the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson.
• Shadows at 5 p.m.
• Midsomer Murders and the Military Channel.
• Crickets, but not in my basement.
• Ald. Ed Burke singing “Who Threw The Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder;” Joe Hannon’s book list; Christmas cassoulet; Michelle Klarchek’s apple pie; Georgene Campion’s “woof” paintings.
• The gift of good neighbors. Cousins.
• Sunflowers pointing up. A weeping Katsura tree.
• The gift of life.
• My country.
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.”
Sneedlings . . .
Don’t forget the Sun-Times “Letters to Santa” program, which provides Christmas/holiday gifts for children in need. Contact 312-321-3114 for more information or go to www.suntimes.com/santa to request a child’s letter, donate and or become a corporate sponsor. Today’s birthdays: Rita Ora, 25; Tina Turner, 76, and Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar, 70.