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Thanksgiving difficult this year, but much to be grateful for

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

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

Thanksgiving.

Difficult, this time.

This time the gun mercilessly stalking our streets came to a hospital called Mercy; a haven administering to the sick and the dying.

It arrived shortly before we, as a country, bow our heads in gratitude; and left behind the lifeless bodies of three good people dedicated to helping the sick and protecting the defenseless.

Not only is our nation buckling at the knees over massive violence; but our beloved city is now viewed as a slaughterhouse of people; not cattle. Father Michael Pfleger says he’s sick of viewing babies in caskets; children extinguished on Chicago streets by gun violence.

The “big” picture is killing us; a country still searching for reasons why we are murdering each other on such a massive scale.

Maybe it’s time to look at the “little” picture this year; a view from life’s smaller portals to count our blessings.

Once again, my gratitude list.

• My son, Patrick Martin Richard Sneed-Griffin and his wife, Sarah Rebecca Peglow — who are expecting my first grandchild.

• Life.

• Birds at daybreak.

• Taking chances; magical thinking.

• Sunset on the Sea of Cortez; sunrise anywhere.

• Kindness, forgiveness . . . always.

• Good knees, please.

• “Friday Night Lights” football “coach” Kyle Chandler and his dictum: “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.”

• Daydreaming; the second star to the right.

• Separating fools from folly.

Leslie Hindman’s sense of humor and her alter ego: Mr. Fluffo the Easter Bunny.

• The two Gregs.

• A seat at Joan Hall’s dinner table.

• Rereading Willa Cather’s ageless novel: “My Antonia.”

• A brave heart.

• North Dakota. Really.

• Grasshoppers; the chirrup of crickets; bees.

• Tubby the Tuba.

• Dinner with Fidel Castro watching him drink yak’s milk.

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

• The late, great journalist Anne Keegan, who was once as close to me as me.

• Trust.

• The memory of my good dogs, Zeb, Daisy, Marley 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.

• Curiosity.

• Mincemeat pie; toasted muffin tops at the Three Tarts Cafe.

• Road trips. Alone.

• The pool at the Arizona Inn.

• 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.

• TV’s Harry the Bunny; the film “Moonstruck.”

• A prairie childhood; but only until sixth grade.

• My first name. My mother’s name, June.

• Books, the color orange; a garden carrot.

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

• Good neighbors.

• Sunflowers pointing up.

• Whistling in the dark; laughing until it hurts.

• The music of Christmas composed before the 1950s.

• 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.”