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From the Writers Secrets Series www.writerssecrets.com
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant


white_roseJ’attendrai, A Tale of Jo.

For everyone who has ever wondered what might have been.

Author’s Note.

To get the most out of this story, go to  any  search engine. Find
the original 1938 version  of “J’attendrai” by Rina Kelly. It was a
tune that swept the world, especially after the fall of France to
Nazi Germany in 1940 when it became a statement of adamant
commitment and fierce determination.

“J’attendrai,” “I will wait”, for better times, for happier times, for love,
for you. And nothing will keep us apart… absolutely nothing.

Tormented by a dream, a dream one must have and will do anything,
everything to achieve.

When does love begin?

See the complete article at: http://writerssecrets.com/2015/11/16/jattendrai-a-tale-of-jo/

By Dr. Jeffrey Lant

About the Author

2016 is fast approaching and with it Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s 69 birthday. He is, he likes to
say, in the prime of his prime. Thus does the “scribbling” life he commenced at age
5 continue. Twenty books. Thousands of articles. Worldwide recognition and
enthusiasm, which culminated with the publication of his autobiograpy, “A Connoisseur’s
Journey, being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck and joy”. It was
a book that screamed “classic!”, and he delighted in the awards that followed. To get
your copy go to www.writerssecrets.com. You will also want to join his writing course
and learn from this master communicator just how you can improve everything you
ever write.

 

U.S. Memorial Day. Remember!

flanders_field_marker_on_stump

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Let us recall this day and its purpose first by reminding you of one of the most celebrated poems of war, youth too soon ended and of the flower that evokes it all, the blood-red poppy.

In Flanders Field by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. Canadian Army (1872-1918).

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That marks our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

When I was a boy growing up in Illinois in the late ‘forties and ‘fifties, every school child was expected to take a few paper poppies (made so we knew by wounded and maimed U.S. Vets) and collect some pennies for them from friends and neighbors who never needed to be reminded of what we were doing or why they should contribute, even if it was the widow’s mite. And if it were the widow or mother with a gold star always in the front window, she responded with exultation and alacrity, hugging her student visitor, and tears would soon be shed. While you didn’t comprehend why, you soon found yourself with tears, too — and the adults called you a “good boy” and always looked into your eyes as they said so.

21 in Flanders fields in the midst of war.

I made my first trip to Europe, to the France I was destined to love deeply, not least for her wounds and too frequent miseries; the year was 1967. Vietnam was on the world’s agenda, rending the people and the nations. On this trip I (unlike all my traveling companions who had very different locales on their itinerary) decided to go, taking a bus tour to Flanders fields. I had helped distribute the paper poppies for many years; I knew the famous poem, and I was curious to see what the vestiges of carnage and military butchery looked like.

But I little knew the power of these fields and of the palpable spirit of this place, the spirit that spoke to you, and at once: “Remember, we are your dear departed, your brothers, your fathers, your young boisterous uncles too soon taken; the cheerful postboy and the brilliant medical student. We are here, all of us,in our millions; we wish you to understand the profundity of this place, the purpose of this place, the solemnity of this place… and the gripping tale, certain to impress you, that we tell in our very life’s blood.

This is a place of unsettled ghosts, of too much loss, too much death, too many to remember and an urgent need never to forget a single one.

Then of a sudden the compelling insistence of this hallowed place made itself known to you. Tourists like you, babbling of places where they had found good values and other places where they had not; these tourists now saw the majesty of unending death, too soon, by too many… and their very words stopped… as they saw around them on every side the unmitigated panoply of death…

Our vehicle went slowly through these fields where death had staked its boundless claims, for more limbs, for more blood, for more and still more fragile bodies and of a world of plans, expectations, destinies, ended right here…

You feel all at this tragic place… and are quiet like your fellow travelers; not one saying a single word… the only sound the wheels of your vehicle, now a cortege, and the tears falling fast… while complete strangers take hold of their neighbor’s hand and squeeze; it is all any of us can do… and we all want the warmth of life and seek it now.

What I learned that day, what you must know, is the immensity of these places of eternal rest for a generation. Here and at many similar places this generation abides for the ages, these fields profoundly marked with pristine graves and simple headstones, that show the last day of their life, the first day of their oblivion.

You think, you hope that the end is nigh, but you cannot say so. You cannot say anything; your vehicle goes slowly, the better for you to understand the awe of this place… and your spirit is sorely troubled and challenged.

And still your vehicle rides through more of the unending graves, each for a life unseasonably, unnaturally ended… and one word rises before you and the other travelers: why? What could have justified so much death and confusion, so much ended too soon, the promise of so many lives, and these so young? Why?

After several hours, your tour is ended… but the graves of Flanders fields are not at an end. They are, at tour’s end, what they were at tour’s beginning: a metropolis of the dead, where the great numbers you see are only a tiny fraction of the unimaginable totality.

And at last, from so much pain, so palpable and pathetic, comes a valiant thought. That the acres of Flanders fields, at least in part, are the story of the greatest gift of all, to die for the good of all, to give your life so that the lives of untold others can be lived fully, happily…. having received from these dead their lives, their prosperities, everything that makes life worth living.

Since the inception of our great republic wars, insurrections, riots, uprisings have punctuated our national existence. And each has yielded a generous quota of good people who died that America and all Americans might live.

The danger, my fellow countrymen, is that any part of us, any one of us should live without blessed remembrance and heartfelt gratitude to the dead… all of them expired in the unending service of the nation, our allies, and the troubled planet we aim to sooth and uplift. Every great cause, every event within these causes has called upon the best among us… and has resulted in the greatest sacrifice of all, for so many.

What the dead of Flanders fields and of all America’s far-flung endeavors want is what only we living can give. And that is our full love and devotion to such as these. We can only be fulfilled by giving it… which is what we do today, and gladly so. It is little enough for the sublime greatness of their gift to us.

* * * * *
About The Author

Harvard-educated, awards winning author, Dr. Jeffrey Lant is a syndicated writer and author of 20 books, best selling books.

Dr. Lant brings the crucial features of his illustrious writing career to www.WritersSecrets.com for others to master writing.

Listen in as Dr. Lant reads his word of remembrance:

A George Quacker Production

Jeffrey Lant Associates, Inc.

All Right Reserved

turkeys

Thanksgiving from the turkey’s perspective. Over the river and through the woods, a nation’s fowl behavior is noted, bemoaned, admonished, challenged.Timely commentary from the cutting edge

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Author’s program note. If you’re a resident of these United States, the fourth Thursday of November will soon be upon us in all its excess, gluttony, and self-congratulation. We know this as Thanksgiving Day, but it most certainly is no day of glorious and heart felt thanksgiving for the crucial centerpiece of this annual event sacred to gourmandizing and loosened belts. In fact, for the family of the genus Meleagris, commonly called turkeys, this date is the darkest day of their lives, their history and their entire existence on this planet… but no longer.

This year for the first time since their majestic ancestors graced the Early Miocene a long, long time ago and after nearly 400 years of unapologetic, systematic execution and intense gobbling launched by New England Pilgrims in the 1660s, turkeys are rallying for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In short, these ancient birds of unmitigated plumage and pluck now demand respect, restitution, and revolution. Due to a special arrangement with a band of their insurgents, I am able to take you inside their headquarters. Thus they acknowledge their need for world-wide recognition and your support for their pressing cause.

Urgency in the air: my interview with the Young Turk leader called “Squawk”, a bird of stark destiny and purpose.

A Message from Squawk.

I was not particularly surprised when I saw the note left under the door last night; indeed given my support over the course of many years for the God-given right to life of polar bears, eagles, monarch butterflies, African elephants and many others, I should have been chagrined not to have been contacted. I have my amor propre too after all. But there it was.

“Be ready. Comrades will make contact precisely at midnight. No cameras. Nothing but pencil and paper.” Then the bold, audacious, even grandiloquent mark already famous: “Squawk” and his proud sign, one blood-red claw print. So… they had chosen me…

… And then it occurred to me. When I booked my Thanksgiving Day reservation at the Sheraton Commander hotel right down the street, the young manager had asked me if I wanted turkey or ham for my main course. Without thinking, I told her that if the glaze would be as deep and resonant as last year’s, my selection was certainly ham. Thus inadvertently by my choice of which dead animal I should feast upon, I became, if anathema to pigs, yet simpatico to turkeys.

In this way I came to know that adherents of the turkeys’ cause can be anywhere, even in the most unexpected of places. Ah, that is what the bright-eyed, chipper serving person meant when she said, “I’m so glad, Dr. Lant” in an especially insinuating manner. Old-goat that I am I thought her come-hither look was for my geriatric charms, and so I thought again “there’s no fool like an old fool.”

Perforce, to my work.

Understanding my task, I readied myself for what could only be a fateful encounter, its salient and urgent points to be brought to a world of the unenlightened. And so I regained myself. I was myself again for in such matters I remain a “Young Turk,” too, deferring to no one, not even Squawk, revolution’s anvil though he be.

The feathered comrades were as good as their word. At the stroke of midnight, I heard the fluttering of wing and heard the unmistakable sound emanating from the fleshy wattle or protuberance that hangs from the top of the beak. And thus I fell, through professional pride and recognized standing, into the hands of those who, without Squawk’s laissez-passer, in an instant could blind me and shred my fragile flesh. I now felt as they had felt these thousands of years a prisoner, helpless, incarcerated, destined for premature death. Thus did the clan Meleagris signal the new order of their kind… and the resulting new order of mine.

Of the next several minutes, I recall sensations only. Of feathers carefully positioned to extinguish all light; just a little showing, otherwise entirely dark. Of the occasional sharp claw prick, whether by accident or design, no less painful for that. It was an acute reminder that I was in their complete and utter power, perhaps the first man so rendered in the long relations of turkey and human. They said nothing. I said nothing. Where I was, who I was with, what they would do to me would become completely apparent soon enough… and was.

Squawk’s headquarters. We meet and “talk turkey”.

I never did discover just where I was and where we met. But even if I knew, I wouldn’t say. I am a journalist and my sources sacred… So I shall simply say the place had a make shift aura about it, as if this were a temporary abode, one to be quickly occupied, quickly abandoned.

“Good evening, Doctor Lant.” It was Squawk, and I felt his power, strength, and authority at once. Here was a bird who meant business… and who saw me only as a tool to reach his objective. We understood each other, and so our business could proceed, briskly, for time was limited and we both had deadlines…

He motioned me to a chair. He stood. And then he began, the words swift, lucid, hot, each a declaration etched in acid. He meant every one and every one came without difficulty. Here was a subject of paramount importance to every turkey. He knew he spoke for all his breed, was supremely confident of his position, of the need to speak out, of the full justice of his cause, and the need for action now, complete action, long overdue action, and of what would have to be done should this action be deferred by even a single moment.

It was a clarion call… and Squawk looked through me and made me see what he saw… he was a bird transfigured… exactly what was required for this pivotal time in the long, one-sided relation of turkey and human. I knew as each word emerged that I was hearing history in the making. Like it or not, every clipped syllable was Important. Things would never be the same again.

What Squawk said.

Now each word came fast, irrefutable, beautiful in its delivery, purified by total belief and total commitment.

Of the days before human came. Of a proud bird, great in size, majestic in movement, free ranging over the great land called by humans North America. These were the proud days, the glory days, when every bird knew the joy that is freedom.

Of the days that brought the people called Pilgrims, people who fled tyranny and injustice only to bring a greater tyranny, more menacing and thorough injustice to the land called New England. These storm-tossed people came with only one thing in amplitude: arrogance, an arrogance that everything they saw was theirs and theirs alone. We did not understand these humans then. We saw them as poor, freedom-loving, in need of help we were ready to give in unstinting measure.

And so we accepted their invitation to the First Thanksgiving… where we were the guest of honor indeed: as food. We came in friendship. We found the cooking pot instead… and not merely the pot for some; the pot for all of us in our thousands, our tens of thousands, our millions.

And so the Pilgrims grew fat upon the bounty of our trusting bodies. No wonder these humans gave thanks. They were triumphant over all, a revolution in every step they took. Against such God-believing people, forever certain in their cause what could be done except revolt, violent, intense, thorough, unceasing until the freedom of old becomes the order of the great new day.

“Does this mean….?”, I asked. He knew the question before I even finished it. “Yes, friend, it does. There are comrades who operate in the shady lanes of liberal Newton, of affluent Brookline, even one hero who patrols the grounds and harasses the privileged students of the Harvard Business School. And as our ranks grow, we shall expand… so that no pedestrian wherever can walk, no motorist drive without our calculated outrage made manifest, painful.”

He meant every word … and from previous print reports I knew he would do it if he could. After all the population of wild turkeys has never been greater or demonstrated greater purpose and solidarity.

Envoi

With the briefest touch wing to hand, Squawk signalled that this unprecedented interview was over. Disciplined comrades were at the ready for my immediate departure, blocking my eyes, escorting me home to a world which suddenly seemed less equable than before.

I turned on CNN which announced that the President would be exercising his powers of executive clemency at the White House today, live in just 15 minutes. The lucky spared turkey was called “Squawk”. Now wasn’t that cute?

The Marine Corps band was on hand and was just now commencing “The President’s Hymn” written in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared the first official Thanksgiving holiday. Its authors were William Augustus Muhlenberg and Joseph W. Turner, spiritual descendants of the Pilgrims.

“GIVE thanks, all ye people give thanks to the Lord, Alleluias of freedom, with joyful accord; Let the East and the West, North and South roll along, Sea, mountain, and prairie, one thanksgiving song.”

Now face to face, eye to eye, Squawk and the President were just a moment from destiny…

About the Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is an awards winning, best selling author.

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Tune in below as Dr. Lant reads this classic thanksgiving article:

 

Happy_ThanksgivingMy most memorable Thanksgiving… and oh the memories!

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Quick can you name your favorite Thanksgiving song? Unless it’s “Over the river and through the woods” (1844), you probably don’t have one. But I do. It’s called “Turkey in the straw”, and it is a traditional American folk song from the 1820s. And though strictly speaking it was not written for Thanksgiving, you’ll have to forego its strict history in favor of the elastic meaning I shall give the tune and its use. I am sure, in due time, you will forgive me. In any event, start by going to any search engine, find the tune, and put on your dancing shoes… because this Thanksgiving you’ll be dancing, not just filling out your embonpoint, and belching.

What my family usually did for Thanksgiving… celebrated, sanctified, dull.

I was brought up in an Illinois family which, like all our neighbors, believed in the verities of God, country, and family. These were the bedrocks on which we built our homes, our communities and our nation. And these three essential parts of American life came sharply together at Thanksgiving, an event which had to be arranged and celebrated in the grand manner… best china, best crystal, best silver and food that was quite simply awesome, no stinting contemplated, allowed, or accepted. We were Americans, part of the great heartland of the nation, and if we didn’t have much to be thankful for, then who did?

Still, this holiday (and Christmas, too) always raised the issue of where to celebrate, for we were part of large extended families with matriarchs in various branches who made it clear their feelings would be hurt if we didn’t grace their Thanksgiving Day tables, though why they wanted my sister with her tendency to scream while eating (admittedly she was only in pre-school) and my brother (but that is another story), I as eldest son and eldest grandson (on both sides) could never understand. I knew why they wanted me… “let me count the ways….”

The solution to this problem of venue was solved in most years by the simple expedient of appearing at two (or even more) holiday tables groaning under the weight of families who had done well… and stuffing ourselves to sickness accordingly. It is no wonder they felt queasy by day’s end. Personally I always saved room (if at all possible) for the desserts… for here amidst so many culinary achievements… was sweet perfection in so many alluring ways. Pies of every kind (pumpkin de rigueur of course), cobblers, cookies with holiday themes… strudel (we were of Germanic stock and proud)… and the cakes… but enough. Suffice it to say there was no thought of mere sufficiency. It was all about excess… in so many ways so that no one could ever say anything else, or even suggest it.

Time — and holiday arrangements — marches on.

Sadly, over time things changed and my father and mother were significant reasons why the multi-mealed Thanksgiving came to an end. Specifically, we moved from Illinois when I was just 16 to California, where family (as Charles Manson and hippies from Haight-Ashbury proved) had an altogether different meaning. And so, unless my father decided (and my mother concurred), for father’s sister and his wife did not love each other, unless, that is, we were going to our Carter cousins’ ranch in Bakersfield, we stayed home… and invited people we liked, who were never related. In short, we went from the traditional Thanksgiving of too much of this, too much of that, people we “had” to like because we were related, to Thanksgivings we invented… and, as we discovered later when sociologists explored American migrations, most other people were doing the same thing. And that’s why my mother, Shirley de Lauing Lant Phelps de Barlais y de Kesoun, and I were in the port of San Pedro, California en route to Baja California for Thanksgiving, 1985.

Fourth book, second Thanksgiving out of America.

I have always been of an industrious nature and my breakneck pace through 1985 made clear that I was a man on a mission, going places, meeting people. I had my fourth book underway, a publishing company to oversee, an international consulting business, a multitude of lectures nationwide, and a nationally syndicated program on the Business Radio Network. Managing time was of the essence.. and this precluded vacations and other ways of wasting time, including voyaging to a part of the world in which I had absolutely no interest. But, then, my mother did… and she was a very formidable woman. She named the destination, I ponied up for the tickets, and so we boarded one of the floating restaurants and bars they call cruise ships, where eating and lassitude are the order of the day, every day.

We were booked as Dr. and Mrs. Lant, which while absolutely accurate was also the seed for a memorable (and oh so wrong) deduction… because, you see, on this ship, as on all such vessels, the ladies of a certain age always out number the gents… and so the hopefulness which always accompanies these ladies on board always quickly wilts.

My mother was a stylish and youthful looking woman and made a point of so appearing, to best advantage. I was, as usual, slovenly, a demolisher of clothes, even those from the best shops in Boston and England. Still, as Agatha Christie once observed, old clothes properly cut are always suitable attire for a gentleman. My mother strenuously disagreed, but here her jeremiads fell on deaf ears.

Still…one memorable evening, a woman of the purple-haired ilk sidled up to POM (Poor Old Mother) and asked how long we’d been married… and how she’d managed it; (no doubt wanting instructions on how to secure as willing mate one as young, winsome, and obviously God-favored as I.) Freud must have had a conniption.

And that was just the beginning of the memorable holiday voyage.

My mother and I worked as a team; she was admiral, I cadet. The moment after we arrived on board, she took a page of her cream colored stationary as Baroness de Barlais y de Kesoun, gold coronet ablaze at the top, and sent a charming message (of which she was past mistress) to the Captain, advising him a celebrated author was on board whom she’d like to present. That “celebrated author” would have been me. That note she delivered post haste to the purser along with a First Edition of my book “Our Harvard,” suitably autographed by that self-same author. She always traveled with a few copies…

The next day I sat in a deck chair, enveloped in a plaid blanket, hands chilled, writing the current book, “The Unabashed Self-Promoter’s Guide: What every man, woman, child and organization in America needs to know about getting ahead by exploiting the media.” For all that I had to be thawed out each evening, I was making lickety-split progress… and could still dance attendance on Her Ladyship, my mother. It was a model that worked…

The Captain requests…

In due course, of course, the Captain responded… not just with an invitation to the table at dinner where he held court but to cocktails in his luxurious private quarters. We dressed accordingly; (my Harvard blazer was wrinkled but its insignia buttons were solid gold.) When we discovered he was Greek, we should have recalled the old maxim “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts…”

He was a man of charm, information, and what we Midwesterners call schmaltz. As such he was very good company, paying every courtesy to the Double B (as we termed the double Baroness, in her own right, too). But there was something not quite right… which became instantly apparent when, in paying my mother an exaggerated farewell he tickled the inside of my hand, in a manner which could not possibly have been misconstrued. I meant to tell her… she would have roared with laugher and indignation. Which brings us to our unique Thanksgiving on the high seas.

On board, one ate and participated in activities which could never quite obscure their purpose: to let air out of bloated stomachs. One of these activities was the time-honored “talent show” which would have been anything but… except for POM. She had an idea to sweep the boards… she always did… and with her vision, energy, imagination and unparalleled ability to shame people into doing things, she generally succeeded. “The First Thanksgiving”.

POM dragooned one passenger after another into taking part in what was certain to be the winning entry: a sure-to-please musical rendition of the first Thanksgiving, with dialog by me and direction by… but you can guess who. Despite frequent (ever escalating) reminders that the script needed to be written, yours truly did not write the script; instead falling victim to Demon Rum… and so when POM came to get me for dress rehearsal (a bare hour before the opening curtain) she found her boy drunk as the lord he was. No script. No excuse. No hope.

But still the show went on, though I had to ad-lib every word, including musical cues to the band, which gamely played our game. Pilgrims said the silly things they would say… Indians (face-paint perfect) acted aboriginal… and “Turkey in the straw” rang out frequently as passenger Pilgrims and Indians ran about the stage capturing passenger turkeys. Then le tout ensemble sang “God Bless America”. Of course we were cheered to the echo, and I got the kind of hugs and kudos I expected… and she had deserved.

My Thanksgiving this year will be dull indeed without her… for she is making friends and raising cane in a better place, where she will know, for certain, I would write this article and remember….

* What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories? Let us know by posting your comments below.

Listen in to a reading of this article by the author – Dr. Jeffrey Lant

 

 

Thanksgiving_turkey_dinnerNot in the mood for Thanksgiving? Then be grateful for what you don’t have!

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. Rarely if ever have I seen my fellow countrymen so riled up… irritable, angry, rude epithets at the ready, bad behaviors endemic. What’s going on? Try these for openers…

A rotten economic situation that just won’t get better… and you’re afraid it never will. And so you worry (for the umpteenth time) about just how secure your job is. Is there some guy in Mumbai who’ll be glad to do it at half what you get? You’ve raised the subject with your boss… but his answer was not reassuring and now he won’t look you in the eye.

A president whose leadership style gives us no leadership… and nary a Republican presidential candidate who doesn’t cause multitudes to hold their noses, gagging, and wonder why our mind boggling lengthy and expensive campaign produces candidates we can’t stand or respect, much less admire.

Sickening scandals like the one still unfolding at Penn State, scandals that make us wake up in the middle of the night shouting, “What the…… is going on around here?”. Sometimes we wonder, and not just once either, whether anyone is honest, decent, and unarmed anymore… or whether it’s only suckers (you being one) who play by the rules.

Every day we pick up the newspaper and read about another murder in the neighborhood, our neighborhood. Are our neighbors only “good” because we don’t know their secret lives and the home truths that haven’t yet been disclosed?

We read about some drug bust at the school down the street… and are horrified to see the police photo and recognize our kid’s favorite teacher. We run upstairs and check the closet and dresser drawer to see if this has touched us even closer. You’re fortunate today… nothing out of order… but the word “yet” comes immediately to mind… since these days you expect something bad to happen any time now and aren’t particularly surprised when it does.

We read about… and are as concerned as our busy lives will allow… another species declared extinct… another Web sex scandal… another political official with a skill for theft and plausible denial. You feel sure he’ll get off easy when his time in court comes up. Is that what the bandage over the eyes of the statue of Justice is supposed to mean?

You’re concerned about America’s unending wars in countries whose names you cannot pronounce, much less find on a map, but which you are paying for. You’ve got a friend whose young cousin, proud and handsome in his Marine Corps uniform, was killed by a sniper… a boy just 20 years old.

The thought haunts you all day… You want to believe such early death helps the country in question, America, the world… but you don’t. You see that boy’s eyes and feel them boring into you, asking one question over and over — “Why?”… and you just can’t give a good answer. You feel increasingly helpless as the barrage of bad news, miseries, muddles, mayhem just won’t quit. You want time off from it all… but these realities, details delivered to us faster than ever compliments of the Web, constitute the unceasing rhythm of our lives.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg.

We wonder if, after a lifetime of contributing, Social Security will be there when we need it… and whether Medicare will provide the level of service we’ll need. A gal from our office had that acute breathing problem and was put on a respirator; the hospital didn’t want to pay for it… and the matter now resides in their legal department. We want care… we get lawyers. It makes us very, very nervous…. and sad.

We wonder how some shady Greek and Italian politicians can have so much influence on our lives so far away. What kind of magic powers have they got that force us (however superficially) to pay attention to what they’re doing… and doing… and doing, all of which threatens the stability and satisfaction of our lives? You want to say it’s “unfair”… but you know no one cares what you think about the matter… and you don’t want people to think you’re a wimp. So you stay quiet and unsatisfied… it’s just the way things are. And so the days pass…

… until the calendar tells you it’s Thanksgiving, the official day, sanctioned by custom and dictated by law, you get together with family and friends to eat too much and give thanks for your ability to do so. But this year, you just don’t feel like it, though you wouldn’t mind a piece or two of pumpkin pie. What’s a body to do?

I’ll share something that works for me… don’t waste your time enumerating all the good things you’ve got, especially when you realize most of them are flawed and superficial. Instead, focus on the myriad of problems, inconveniences, woeful situations and debilitating malevolence you don’t have… bullets you have dodged for another year. This will make you feel really thankful about things that really matter. Here’s how it works…

Preparation and The List

This year I attend my 64th Thanksgiving, so I consider myself a man with some experience in the matter. Put this experience to work by putting aside the usual falderals… don’t just hold hands and ask little Janie to say the blessing. Janie is probably too young to have much insight into the event… and will be unable to perform her helping role to perfection. Thus the end result will be unutterably banal, like all the years before.

Instead, seize this bull by the horns and brainstorm a long list of things you are thankful you don’t have to do, think about, or consider in any way. Be brutally frank.

Item: your boss got fired because of that restroom peccadillo, and you never have to see him again. That was huge!

Item: your estranged cousin Herbie, bete noir of many years, has gone missing, no one knows where. If he never returns, that would be too soon.

Item: Your darling daughter didn’t marry the wild idealist who always played the zither and never bathed. Delicious.

Item: your neighbor’s noisome pooch Mickey, gifted with a piecing yelp and high decibel duration, ran away in pursuit of amorous freedom. He will of course be missed by someone… but not by you.

Keep going! Don’t stint! As you get into the task, you see that the things you don’t have, that you were afraid you would have and forever are the very things you always needed to make this holiday sing.

Now type your list. You will never remember them all and since each adds its mite to the happy event, do not rely on memory. Practice, too, reciting them. Read slowly…. with deliberate cadence and gravitas in your voice.

Having recited this list you will feel, perhaps for the first time in months, truly happy for you have discovered for yourself and shown the world the ample bounty of happiness at your fingertips, Thanksgiving now and forever your favorite holiday.

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Listen in to a reading of this article by the author – Dr. Jeffrey Lant