28 Nov 2018, 6:54am

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Thanksgiving Saddness


Thanksgiving Sadness, 2018

By Kate Chamberlin


I have so many Blessings in my life to be thankful for.  This year, however, I am engulfed in an over-whelming sense of wrenching sadness and dark foreboding.

On a global level, I’m depressed about the civil strife in the Middle East; the pandemic health issues in Africa; the armament of North Korea; the intellectual infringements of China and Russia; and, of course, climate change that seems to blanket all of us.

Our 20-year old grandson enlisted in the Marines after high school, graduated from Parris Island, trained to be a fixed wing aircraft mechanic, and promptly deployed to Bahrain. He returned to the states to train with advanced weapons and live ammo and, although, he won’t be home for Thanksgiving, he is combat ready to serve and protect our country.

On the National scene, I’m concerned about the families decimated by the Camp and other fires in California; the 13-year old girl in Milwaukee, who was shot and killed in  her bedroom of her home, only two years after her essay on non-violence won an award in the Martin Luther King Day contest; the prolificacy of mass shootings in our malls, churches, and other large venues, not to mention the polarization of races and creeds,   that are continuing to erode the morale and patriotism of Americans.

Our eldest son has lived in California for decades. His home isn’t endangered by the Camp Fire, however, they do have to pay attention to the Air Quality Index, which measures the ash residue and smog levels. When the levels are too high, they stay in-doors. His twins made a video of their Thanksgiving dinner preparations and posted it on YouTube, so, we felt included in their Thanksgiving, even though we’re on opposite coasts .

Our second son won’t be able to make it home for Thanksgiving, either. He and his family live in Pennsylvania, but, he is the owner/operator of a long-haul trucking business. He phoned us to let us know he was on the road with his big rig.

Locally, I am particularly distressed about my 18-year old grandson being in jail; the effect divorce of our daughter from his adoptive Father is having on our grandson; the Assistant Principal of the Pal-Mac High School, who stalks and persecutes specific students; the school’s and community’s lack of response to and for children who are at risk; and, of course,  our grandson’s failure to understand how much he is loved, appreciated, and supported by his grandparents.

The afternoon before Thanksgiving, our 7-1/2 year old grandson came for a visit. He and Granddad put up our train set. Then, he and our daughter came on Thanksgiving Day to join us for turkey, stuffing, KB Sweet potatoes, acorn squash, garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans almandine, as well as, pecan pie and pumpkin pie. We enjoyed telling train stories as the toy train ran circles on its track and appreciated each other, but, it saddened me to not have our whole family together.

For now, all of this is over-whelming, but, in due time, I’ll regain my sunny optimism. I’ll edit and polish “Memoir of A Silver Girl” and shop around my Middle Grade novel “Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?”, and start to re-count my Blessings…just as soon as that 18-year old gets out of jail.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

–American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)


Btw: My grandson is out of jail. One of his comments was that he’d never before realized how many minutes there were in a day. Prayerfully, this has been a wake up call to not waste anymore minutes of his life. He is going to school, working at Dunkin’ Donuts, and training in Martial Arts’ Mao Tai. Blessing count #1.