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NOVEMBER 22, 2007  

Things to be thankful for

Today was Thanksgiving, our only holiday that hasn't become over-commercialized and marked by cheesy blow-up decorations in front yards across America. For most people it still is about family and friends sitting down to enjoy a dinner and each others' company.

We too had a lovely dinner with family and my only regret is that we didn't spend a few minutes talking about things we're thankful for. Somehow in getting the food on the table and the little kids situated we missed an opportunity to talk about things that matter. I felt awkward suggesting we say "grace" since I'm not religious...it didn't feel right. But why I didn't say "let's take a couple of minutes to give thanks for whatever in our lives we appreciate, I don't know.

So it seemed fitting that this evening there was a PBS American Masters concert honoring Paul Simon for his fifty years (!) of songwriting. As we watched it was a travelogue of memories starting in college and running nearly to today.

Simon & Garfunkel performing on PBS American Masters showSimon sang only one song with his former partner Art Garfunkel, but it couldn't have been better: Bridge Over Troubled Water. The song is beautiful, of course, but it has special meaning for me.

In 1970 it was a huge hit, played constantly on the radio. In 1970 I was living in a tiny bedroom in my parent's apartment in Parma after graduating from the University of Dayton in December. I was stressed as hell over things in my life. The Vietnam War was raging, the draft was a constant question, and the Kent State shootings were just over the horizon.

I remember laying awake late at night wondering how I could ever quiet my raging mind...it felt like I was losing my grip on things. I had a bedside radio, and more nights than one Simon & Garfunkel's song was my lullaby. Couldn't have come at a better time. That's just one of many things I'm thankful for.

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