It’s time for Sneed’s annual Thanksgiving gratitude list, a once-a-year column begun more than 30 years ago and originally intended to be a toaster — rather than a roaster bashing pols and prima donnas five days a week.
Once titled “Turkey treats & feats,” it lauded good deeds by good dudes — which included lawyers and grandmothers and State Police troopers who once stopped to help a stray German Shepherd on the Edens Expressway, and a state transportation department crew who saved a mother mallard and her little puddle ducks from certain death crossing the highway.
I did award a turkey neck to the Cubs for forgetting former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, the man who enabled them to play under lights, when tickets were passed out for post-season games.
It eventually veered onto another path: my personal reasons for giving thanks — not only for the goodness of others, but for the many things we take for granted, or have yet to experience.
So in this eighth decade of my life, here is my updated list of reasons to be grateful.
• Born this year, my first and only grandchild, Magnus William Sneed-Griffin; his father and my son, Patrick; and his wife, Becca.
• The magic of sisters named Pat, Jac and Jo.
• Forgiveness . . . always.
• Sunrise anywhere.
• Birdsong. The Lincoln’s Sparrow.
• Magical thinking. Living in the present.
• Good knees, please.
• The freedom of a car and the road and all the stops I’ve made along the way.
• The 16 times I’ve moved in my life and those I’ve met.
• Separating fools from folly.
• The Knife River cutting quietly under a bridge on a farm road in North Dakota; the spring floss of a giant Cottonwood survivor floating along Willow Road and the Edens Expressway.
• A brave heart.
• Grasshoppers; the chirrup of crickets at night; bees.
• Tubby the Tuba and his special tune.
• Dinner with Fidel Castro watching him drink yak’s milk after a sip of Cuban whiskey.
• “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by poet William Butler Yeats; the poems of Elizabeth Bishop.
• The late, great journalist Anne Keegan, who was once as close to me as me.
• The memory of my good dogs Daisy, Dooney, Marley, Querencia, and Zeb, 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.
• Mom’s mincemeat pie; toasted carrot muffin tops at the Three Tarts Cafe.
• Tea at the Arizona Inn and the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson.
• Time off. Times out.
• Newspapers, always.
• Truth. Candor. Tempered by an understanding heart.
• The old Northern Pacific Railroad Bridge across the Missouri River.
• A father’s legacy; my garden.
• The blush of a Summer Crush Hydrangea in an endless summer.
• A magnificent 76th birthday cake whipped up this year in the form of a bountiful tree by my pal Kate Van Dyke.
• The film “Moonstruck,” which I’ve seen way too many times.
• A prairie childhood.
• My mother and her name, June.
•The taste of a fresh carrot.
• The spectacular photo of a Thanksgiving window at the now shuttered Country Shop in Winnetka, which now highlights my column.
• Good neighbors.
• Sunflowers pointing up.
• Whistling in the dark; laughing until it hurts.
• Christmas music composed before the 1950s; Old Town in the 1960s; the newspaper business in the 1970s-’80s.
• The novels: “News of the World.” “The Tiger’s Wife.”
• Calling the magnificent city of Chicago my home and my heart since 1965.
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.”
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