Regular readers of these ramblings know that my bride is in the midst of a battle with breast cancer. For the last eight months that unwanted and unexpected foe has rearranged our lives around doctors, hospitals, chemo days, and radiation days. Joni’s prognosis is good. The love and outpouring of prayers and well wishes from many of you has been amazing and uplifting. More than you will ever know. Joni has just over a week of radiation left and then several months of a targeted chemotherapy drug. That will be administered every three weeks so at least our schedule has a chance to return to some semblance of normalcy.
I rarely give over my space to a writer that does not have the last name Burchett. But faithful and long-suffering reader Steve sent me a link to an article by Wheel of Fortune game show host Pat Sajak. Pat may need Vanna’s help to turn letters but he does a really nice job of arranging them into a thoughtful piece posted at his site.
Last year I posted a story about the decision by a Wisconsin elementary school to rewrite the lyrics of “Silent Night” to make it acceptable for the “winter program”. The unfortunate choice for a new title was “Cold in the Night”. And the new lyrics went something like this.
Cold in the night,< ?xml:namespace prefix = o />
no one in sight,
winter winds whirl and bite,
how I wish I were happy and warm,
Ronald Reagan had a favorite joke that he told so often that the joke itself became a joke with staff members. A CBS News piece related the story as remembered by former Reagan aide Ed Meese. The joke was told about twin boys who were six years old. Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities — one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist — their parents took them to a psychiatrist.
Note to readers…this is an article I wrote last year when we returned from a trip to Israel so the news article I reference is from November, 2005.
I knew that our family Thanksgiving would be a bit different this year. We were in the midst of a whirlwind tour of Israel when Turkey Day arrived. As the day dawned in Jerusalem I remembered past Thanksgivings with family all around. Watching the Macy’s Parade while the tantilizing aromas of roasting turkey and pumpkin pie and fresh baked bread filled the house. Watching the football games, eating way too much, and then the afternoon lapse into semi-consciousness known as the traditional Thanksgiving day nap. I knew that this year would be a little different but I had no idea how much.
This Thursday most Americans will sit down to the ridiculous excess that we call Thanksgiving dinner. I will be one of them. If my pattern continues I will eat too much of the wonderful food prepared by my bride. I will probably complain that I ate too much as if that is anyone’s fault other than my own. I will be genuinely thankful for having my family together. That will be extra special this year because Joni’s cancer is a reminder that such gatherings are not guaranteed. I will thank God for the bounty of food that will be before us. But I don’t think I will really comprehend how blessed I am to be a citizen of the United States.
As I navigate through our increasingly more bizarre culture I alternate between laughing and crying. Yesterday I found out that our government has decided to redefine the plight of poor families in our country. For the thirty-three million Americans without enough money to buy food or families in which parents skip meals so their children can eat are now labeled as having ”very low food security.” The experts feel that the term “hungry” does really describe their situation.