Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day


Thanksgiving Day

As wonderful as my country is, there are many aspects of life here in America that I could never, in good conscience, recommend to my friends around the globe. Donald Trump, for instance. He can be a bit of a trial. We are the country of both the Hummer and the Double Down Burger, neither invention worth crowing about, in my opinion. We are bothered with yellow jackets, rattlesnakes, and Sarah Palin. They are ours, I suppose, and we just have to endure them. But there is something that takes place in America that I can most sincerely endorse to all. Thanksgiving Day. One day out of the year that we as a nation set aside just for being grateful. Now it could be argued that the meaning of this day is often obscured by football games and pie. And it's certainly true that part of the national celebration includes a rather sensational parade in which skyscraper size balloons shaped like Donald Duck and Underdog bob along in the air above New York City. Fun, to be sure, but not exactly conducive to quiet moments of reflection. But for each of us, there usually comes a time during this particular day when we pause to reflect on all of the love and wonder that shines in our lives, both individually and collectively, and it is that thankful moment that lifts the fourth Thursday in November up off the calendar and holds it aloft as a beacon to gratitude, a day of Thanksgiving. It is a lovely way to begin the holiday season, I can tell you.
I have many things to be grateful for, many reasons to smile, as I'm sure you do as well.
Here's a random list of ten.
How about yours?

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1. Words

I still remember the first time I read the world, salubrious. It was in the delightful book, My Family and Other Animals, by Gerald Durrell. "Saloooobreeeeous". It positively tickled my tongue. I loved saying it and did so at every opportunity, for weeks. It remains one of my favourite words, as much for its definition as for the delicious taste it leaves in my mouth when I utter it. The English language is a divine treasure trove, a veritable diamond mine that sparkles with jewels which, when chosen carefully, can transform the mundane into the incredible, lift high the lowest spirit, or chop the foolish right down to size. With such a magical lexicon at our disposal, it pains me to hear it abused by words such as, "like" or "whatever". Even worse, it is so often simply neglected. So many imaginative, colourful words are ignored these days, it's a pity. I realize I am not alone in my concern for our current linguistic state, for there is now a fabulously entertaining website called Save The Words where one may "adopt" an endangered word, promising to use it whenever and wherever one can. The site is fun to browse through and you can choose your word, or just let them provide one for you at random. My adopted word is "prandicle" and no doubt it will be beneficial to consider its meaning quite seriously over the Holiday season so as not to over indulge.


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2. My Vegetable Garden

When I signed up for my community garden plot, I don't think I truly believed I'd ever by eating my own fresh vegetables. I enjoyed the planting and watering, and often go over to the garden just to sit on one of the benches and feel the wind and sun on my face. It's such a peaceful place. I marveled at the beauty of the growing things in my little plot, much the same as I appreciate the flowers in my home garden. But lo and behold! I can actually eat this stuff! Wow! We've been eating our own fresh lettuces for several weeks now, and my very own homegrown broccoli will be on my Thanksgiving table this year! Such a treat!

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3. Edward

This third entry is an expected one, no doubt. But really, Edward is such a joy every single day, how could I possibly leave him out? On an afternoon just last week, I was over tending to the garden whilst The Songwriter took Edward and the delightful Apple for a walk around the adjoining parkland. When my chores were done, I locked the garden gate and set off to find the wandering three. Looking across a wide field, my hand shielding my eyes from the sun, I spied them. They spied me. Kneeling down where I was, I watched as The Songwriter unsnapped Edward's lead. A Polar Bear racing over the ice, a Snow Owl shooting through the night sky - the big white dog flew towards me like an arrow, grinning all the while he came. To be loved by a dog is a wonderful thing.

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4. Trees

There was a tall Sweetgum tree that stood on the perimeter of a forest behind my childhood house, with one fat limb that hovered just close enough to the ground for an easy leg up. Once on that limb, often with a book in one hand - no easy feat, I can tell you - I could then shimmy up into the middle of that tree with relative grace. There, hidden behind a curtain of green, I would spend hours in my own private emerald castle, with my dog sleeping contentedly far down on the ground. In my life long romance with trees, that Sweetgum was perhaps my first love and indeed, I remember certain trees in my life in much the same way as others may recall past loves. There was the Sugar Maple I used to pass every day on my way to school. I would wait for its leaves to change each autumn - that vibrant blast of colour no artist could paint. I know that tree influenced the planting of the Sugar Maples in my own garden today. There was the Monkey Puzzle tree that greeted me at the end of a long winding driveway in Scotland. I still see that one in my dreams. There is the gargantuan Magnolia in my own front garden. Planted years ago, far too close to the house, it greenly dances in front of each window, shielding us from the harsh afternoon glare and providing the perfect sleeping place for the mourning doves that flock to it each evening.
Each one an individual, each one glorious, I simply adore trees.
And the photograph above is off my own back garden, underneath some very old friends.

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5. Weddings

Okay, I'll admit to having a lump in my throat when I saw Diana's sapphire ring resting on the hand of the lovely Kate Middleton last week.
Has it really been thirty years since that other fabled, fated wedding?
I wish these two every happiness in the world. Those smiles on their faces are charming and I'm thankful all over again for the light of new love.
I can't help it - weddings get me every time.
I fervently pray the jackals will leave these two alone.

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6. Harry Potter

I swore I wouldn't read them, relying on my usual dislike of anything so universally popular. And it's true, I came to the Harry Potter books rather late in the game. Three had already been published and still I refused to open one. Finally, at the urging of a friend, I promised to read the first chapter of the first book. Just to see. And, just like magic, I found I couldn't hold the seat on my very high horse and tumbled down, down, down into the most wondrous world I'd encountered since childhood. Like millions of grade schoolers, I now waited impatiently for the release of each book. My tradition never varied. As soon as the UPS man placed the book on my front steps (yes, I was one of those who ordered online so as to get my copy on the morning it was published) I would snatch it up greedily, throw it into a straw bag, and head for the beach with my hair in a ponytail. There I would stay, with just the occasional break for sustenance, until I'd finished the entire tale. The last pages of The Deathly Hallows was read in the midst of a thunderstorm - wind and rain blowing all around, lightning out over the sea. Magic? Of course.
And yes, I was there last week on opening day of the next to last film.
Magic? Of course.

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7. The Songwriter

He's funny and kind, even when he's not thinking about it.
He sings to Apple when she's being brushed because it stops her from wiggling.
He makes me pancakes on Saturdays and wakes me up with coffee brewing each and every morning.
He rubs my feet without my asking which is a luxury beyond any measure.
He kills the bugs that make me squeal and refills the bird feeder outside my office window even when it's bone chilling cold.
He sees the humour in everything and his blue eyes get little and round when he's angry.
Whenever we arrange to meet up somewhere, in a shop or cafe, my heart still skips a beat when I see him approach and I am unutterably grateful for that.

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8. Individuality

Knowing who you are at an early age is a valuable and irresistible thing.
I am always drawn to such people, they make life a complete joy.
The ones who refuse to follow trends, who are honest and forthright, who dance to a tune only they can hear.
This little chap seems to already have a handle on who he is.
Why do I think he will have a most interesting life?

photo via The Satorialist

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9. Jane Goodall

Everyone knows Dr. Jane Goodall is passionate about chimpanzees. Her life's work has been devoted to their study and welfare. There is a wonderfully prophetic photograph of her as a baby, clutching a toy chimpanzee close, a hint of what was to come in her life. But her love of animals and the natural world is far reaching. Consider this little known photograph above. That is a young Jane with a favourite dog named Rusty. Of Rusty, she says... "He was my childhood companion. We did everything together. He taught me about animal personality, mind and emotions..... I could never have left for Africa had Rusty still been alive. I could not have lived with such a sense of betrayal".

There are some people loose on the world who make it a much better place just by their presence. Jane Goodall is such a person to me. Her devotion to animals has been evident all of her life. Her important work with the chimpanzees of Gombe has spawned many books, all of which I can recommend. But the thing I most admire about Dr. Goodall is this - through all she has seen, the ignorance and cruelty of mankind included, she still remains hopeful. Do read her wonderful book, Reason For Hope, and you shall see why she is one of my heroes. I'm thankful we share the same planet.

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10. A Mirror

I could continue this list for hours, I suppose. But I'll conclude here with a mirror that I'm holding up to you. Take a look inside! I am so thankful for each of my wonderful readers. Your comments and emails mean very much to me as I continue to chronicle my quirky little journey on this little blue globe swinging out in the darkness. I try to always visit those who comment, but I know I often fall short of that goal, especially now at this busybusy time of year. But please know, each of you, how much I treasure your thoughts and comments. I am consistently amazed by the creativity and caring, the wit and the kindness, you all share with me every single day.
As a holiday thank you for all my readers, I am sharing an exclusive coupon code for my Etsy Shoppe. The coupon is good NOW through the upcoming shopping weekend, ending at midnight on Monday and anything in my shoppe is 20% off when you check out with the code - 77edward26cadogan
You can visit the shoppe HERE.

Thank you all,
and Happy Thanksgiving

40 comments:

  1. i loved it all...but number 3 got me...with tears in my eyes...to be LOVED by a dog....pure joy

    sending thanksgiving blessings to you and edward

    kary and teddy
    xxx

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  2. Dear Pamela, I wholeheartedly agree that Thanksgiving Day is certainly something which would make the most perfect American export. As you say, having a day on which one might find at least a moment to reflect on life's gifts is so very, very worthwhile.

    I read your list of 10 with much interest and, indeed a little tear in the eye when I came to the Songwriter.......but oh, how I wish that the Royal Family could become a British export!!!

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

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  3. I’m thankful for you and Edward and all the fellowship that comes with blogging. Thank you for reminding me about the joy of words and writing. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving...

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  4. Thanksgiving is definitely one of the best things about the US (and Canada!). As an expat, I get to enjoy it twice a year. I love your list - and the photo of Jane Goodall was a special treat. It's hard for me to imagine her being that young!

    Thank-you for the fabulous post!

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  5. A good many things for which to be grateful, Pamela. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

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  6. I'd never had Thanksgiving envy before I made so many american blogging friends!! This is a wonderful festival you have, enjoy every minute of it my friend, and than you for this delightful post.
    Sharon
    PS LOVE the picture of the little boy in the long socks!

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  7. Lovely images and touching & poetic top 10. Ah yes, to be chosen and loved by a Dog is a gift. This year everyone is bringing their dogs, and I dare say the people will barely outnumber the dogs! Wishing you & Edward & the Songwriter & Apple a wonderful Thanksgiving.

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  8. I am thankful for my friends and family.

    My children, Danielle and Daryl, who are smart, happy and friendly.

    My fiance, Susan, for her constant friendship, love and inspiration.

    My gift of seeing beauty in the ordinary.

    My cat, Nadine.

    The park down the street from where we live.

    And, allow me to conclude with this:

    I am reminded of a speech I wrote and delivered to 300+ people from the magazine industry a few years ago at a Holiday Luncheon in New York City:

    THIS HOLIDAY SEASON IS AN AWESOME TIME OF YEAR...
    A TIME FOR LOOKING FOR THE BEST IN OTHERS...
    A TIME FOR JOY IN BRIGHTENING OTHER LIVES WITH GENEROUS GIFTS.
    TWO YEARS AGO I SHARED WITH YOU SOME COMMENTS FROM CHILDREN
    ABOUT WHAT THEY LEARNED IN LIFE. AND THIS YEAR,
    WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT THE HOLIDAY SEASON,
    IS SEEING THE HOLIDAYS THROUGH THE EYES OF CHILDREN,
    FOR AS WE GET OLDER
    WE SOMETIMES GROW NUMB TO THE JOY.
    THIS YEAR, I AM REMINDED EVEN MORE THAN EVER
    THAT THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS ABOUT MUSIC, LIFE, AND LOVE.
    AND IN KEEPING WITH THE TRADITION STARTED THEN TWO YEARS AGO
    I AM TODAY REMINDED WHAT CHILDREN RECENTLY SAID
    WHEN ASKED THEIR FEELINGS ABOUT LOVE.
    ONE CHILD, AGE 6, SAID
    I'M IN FAVOR OF LOVE AS LONG
    AS IT DOESN'T HAPPEN WHEN THE SIMPSONS IS ON TV.'
    ANOTHER, AGE 7, SAID
    'IF FALLING IN LOVE IS ANYTHING LIKE LEARNING HOW TO SPELL,
    I DON'T WANT TO DO IT.'
    AND FINALLY, ONE CHILD SAID
    'I THINK YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO GET SHOT WITH AN ARROW OR SOMETHING
    BUT THE REST OF IT ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE SO PAINFUL.'
    LOOKING OUT AT YOU NOW I AM LASTLY REMINDED
    HOW THERE ARE TIMES IN OUR LIVES AS FRIENDS
    WHEN NOTHING MATTERS BUT CELEBRATION....
    I HOPE TODAY IS SUCH A DAY FOR YOU
    AND I WANT TO LEAVE YOU WITH ONE FINAL THOUGHT;
    IT IS, I BELIEVE,
    VERY IMPORTANT TO STOP AND EMBRACE
    THE SPECIAL EVENTS THAT MARK OUR LIVES...
    NOT THE SECONDS, MINUTES, HOURS..
    BUT THE OCCASIONS, BOTH SMALL AND LARGE,
    OF GREAT REJOICING...THE SMILE OF A CHILD,
    A TEENAGER'S LAUGHTER,
    SNOWMEN MADE FROM MARSHMALLOWS,
    THE MORNING SKY, MIGRATING GEESE,
    A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS,
    THE MOVIE IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE,
    SNOWBALL FIGHTS, A BABY CRYING,
    SNOW PILED HIGH, GINGERBREAD HOUSES,
    RED RIBBONS AND RED FACES,
    SEEING THE TREE IN ROCKEFELLER CENTER,
    AGAIN, WATCHING A LOVED ONE SLEEPING,
    CHILDREN GIGGLING,
    SO MANY TREASURES TO REMEMBER AND TO DISCOVER,
    TO GIVE THANKS FOR, LIKE LIFE, LIKE LOVE,
    LIKE YOU, HERE WITH US TODAY.
    THE GERMAN POET GOETHE SAID
    'NOTHING IS WORTH MORE THAN THIS DAY.'
    ISN'T THAT THE TRUTH

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  9. Sensational Pamela...every word! Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. I wish you, the Songwriter and Edward blessings of joy.

    Jeanne xxx

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  10. a very Happy Thanksgiving to also Pamela and hugs to Edward :)

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  11. Thanksgiving is a day that always has moments of quiet reflexion. Wishing you a very happy one.
    Catherine

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  12. Oh, oh, oh! Pamela! I laughed - I agree with you wholeheartedly about those aspects of this country you wouldn't recommend to your friends around the globe - and then I cried when I saw the picture of Princess Diana and her little boy.
    What a great post this is!

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  13. And... How could I forget? Happy Thanksgiving to you, the Songwriter and Edward.

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  14. Such a lovely and inspiring post. Our simple, national holiday; no gifts, the menu is set, goodwill and thanksgiving - and lovely bloggers such as yourself. Thankful I am, indeed.

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  15. I'm so pleased to read that you love the word salubrious ~ I learnt this word only recently and my very favourite new sentence is
    "in more salubrious climes" it just rolls of the tongue so very nicely.
    Oh! that sweet little boy ~ he's got spirit !!
    Joyful Thanksgiving Day ~ I only wish we celebrated such a day here.

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  16. I do love to read your posts. You have such a way with words and say the most important things. I think that little boy is very proud of his shoes!!! I am very impressed about your love of trees!!! I can just see you now with a book in your hand....

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  17. Lovely post Pamela. Happy Thanksgiving!

    For me it's the children (individuality features strongly here!), my mother and brothers all still being alive, and Twiglets and Marmite. Yum to the World of Savoury!

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  18. THANKS for a lovely thoughful post. THANKS for the link to Save the Words - am adopting 'penarious' as I can directly relate to it.

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  19. As usual you have painted perfect pictures.
    I am glad YOU, have Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, and not us (though we do have our own that I wouldn't wish on others!)
    I love each and every one of your ten things to be grateful for and In the mirror, I see reflected back not only me, but also so many other faces of people who have become very dear to me though we would pass on the street without recognition!
    I wish you, the Songwriter and Edward a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and hope that it is full of love and happy moments. xx

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  20. Pamela - thank you for the lovliest post ever. I so envy your command of the language. It is such a joy to read your blog. I read it over and over again. I agree that the love and faithfulness of a dog is one of the best things in life. Happy
    Thanksgiving to you, the songwriter and Edward.

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  21. Dear Pamela-I just wanted to thank you for your beautiful blog. You often write what's on my mind. I am currently reading Gerald Durrell's book, and you're right about the vocabulary in his book. Have a happy thanksgiving with your family.

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  22. Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Pamela and Edward...and the blue-eyed Songwriter, too :)

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  23. A wonderful list. My favs are Edward and the songwriter! To be so loved one doesn't need anything else. xo

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  24. Happy Thanksgiving to you Pamela, and to the Songwriter, Edward, and Apple, and all the joy they bring your heart. x

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  25. My dear, this post is exquisite and I shall read it many, many times.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by your love ones.

    Warm and friendly wishes -Mary

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  26. I realize I am smiling, but don't have words. Warmed, feeling grateful, LOVING the image of that Edward racing to you - and knowing how deep a love between species can be when the independence of each is honored - and Jane Goodall - well- who can say more?

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  27. A wonderful post Pamela - all such beautiful things and loved ones to be thankful for. I relate well to your love of trees and their place in our childhood. While I don't particularly like the meaning of my favourite word "recidivist" I love the sound of it. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

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  28. Beautiful, quirky, eclectic, heartwarm.

    So YOU!

    Thank you...for your prose, your heart opening and thought provoking words...

    Thanksgiving wishes to you...in their truest sense.

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  29. Your wonderful post is a great reminder of how many things there actually are to be thankful for. Words was a brilliant choice...you've done your duty in the march to have language respected and honored again, well done! Your other choices were very touching and sweet and gave us a look into your heart...thanks for sharing and thank you so very much for your beautiful use of words, they are always such a pleasure to read.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones, blue eyed and furry!
    xo J~

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  30. Hi Dear Pamela
    Wishing you and the songwriter.. and Edward & Co... a wonderful wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

    Sadly no such holiday here... but seems a good time for us all to reflect on what we are grateful for...

    Your list and words are as delightful as always... ciao ciao xxx Julie

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  31. Oh Pamela,
    This post is so lovely and it's great to read some of the things that you are grateful for. I always feel that there is a little bit of my country in all of your posts and I will reciprocate by having my own little piece of Thanksgiving (as we don't celebrate it) and think of all the things that I am grateful for, and there are so many.
    Wishing you, your family, Edward and Apple and everyone around your table, the most wonderful Thanksgiving. XXXX

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  32. A wonderful grateful post!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    xoxo
    Victoria

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  33. A wonderful grateful post!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    xoxo
    Victoria

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  34. I enjoyed every word of this post and I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. As for words, well.. I have read that Edward Lear made up runcible, as in runcible spoon and he used it all the time in different ways just because he liked the sound.

    This little boy is currently warming the cockles of my heart, grandson George http://tweet85amy-wwwblossom85.blogspot.com/2010/11/little-hands-mess.html

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  35. Beautiful post of gratitude, Pamela. Thank you for all the lovely reminders and for the link to Save the Words, - the books of Gerald Durrell are part of my past and you have given me a little nudge to re-read them. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, - how could you miss with all that appreciation in your heart.

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  36. Ah, so beautiful Pamela! I loved reading every word. I am late, but I do hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!

    H.H.

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  37. I do like your list. I could easily write a book of the things I am grateful for. I too was sucked into the vortex of enchantment with the Potter books, they sit right next to Lord of the Rings and Narnia, Grimm's and Anderson's fairy tales and The Arabian Nights. Sometimes it is essential to take a brake from life.

    Trees, singly or in whole forest communities, I would much rather live in a humpy in the forest like the hags of old than the most splendid city....
    with perhaps a friendly wolf... and beasts and birds of the wold who surround and accept me as part of the landscape....I can always dream on...

    I tend to giv thanks for so many things every waking moment, your blog is one of them.

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  38. Dear Pamela, thank you for another wonderful post. I loved My Family and Other Animals. Have you seen the British made film of it? I really enjoyed it and I think you will too. Hope all's very well with you xx

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  39. I have really missed your beautiful words since having a blog hiatus. I love the idea of save the words. I shall pop over there to have a look. I think language has got very sloppy these days, probably due to shortening words for texting. I also wish we had a Thanksgiving Day over here in the UK. It is a lovely idea. It was also really nice to hear you talk about your husband in such a lovely fashion. He sounds like a gem - hang on to him. Men like him are short on the ground.

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  40. I loved reading every word of this post. Feelings of nostalgia, sadness, delight, amusement, admiration .... and more.

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