Darkness encompasses the morning; lying patiently in wait to welcome the early riser. Ascending at a later hour, the day-star casts its pale light across the land. Its scant glow illuminates the grandest of structures and humblest of hovels equally. Filtered through the bare branches, its warmth draws mist from the fallen colors cast aside below. Long meadow grasses glisten, as dew drops fall, to join the rushing stream and babbling brook. All is at peace as the woodlands find the life and light of a new day.

Nature reluctantly gives way, by no choice of its own. Parting and yielding, allowing the growing light of dawn to touch upon the barren fields and farms. A lone scarecrow, with nary a crow to his name or scare left in his straw heart, looks blankly through black button eyes upon the vast emptiness all round. ‘Tis the time of harvest and the fruits of labor have been gathered. Stocked and stored, awaiting in readiness for the long chill of the months ahead.

Autumn’s brilliance is passing and winter’s lusterless matte will soon lay siege to this land. Bringing with it a season of cold and death. Yet within the midst of its freezing grasp and frozen breath there is an underlying sense of joy and good cheer. A time of adulation and celebration to warm even the coldest of hearts will soon be arriving. Joyful tunes carried on tinseled boughs, handsels warmly given, with smiles on faces young and old; and the promise carried of a child long ago born as lagniappes.

But first another ritual takes precedence. Not one of receiving but that of giving. Congregating of family, friends and loved ones alike. To gather ‘round the table, share and rejoice in the bountiful harvest and annual prosperities. A time of Thanksgiving…

“What in the holy hello is this?” I ask, as my secretary- The Secretary (why anyone would name their kid “The” is beyond me) pulls back from the keyboard. “Well… Mr. Chainsaw sir, you said I could concoct an article this week in your stead. And I felt that a poetic Thanksgiving theme would be…” I interrupt, “The, I said you could write a column…not rape Merriam Webster’s! Seriously… lagniappes? Who even knows what that means?” (lagniappes: /,lan ‘yap/ (noun) something given as a bonus or extra gift.) “Stop that! It’s too late to start typing in definitions!” I scold, “And Thanksgiving? Look at this year The. What exactly would anyone have to give thanks for???” She falls silent… I do not.

Should we begin by being thankful for the pandemic that set the tone for the year? Fear and face masks eternal for everybody, because that crap is still going on! Followed by a half-a**ed quarantine, which people were too stubborn or stupid to follow (‘Merica) so ­— “Hey, more pandemic for everyone!” Desperate searches for hoarded toilet paper! Hoping the food and money doesn’t run out before you get to go back to work, if you still had a job to go back to. And what better way to spend your quarantine than by instating a riot? Peaceful protests filled with wanton destruction and mindless violence. Oh, and let us not forget Mother Nature’s contributions: hurricanes, floods and giant bee-killing bees! All this in the most ridiculous election year our country has ever known. To top it off they discontinued my favorite brand of peanut butter (Peter Pan Honey-Roasted, FYI). Not to mention…”

There is a soft sob, tear tracks run from behind fogged spectacles. “I’m sorry sir… I just thought, with the world in such a state, perhaps a thankful bit of hope might…” “Might what, The? People suck, the world’s a mess and… damnit… finding something to be thankful for might remind someone there’s still a spark of hope left…” She smiles, “It only takes a spark sir.”

Fine… fine but let’s lose the dramatics and keep it simple! What applies to one may not even exist for the other. So we’ll go for what we know for sure and go from there.

You… yes YOU! If you’re reading this you’re literate and alive, so there are two things you cannot deny being be thankful for. Because if you weren’t then I couldn’t be thankful for you, taking the time, to read this!

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected]. Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused. See ya.