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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Counting Blessings

Thanksgiving Day — an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Ah, the past year; it has indeed seen a multitude of turkey droppings and cancel culture edicts throwing wrenches into not only Thanksgiving, but to many of the other holidays and celebrations

Thanksgiving Day — an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

Ah, the past year; it has indeed seen a multitude of turkey droppings and cancel culture edicts throwing wrenches into not only Thanksgiving, but to many of the other holidays and celebrations we Americans have become so accustomed to over the years. But this is a new year. Vaccines are helping to provide protection. Many are heeding the words of that old 1844 Thanksgiving poem penned by Lydia Maria Child to go “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go.” Indeed, it is time to party like it is 1621.

Hopefully, Thursday, you will be able to gather with loved ones to count your blessings and tell those time-honored tales that are always a part of family celebrations. We wish you the very best, but I must render a ‘reader’s warning.’ The rest of this column is personal.

Ever since our two children, Denise and Doug, flew from the nest to begin their own new lives and families, Jean has asked them to come home to observe Thanksgiving. They have willingly honored her request. As the guest list and grandchildren grew, our home was akin to a campsite; the children’s table in the living room, folks sleeping wherever they could find a space, and our own Thanksgiving traditions developed, including the staple of watching the Dallas Cowboys on TV.

COVID snapped that tradition in 2020. There was no family Thanksgiving gathering, nor was there one at Christmas. Family meals, laughter, and camaraderie were replaced by a Zoom computer screen meeting. Seeing faces was fun, but it sure wasn’t the same.

As the 2021 summer arrived, it appeared things were getting back to somewhat normal, and then along came the Delta variant. On the day the 20th anniversary of the horrific events of 9/11 was being observed, Doug called with word of our own family nightmare. Daughter-in-law Angie was rushed to the hospital with what would be diagnosed as COVID-pneumonia. Several difficult days followed before we got the news that it became necessary for her to be put on a ventilator.

For twelve agonizing days, we waited, prayed, and hoped for signs of improvement. On October 1, with Angie still on the ventilator, we gathered at Denise’s home in Camp Hill to attend grandson Tucker’s Big Spring high school football game that evening. During a key point in the game, Tucker intercepted a Camp Hill pass and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown. The play was featured that evening on the TV sportscast, and Doug recorded it on his phone.

Almost miraculously, three days later, the doctors said Angie’s vital signs had improved to the point they were taking her off the ventilator. As she regained consciousness, the first thing she saw was the replay of Tucker’s touchdown via Doug’s phone. Tears all around.

Once discharged from the hospital, with the doctors telling us she was VERY lucky, she faced weeks of rehab to regain her strength. As the end of October arrived, she was determined she was going to walk across the football field with Tucker on his Senior Night without using her walker. Thankfully, that mission was accomplished. Then sitting in the stands, she watched Tucker grab another interception that proved to be a key play as the Bulldogs upset Steel High that, at the time, was the state’s #1 team riding a 20-game winning streak.

Big Spring finished the regular season with a 7-3 record that qualified them for only their second District 3 playoff appearance in school history. With her strength improving, Angie accompanied the family to Lancaster for the Bulldogs game against favored Conrad Weiser. In a fairytale-like occurrence, once again, Tucker intercepted a pass thwarting a CW drive helping his team to a 49-35 win.

Over the years, this column has reported on numerous instances where sports have become somewhat bigger than life in creating very special memories. Our family has now experienced that very special phenomenon. Indeed, for us, Thanksgiving 2021 will be a very thankful one!

On a lighter note, here’s one for your Thanksgiving gathering, courtesy of our recent church messenger.

Two little boys, ages eight and ten, were always getting into trouble, and their parents didn’t know what to do about it. When they heard that a pastor in town had been successful in talking to children, the boys’ mother asked if he would speak to her boys. The pastor agreed, but he asked to see them individually.

The mother sent the 8-year-old in first. The pastor, a large man with a booming voice, sat the younger boy down and asked him sternly, “Do you know where God is, son?” The boy’s mouth dropped open, and he made no response.

The pastor repeated the question in an even sterner tone, “Where is God?” Again, the boy made no attempt to answer. The pastor looked him squarely in the eyes and said again, “WHERE IS GOD?”

The boy screamed and bolted from the room. When his older brother saw him, he asked, “What happened?”

The younger brother, gasping for breath, said, “We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing, and they think we did it!”

A sincere Happy Thanksgiving to all — count your blessings!

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