Monday, November 21, 2011

A Pause Before the Turkey

It's been a tough year, right? And it's not over yet. But looking back over the past 11 months, there are a few things I will not give even a small "thanks" for. 

Let's start with the weather. In a word, it sucked. Except for a stretch of 3 or 4 weeks in late summer/early fall. But how about those tornadoes? I used to think it'd be cool to see one, for real, not on the weather channel or a high-budget sci-fi flick. No more. Anytime the skies begin turning green, the wind picks up, and distant sirens wail, I'm going to head for the basement and watch a stack of old movies on my hand-powered DVD player. 

Autumn was colorless, thanks to lack of rain. Winter hurt. Especially at 10 at night when my dog expects a walk. This winter I'm training her to use the flush toilet. And think of the plastic poop bags I'll save. 

The weather has become as unpredictable as the stock market. 

Onward to the Economy: Jobs. Demonstrations. Greed. Madoff Fall-out. China. The new four-letter dirty words: Bank. Debt. Rams. And a St. Louis County Executive who thinks the answer to balancing the budget is to close up County Parks, at the same time he's hiring administrative staff. An advanced case of muddled priorities. 'Nuff said.

Politics. The End of Bipartisanship. Ugly undercurrents. Nasty sound bytes and angry faces. Don't get me started. 

So here is what I give thanks for. My wife, my kids, my dog, my health. Good friends. My brother. The Cardinals. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. An occasional good movie and even some good TV, as in Dexter, Homeland, and the new Woody Allen doc. Good jazz available on a limited basis, the St. Louis Symphony, the blues (hear 'em, not have 'em), a right shoulder that still lets me serve and hit an occasional forehand winner. Sumatriptin (if you get migraines, you know what I'm talking about). And the joy of writing, which I don't do nearly enough of but enjoy when I do. Like this one.

Happy Thanksgiving.


  1. Enjoyed your post! Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

    Best - Marilyn

  2. Hats off to you Mr. Tell-it-like-it-is Mandel.

    I've had it with sniping (not snipers). Every dumb ass wise mouth has the answer but none of them knows the real question. You know? :)

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  3. Amen. If this year taught me anything, it's to believe that whole 2012 business might be for real!

  4. Thanks, you hoser. This year taught me patience, understanding, humility, the power of prayer, It taught me to accept the unexpected (whether it's good or bad) with grace, to pay attention to the good things and be thankful for them. I've seen beauty come out of some really horrible things and visa versa this year. I got a son back and a brother, and that's most important.

    Thanks again, for getting these ideas out of me.