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BLESSINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR

Dear Readers: Since today is Thanksgiving, what better time to pause for a moment and reflect upon all of the blessings for which to be thankful? As part of the celebration, I'm repeating the traditional Thanksgiving column, first written by my mother.

How's your health? Not so good? Well, thank God you've lived this long. A lot of people have not been so fortunate. You're hurting? Thousands -- maybe millions -- are hurting even more. (Have you ever volunteered at a nursing home? Homeless shelter? A rehabilitation clinic for adults or children?)

If you awakened this morning able to hear the birds sing, use your vocal cords to speak, walk to the breakfast table on two good legs, and read the newspaper with two good eyes -- praise the Lord! A lot of people couldn't.

How's your pocketbook? Thin? Well, most of the world is a lot poorer. In fact, one-third of the people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.

Are you lonely? Then remember the way to have a friend is to be one. If nobody calls you, pick up the phone and call someone.

Are you concerned about our country's future? Hooray! Our political system has been saved by such concern. In this great country of ours, you can worship at the church of your choice, cast a secret ballot, and you can even criticize your government without fearing a knock on the head or a knock on the door at midnight. And if you want to live under a different political system, you are free to go. There are no walls or fences -- nothing to keep you here.

A final thought: Want an instant high? The surest way to beat the holiday blues is to do something nice for someone else. Why not call a person who lives alone and invite him or her to dinner?

Better yet, call and say, "I'm coming to get you, and I'll see that you get home." (Some older people don't drive, and those who do may not like to be behind the wheel after dark.)

Try it. And please let me know the results.

And now, I'll repeat the Thanksgiving Prayer that was penned by my mother years ago. My Thanksgiving would not be complete without it:

Oh, heavenly Father,

We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.

We thank thee for health and remember the sick.

We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service,

That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

-- Love, Abby
P.S. We have much to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day. For those of you with a little time to spare -- how about showing our gratitude to veterans by visiting a veterans hospital and raising the spirits of those who have served our country in years past?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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