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Enough of politics.

Let’s put politics away through this weekend – especially over Thanksgiving dinner, if we expect to keep our families intact and functional.

No, those holiday dinner political fights never work out well. We had one such doozy at an extended-family gathering 14 years ago and the family has remained generationally fractured ever since.

I mean, we’re talking cleaving where once there was love and fondness. All blown away over one gathering gone very bad.

Keen advice here: No politics this Thanksgiving. Nerves remain far too raw and the downside is far too great for any minor gratification of personal pontification.

Chill out. Keep your cool. That’s what I’m going to keep telling myself as this Thursday I enter the enclave of that original mega family fracture mentioned above.

Pivoting – my son Chris and wife Trish have a practice with their two young children at bedtime. Each night, Chris and Trish light a candle at bedside and read a story or two.

Then everyone in the room recounts one thing they’re thankful for from that day and one thing that made them happy. Mom, Dad and the kids each share words of thanks and joy.

They then blow out the candle, give kisses and hugs, and off to dreamy-dream land the kids go with happy thoughts and a great attitude to kick of the next day.

They’re building lives of gratitude and joy from the ground, up. So smart! A graciousness- and joy-centered life!

We miss the thankful part in live too often, even while surrounded by the trappings of our middle-class and upper-middle-class Awesome mecca.

It’s easy to let the traffic congestion, the weather, an adverse headline, an election result, a tiff with a friend or loved one knock us off our balance.

Maybe we should all light effectual candles each night and recount our gratitude before heading into the night in preparation for the next day.

Thankfulness is an act of understanding that we are indeed dependent on those who’ve loved us and given for us and sacrificed for us.

This may be in matters of faith, matters of practicality, and matters of patriotic service. It might be neighbors, fathers, mothers, friends, civic, educational, and social leaders.

Thankfulness is parked right next to humility as it takes a certain measure of humility to recognize that one’s good fortune is generally tied to the giving and caring of so many others.

“She” may have lost, but she was right when she said, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and anyone saying anything else is stubbornly dogmatic, refusing to see the contribution of teachers, public servants, family and friends and so many others who build each individual life around us.

Thankfulness recognizes all these contributions by the oh-so-many people in our lives. Looking around, even for those of us who’ve gotten less than we wanted or suffered more than we wished, there are so many who’ve stopped at some time to reach out and care.

Reciprocating, thankfulness is also remembering that we personally have social and moral obligations to reach out beyond our comfort zones to help others.

It’s Wednesday today, and Thanksgiving tomorrow, and we still have a day to light a candle on our tables and pull out paper and list a few of those who’ve helped, blessed, taught, fed, cared and loved us.

Even the gruffest of us can do this – and it’s almost guaranteed to return a smile on our faces.

For me, one such person was William Roskam. We began our friendship with Bill as my insurance agent when I first started my little landscape company 35 years ago.

He saw something in me I didn’t see and he encouraged me to reach far further educationally and socially. He gifted me a subscription to The Economist magazine early on, and I have to admit I struggled to get through the verbiage back then, it being written at a collegiate level from which I was then far removed.

Roskam had a PhD in economics from the University of Redlands, and he encouraged me through my BA and, later, an MBA. “Bill” even helped my daughter get a nearly full-ride scholarship to Redlands.

This guy I first met as an insurance agent completely bent my life’s trajectory. Bill Roskam should have a thousand candles lit for all he gave to me and everyone he knew and for all the vigor with which he lived and loved and cared.

I’ve got a lot of folks like that in my life. Carrie is at the top of that list, and the list could continue until I’d fill the paper and the editors would reject my column.

So, I’ll stop my list right now, but I’ll encourage you to make your own before Thursday – and take that list, and not politics, into your Thanksgiving dinner. You’ll have one for the ages – in all the best of ways.

May you have a happy and gracious Thanksgiving!

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.

 

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  • indy

    Agreed.

  • nohatejustdebate

    Gary, you were doing so well and then you had to insert your own political cheap shot when you said, ““She” may have lost, but she was right when she said, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and anyone saying anything else is stubbornly dogmatic”

    Why couldn’t you have followed your own advice and kept politics out of it? As for me, I’m thankful that “She” lost.

  • James de Bree

    I enjoyed this column.

  • robert stauffer

    I wonder what would have happened to truth and justice had she won?

    Thank God she lost!

    How about the slogan ‘I’m with America’ ?
    ‘I’m with her’ was so divisive.

  • hopeful

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my Signal friends!

  • Gary Horton

    Thanks James, and all.

    BTW, James, you’re on a tear! Nice columns for our community.

    Everyone, let’s put down the knives for a couple of days and lift up our forks, instead!

    Best holidays to all!

    – Gary

    • James de Bree

      Gary,

      Thanks for the comment about my columns.

      Jim

  • phil ellis

    Way to go WIndy? Only one word and you were able to completely convey your thoughts.

  • noonan

    It doesn’t take a village Gary, it takes a competent mother AND father, something the left avoids talking about like the plague.

  • Nishka

    Gary another great opinion column.
    And you are right:
    “She” may have lost, but she was right when she said, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and anyone saying anything else is stubbornly dogmatic, refusing to see the contribution of teachers, public servants, family and friends and so many others who build each individual life around us.”

  • Nishka

    “Light a candle of thanks in your life”
    I don’t light a candle but I do give thanks for being an American Citizen and having the privilege of living in this
    glorious country of ours !!!!

    LIFE IS GOOD !!!!! BINGO !!!!!

  • nohatejustdebate

    “Everyone, let’s put down the knives for a couple of days and lift up our forks, instead!”

    On that we can agree, Gary. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    And I love the story about how Chris and Trish are raising your grandchildren. The seeds of gratitude they’re sowing now will reap tremendous benefits of humility, wisdom, and love for a lifetime. Well done.

  • tech

    Nicely done and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Gary!

  • Gary Horton

    Hi all,

    So, about that “Village thing” that created so much flack decades ago, and is still apparently a hot button:

    It surely does take a good dad and a good mom. Those go oh, so very far. And those that don’t have them really suffer, especially compared to those who do. Thankfully, most do, but many don’t.

    But for those who do: Even a great mom and a dad alone won’t really cut it. We are not tribes-people, living off the land in the forest, We are not just mom and dad and kids foraging about. No. We live in communities. With streets and roads and parks and public spaces and traffic lights and good guys and bad guys and we need cops and firemen and for many, teachers, and internet providers and authors and writers and the nice lady next door and the guy down the street who helped us build our kites and the life long friend we made across the way and at our boy scout class. For even for those with great parents, it is somewhat plain, that save living as animals alone in the forest, it takes a village to create a modern, civilized life. OUR LIVES ARE INTERTWINED.

    This is the view of how things seem to me. This is not commie or democracy, it’s not red or blue. It is simply stating the way things are in our real world. WE ARE INTERCONNECTED AND INTERDEPENDENT.

    We can home school, but if our house burns, we still need a fireman. By the way, we likely needed a home builder to build it in the first place. Which means we needed a thoughtful mortgage lender, too. And a regulator who kept the guy from ripping us off.

    But – for those who didn’t luck out with two good parents: Some have one, some have none, and some just have truly terrible parents and would be better with none: Well, for these, they need a village really, really bad. Some may need a village of faith. Maybe a village of medical providers – but these need to be paid for, so how? Maybe mental care help – and these aren’t aren’t free, either, and they have to come from somewhere, and they had to get their training somehow.

    Oh, how we are intertwined.

    Sometimes we may need an army. Two parents won’t keep out the commies, the ISIS folks, the crushing yellow hoard, or whatever bad guys we’ve drummed up, real or imagined. Two parents do no good against ISIS onslaughts coming up the street.

    I state the obvious.

    I don’t understand why discussing our interconnectedness is so fraught with reaction for some. It does not denigrate God, or the sanctity of parenting, or of homeschooling or anything – to discuss our community responsibility to one another – and ADMIT our community dependency on one another.

    This Thanksgiving, I am THANKFUL for the community in which I live. For my kids’ past teachers, for the cops that helped us, for our great neighbors, for our church communities here, for the guys who recently repaved our street and for the Stay Green guys who trimmed our trees. The list, like the list I mentioned in my column, goes on forever. I’m thankful for our community Signal – that makes all this give and take possible.

    I’m really thankful for the village I’ve called home here in Santa Clarita. And for all the good actors who’ve played so crucial parts within it.

    – Gary

  • nohatejustdebate

    Gary, I wasn’t struck by the “Village thing” which you admitted has caused flack. I was just surprised why you would bring up something with such political overtones in an otherwise beautifully written column designed to help us temporarily forget about politics. I think you could have made your point without referring to the elephant in the room. Or should I say donkey?

    Regardless, your point about lighting a candle of thanks in our lives was well taken.

  • tech

    “I don’t understand why discussing our interconnectedness is so fraught with reaction for some.”

    I’ll address this after the Thanksgiving Holiday rationally with quotes and references if you’re genuinely puzzled, Gary. I’m skeptical that you are. 😉 ?