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Posted by: Helen Philpot | November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Letter to the Family 2013

Dear Family,

This war on Thanksgiving has gone too far.  Bacon, butter, sugar and cream are as important to Thanksgiving as the damn turkey.  Vegetarians, God help them, have always managed to graze through my table and find enough to satisfy them.  And if they stumbled upon a piece of bacon or two… well nobody has died in all the years I’ve put this meal on the table. But this latest request for a gluten-free meal has gone too far.   A gluten-free Thanksgiving is like a rainy day – gray and soggy.  I ain’t gonna do it, honey. Get mad, get glad or scratch your ass, it don’t make a difference to me.  My Thanksgiving meal will have some gluten in it just as sure as a pig’s ass is pork.  And we just might have some of that, too.

The holidays are not a time for dieting.  This family has tried more diets than I can shake a stick at and somehow we still manage to have more backside than most.  If you’re worried about how many calories are in my meal, I suggest you park your car a mile from the house and walk your fat ass the rest of the way.  It’s not what you’re eating sweetie.  It’s the fact that your sofa has become the new playground and your children spend more time on their electronic devices than your grandpa did on the pot.  Gluten free my ass.  Get out and get some fresh air and sunshine.

And now that we have that out of the way, let’s get down to brass tacks.

1.)    Your children can have as much soda and cookies as they please.  This is grandma’s house for goodness sakes.

 2.)    Your cell phones at Thanksgiving are about as useful as a pocket on the back of your shirt.  If you actually have one of those, put your cellphone there because if I see it at the dinner table, you won’t see it again until Christmas.

 3.)    Mary is pregnant again.  Everyone bring an extra pie.  And somebody keep an eye on her other rugrats.  I swear, those kids could trip over a cordless phone.

 4.)    Iced tea without sugar is like Thanksgiving without gluten.  I think I’ve said enough on that subject.

 5.)    The stuffing has bacon.  It also has bacon grease and butter.  I dare you not to have seconds.

 6.)    Rhonda, honey, you’re wife number two.  WE can talk about number one but you can’t.  Just be thankful there’s not a number three.

 7.)    Brian and Sylvia, when I told you not to bring anything, I meant it.  If Cloe is not allowed to bring her Jell-O crap, you are not allowed to bring your fruit cake, your zucchini bread or your cleverly disguised broccoli in pasta salad.  I serve the same meal my mother did fifty years ago.  When I die, you can decide if you want to carry on the tradition. Until then, bring just yourself and an appetite.

 8.)    Gluten.  You probably don’t even know what it is.

 At my age, every meal could be my last.  I’m thankful we’ll be having this one together again.  Let’s make the most of it.  Turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, sweet corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, homemade bread, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie, more pie…   What’s not to like?  In memory of your Grandfather, the back yard has horseshoes and the back fridge has beer.  Drink until it is gone.  The damn stuff is probably ripe with gluten, but I prefer wine anyway.  One from each family needs to be the designated driver.  I mean it really.

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  1. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new
    scheme in our community. Your site offered us with helpful info to
    work on. You have done an impressive task and
    our whole neighborhood will probably be thankful to you.

  2. I love you, Helen! Thank you.

  3. our tax dollars at work!!!!!!!

  4. no Anon…I’m not offended by Duck Dynasty…
    A&E had an agent there to stop any comments and didn’t….I think it was a ploy between A&E and Walmart to sell more DD stuff for Christmas
    And before you go all homophobic on me, I don’t really care if some guy sucks another guys dick but if he then tries to swap spit with me I’m going to hit him.

  5. And if this doesn’t work for you either don’t come or just sit nicely without eating anything. That works for me.

  6. UAW-can we assume you were just as outraged about the Duck Dynasty comments?

  7. A belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all…

    and to finish out the year MSNBC just had to one more time

    MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry apologizes for attack on Mitt Romney’s adopted black grandson

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/sarah-palin-msnbc-mitt-romney-attack-article-1.1562152#ixzz2p4aTsoEP

  8. Helen, surely you and Margaret will have some end-of-2013 ideas to share with us… I hope?

  9. What’s New Years without a review?

    2013 – Year in CRAZY:

    Part the First


    Part the Second

    Do we even need cartoons anymore. ;)

    Peace ~ Δ

  10. re: officer stops speeding woman.

    Many years ago, I had an older cousin, Edna, who had really been a rounder in her day. She spent her youth buzzing around the mountain roads of West Virginia on big Harleys with her (several!) husbands and flying a Piper Cub in and out of the various hayfields deep in the hollows – a daunting prospect even today with modern aircraft. In her spare time she taught second grade, and was reputed to have even run a local cat house from time to time.

    One fine summer day in the late ‘thirties, she was zooming down some two-lane road or other in her red convertible, when she saw a flashing red light in her mirror. (Yes, they were red in those days.)

    She pulled over, and the local constable sauntered up to her door. “You got a license to fly, Young Lady?”

    Edna looked him in the eye and said, “Why, as a matter of fact, I do!” And pulled out her pilot’s license.

    The constable had never met a real pilot before, and certainly not a pretty girl who was one. He stuttered a few times, said “Shit!”, turned around and walked back to his car.

    No speeding ticket THAT day. LOL

  11. Hey Jean – What do you think of this? You could create a “world orchestra” as well.



  12. Hi Congenial Gang,

    This seems appropriate for the after-Christmas slump and before the New Year’s Celebration. I’m especially thinking of you, lori and Whirled Peas.

    A Texas woman is stopped by a police officer. She rolls down her window and asks, “Is there a problem, Officer?
    Officer: Ma’am, you were speeding.
    Woman: Oh, I see.
    Officer: Can I see your license please?
    Woman: I’d give it to you but I don’t have one.
    Officer: Don’t have one?
    Woman: Lost it 4 times for drunk driving.
    Officer: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please.
    Woman: I can’t do that.
    Officer: Why not?
    Woman: I stole this car.
    Officer: Stole it?
    Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.
    Officer: You what?
    Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see.
    The Officer looks at the woman, slowly backs away to his car, and calls for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.
    Officer 2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle
    The woman steps out of her vehicle.
    Woman: Is there a problem sir?
    Officer 2: One of my officers told me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.
    Woman: Murdered the owner?
    Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.
    The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.
    Officer 2: Is this your car, ma’am?
    Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers.
    The first officer is stunned.
    Officer 2: One of my officers claims that you do not have a driving license.
    The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out a clutch purse and hands it to the officer. The officer snaps open the clutch purse and examines the license. He looks quite puzzled.
    Officer 2: Thank you ma’am, one of my officers told me you didn’t have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner.
    Woman: Betcha the lying bastard told you I was speeding too!
    The officer apologized for the inconvenience and sent her on her way.

    Aloha! :-)   Namaste. Shalom. Salaam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  13. Merry Christmas, Margaret, Helen & friends!

  14. A late but heartfelt Merry Christmas greetings to Margaret & Helen and to all the porch and pie fans past and present!

  15. Merry Christmas Helen, Margaret, Matthew, and the rest of the porch!

  16. Merry Christmas everyone!

  17. Feliz Navidad !!!

    Robert Earl Keene:
    Merry Christmas from the Family



  18. Merry Christmas All !!!

    Straight No Chaser:
    The 12 Days of Christmas

    Peace ~ Δ

  19. Hey, Marzie –

    The world is full of choices to be made. People with special food requirements (you: no gluten; me: no salt), and I think we need to do our best to take care of ourselves. I’m sure you do! But I don’t expect anyone else to tailor his or her cooking/entertaining/serving to suit me. It’s always “nice” if someone can and does, but certainly not required.

    I think it’s the “fussing” that Helen is addressing, not the actual need. I could lecture my husband endlessly about his drinking five or six diet sodas a day, and I don’t. And I don’t eat “fast food,” or processed meats of any kind… But if someone else wants to do so, that’s their business, not mine. (Lordy, but I miss prosciutto and Genoa salami!!)

    And somebody just sent us a “wine country gift basket” full of delicious-looking goodies – crackers, dip mix, cheeses, tapenade, and so on – none of which I can eat, darn it. But I’m just going to say, “Thank you so much; it all looks wonderful!” And that’ll do it.

    Hope you have a wonderful and satisfying holiday, full of good things you can happily (and safely) eat – like prosciutto and Genoa salami!


  20. Hey, Whirled, and EVERYBODY!

    Wishing us all a wondrous holiday season of kindness, compassion, joy, and gratitude… This is our planet; we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers… If this season – a celebration of our eternal hope that “the light” will return again – reminds me of anything, it is those things.

    May we all be a part of “the light” and shine as brightly as we can!


  21. Wishing a Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Helen and Margaret and to all those sitting on the porch and to those just passing by.


  22. Happy Holidays Everyone!

    Just stopped by to spread some cheer:

    Elizabeth Warren lends her support to
    Texas gubernatorial hopeful Wendy Davis.

    The GOP knows that Wendy Davis is special, and they are scared that her victory in 2014 could turn the tide against Republican victories in Texas. National Republicans have already dumped an astonishing $21 million into her opponent’s campaign war chest.

    I know it sounds tough to overcome odds like that. But I want you to remember something: When I decided to run for the Senate, Scott Brown already had a $10 million in the bank, and Wall Street was ready to spend bazillions more to help him. Lots of people said we couldn’t win.

    Turn Texas Blue!

    Peace ~ Δ

  23. Helen, I have loved you and Margaret for years, and contributed to your blog, but this time, you’re in the wrong. Gluten: I know what it is. I have celiac disease and continued exposure to gluten will make me sick as a dog and put me at risk of T-cell lymphoma. You can learn about it here:


    Your attitude about people who may truly need gluten free foods disappoints me. We agree on just about everything else, but you evidently don’t give a “pig’s ass” about whether I or any other celiac sufferer would be sick as a dog eating at your home? Tell me it ain’t so? Because you’re sounding as ignorant as Sarah, Michele and Megyn in this post.

  24. The King of soul singing my song. :) PERFECTION! XO TY PI

  25. Yes, a shout out to mageen, Alaskapi and to you Gato–even the folks who hate my guts.. It doesn’t matter who or what you are. If you are young there is time enough to forget, but the people to whom I directed my comments don’t have any more time than I do. This is more than my second rodeo. I have learned a few things.

    As you know, a normal discussion or debate features someone saying I believe this, and here is why. The protagonist says I don’t accept your view, and I have proof.

    A person with a weak case says “wait. What about this?”, when it is a bauble meant to distract or alter the subject. Or one can say, your proof is tainted because that citation comes from liars and jerks. Failing that, he/she says you are evil. How dare you threaten my beliefs?

    We see that happen on television and elsewhere,, and it is obvious to viewers who has won the argument.

    We had a little discussion once, and you ended it by writing something like “lets agree to disagree.” I respect that.

    If one becomes preoccupied with someone or something and attacks whenever a person attracts attention,, it might be perseveration.

    We are home for a day and a half, so there is no excuse for any misspelled words today.

  26. This is a special shout out to lori ;-)

    It’s solstice!
    Best wishes to Helen and Margaret, mageen, cynthia, delurkergurl, JJ, jsri, Auntie Jean, easier, Donna (somewhere), gato, and everyone else… including UAW, James, and the anonys-ad-infinitum

  27. Another Oops! Sorry. Double post.

    Auntie Jean

  28. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Cynthia and Gato too. Hope you have a nice Winter Solstice Day. Brrrr!

    Sorry Cynthia, we didn’t receive the invitation to your party in time to send our regrets. Maybe next year. But just in case, who doesn’t love homemade soup and/or chili? Those have bailed me out many a time.

    Aloha! :-) :-) :-0 Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  29. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Cynthia and Gato too. Hope you have a nice Winter Solstice Day. Brrrr!

    Sorry Cynthia, we didn’t receive the invitation to your party in time to send our regrets. Maybe next year. But just in case, who doesn’t love homemade soup and/or chili? Those have bailed me out many a time.

    Aloha! :-) :-) :-) Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  30. Merry Christmas to you and yours Helen and Margaret! Merry Christmas to all on the porch! Season’s greetings to all! And may you all have a Happy New Year!

  31. gato – Happy Winter Solstice to you! I have a small party planned to celebrate the WS. There is a pile of trimmings and branches I have been gathering up over time waiting for a time to burn. It has gotten too big to add more. I envisioned us sitting in the snow watching the fire sparking and crackling into the night sky…perhaps with a light snow falling. Unfortunately, the snow is melting and the weather report calls for rain tomorrow night. So I guess it will be home made soup or chili, sitting in the mud with rain coming down…..alone with the dog….the only one who won’t call with regrets!


  32. James – Thanks for reminding me about Mageen. Haven’t heard from her (him?) for a while, so here’s a shout-out to you, Mageen! And a happy new year to you!

    Actually, James, you have no idea how old I am, my gender, my desired gender, my partner/spouse/GF/BF, children, no children… Or who I really am, or what I do when I’m not typing things on this blog. Isn’t that amazing?

    I may have fabricated everything you’ve read here from me… Including every story I’ve ever told, every detail of my “history,” every opinion I seem to have, every comment I’ve ever made about anything you’ve ever said. And you’re not likely to ever know what I’ve invented, and what I haven’t. Isn’t that interesting…?


  33. Gato, I am not writing about you.

    I am writing about jsri and a few others. Unlike you, they have reacted to my presence like Pavov’s dog, Something else is going on in their heads, and they attack me with emotion. My presence offends them, and even something innocuous sets them off For example, I thanked Mageen for wishing us a happy Veterans Day, and one of those people launched a tirade.

    Someone once told me I had “gotten” to one of these people. So, I know at least one person who is or has been angry. Since they have invested years feeling whatever emotions they feel, and since they, like me won’t live long enough for time to erase such memories, there isn’t time to forget.
    that jerk who hectored them.

    One person and I don’t like each other, and we without communicating have made a tacit agreement to ignore each other as people. Jsri and another continue to react to me. Something is different with them. If we were in our thirties or forties, I would agree with you, but since the people I am writing about are as old as I or older time is too short.

    I’m nor upset with words on a computer screen, and our grand daughter is more important than internet fights, but I find the different reactions fascinating.. like a lab experiment

  34. James – And you are my generic respondee here, no more, and no less …

    I think it’s important to remember that this is the internet, and we’re writing comments on a blog, which is not real life, in any way. Many of you have taken on a genuine reality to me: Lori, the Terri(y)s, Auntie Jean, jsri, Alaskapi, and so many others. (Please forgive me, those of you whose names I’ve neglected to mention.) I cannot help but notice that Margaret and Helen, whoever they may be, only post when they have something to say. They might be Matthew; it doesn’t matter. We would do well to follow their example.

    No, you are not going to stay in someone’s head forever, no matter how much you may wish it, or however much John Denver sings it. You will disappear, at some point, as did the infamous Pfesser, after a good run. The good run is what counts, after all.

    You can make that your choice, or you can wait until we do it for you. Either way, it will happen. You will return to your granddaughter, your cross-country skiing, and all those other things you do.

    Meanwhile, I am grateful that this “porch” has invited all of us to speak freely (and eat bacon and stuffing, and whatever), and wish everybody a wonderful Winter Solstice, a return to our place in the light, and a joyous New Year…


  35. Jsri, I only declare myself right when I am and can prove it. Of course I am sometimes wrong and so are you when making snarkey insults about people we have never met, but I am talking about current events and politics

    I like that Gato. In my case, I have earned it. You are surrigates for another battle.

    We are old, and none of us has much time left. Thus we don’t have many days to forget Given your obsession, I will be in your head jsri for the rest of your days. “I may come easy, but I don’t come free. Baby, you’ll never see the last of me.” John Denver

  36. Gato:

    So am I but he makes it too easy.

  37. Hi, JSRI – What’s truly magnificent is the ability to convey arrogance, condescension, self-justification, intrusiveness, psychological analysis, and musical suggestions, all in one fell swoop… Don’t know how he does it – and on such an old computer, too, evidently, while caring for the granddaughter, mucking out the stalls, and shoveling the front forty, all at the same time. You gotta be impressed…


    (PS: I must say that I’m losing a grip on the usefulness of all this…!)

  38. I fear that if I ever search Google for a definition of density, the name James will come up.

  39. James,
    jsri said he wrote articles about technology, not technical articles. There’s a difference.
    And declaring yourself “right” does not make you so.

  40. Jsri you told us you wrote technical articles, and if I wrote you were such a writer by occupation, I was wrong. i skimmed as you do. But you did write technical articles, and you display little of the intellectual rigor required for such pursuits.My point survives My question also remains. What happened to you?

    I’m surprised you actually listened to some of the songs. You should listen to something more to your taste, because you appear to be overwrought. Music will calm you.

    Your latest attack is more evidence that I am a thorn in your finger. Otherwise, why would you bother? Animotion “you’re my obsession.”

    I only brought up the “being right” schict to counter insults and because I often am right. A high school teacher told us to make no claims we can’t prove. You don’t have to accept or reject my stated motivations, because it doesn’t matter. I am still here, and you know why. I can usually document what I claim. If you make unsubstantiated claims, someone should challenge you.

    Gato, while we are helping care for our grand daughter, I often use a laptop computer so slow, words don’t appear on screen until a minute of so after I type them. I type fast, and I usually don’t proof read to save time. If you were an editor, reading my stuff must be like fingers across a black board. Sorry about that.

    Yes, it is Charles the columnist.

  41. James: I thought for a few minutes that you had gotten the message and was backing away from your intrusive behavior but I see you’ve just transferred your fits of pique to others posting on this blog. So, while I hadn’t planned to respond, it seemed appropriate to challenge points raised in your earlier post.
    Specifically, James: on December 15, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    I may have read about your excuse for your reaction to on-line bullying, but I often skip or skim whatever you offer as your latest breathlessly skewed revelation so maybe I missed something. But I seem to recall your use of SISU as your defense for obnoxious behavior? Obviously, no one buys it.

    Also, your attempt to get me to listen to music representing some tribe of remote reindeer herders in an obscure language is sheer folly. I listened to the Latvian band you suggested and was 99.9% unimpressed. When our first GS was 15, he played in a local HS rock group that was infinitely more poised and polished. More musical too. But, if I wanted professional advice, I’d ask Auntie Jean or my daughter-in-law who are both musicians, by training as well as interest.

    BTW, your interpretation of me as a technical writer is another bungled misconception. I once said that after retiring I spent several years writing articles for a regional news magazine about technology, but was careful not to project myself as a tech writer. There’s a profound distinction that, obviously, has eluded you. Also, FYI, I’m hardly timid – and elitist? Is that the closest you can come to humor?

    Perhaps all the other non- progressives like you are missing from this site because you embarrass them.

    You label yourself as a “Thorn in the finger”, and “verbal extrovert”. How about PITA (not the bread)?

    To quote your deathless prose, ‘In Carina Dahl’s lyrics- “I don’t Care”.’

    In truth, I have little time for your trivia.

  42. James – Are you referencing the writer and pundit Charles KRAUTHAMMER, or is there some “Kruthhamer” out there with whom only you are familiar…?

    It’s so interesting that your monomaniacal concern about being “right” does not, apparently, extend to the fields of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, along with everything else. (Of course, those areas are ones with which I, personally, might be considered by some to be somewhat obsessive… It must be my editorial background… I’ve learned to live with it.)


  43. ” Kruthhamer: ‘It took Barara Walters 5 years to realize Obma’s not the Messiah? It took us one and a half hours?” And you, anon?

  44. Not true anon.I’m just doing what Juneau Joe did when there was only one of him. If I were, it wouldn’t matter as long as I was right. You’re no prize yourself. What’s your excuse?

  45. James, you do know that you are a narcissistic blowhard who is in love with the sound of his own voice, don’t you? Blah, blah, blah. You make me very tired.

  46. Interesting article, anon. When I was in the service, my superiors often had me working for difficult people who got along with few. My efficiency reports said one of my strengths was that I could be pleasant to a hole in the ground

    I am a verbal extravert with a thing about authority figures. No robot would influence me without a metaphorical gun to my head. I also like Twitter,.

  47. Its more complicated than that, Gato. Our daughter is basically moderate to conservative. She has never voted because she thinks one vote won’t matter, and she is too busy (or lazy) to follow politics. She thought ObamaCare was someone else’s problem, not hers until her employer broke the news to her.

    Now, she wants to vote a straight Republican ticket to get rid of ObamaCare. For some of her co-workers, this increase will be a hardship. We may also be loaning money to a friend to cover the higher rates she will have to pay.She has some other short-term bills. So, this directly affects us.

    Our daughter’s change of heart gives me no pleasure. I would have been happier if she was interested in politics because it is her civic duty, not because of what someone did or didn’t do. Heart sick is a better description.

    You might like some of Sofia Jannok’s music. Yes, she is quite lovely, but I am prejudiced. Sofia is about our daughter’s age, and she looks a bit like her.

  48. Thanks Lori! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  49. Just wanted to stop by for a minute to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – all of them.

    Like everyone I have been extra busy this last month. Unfortunately there hasn’t been much time to chat politics at length. ( thats why I like twitter. I literally can keep my toe in political waters while standing in line at the grocery store. ) However we will have LOTS to talk about in January – wont we?

    A special shout out to my bin buds, the ” Terry (i) s & Gato! Happy Birthday Mikat – a little late , and a special hug and kisser for my Alaska friend. I wish you all a verrrry merry holiday. Love Yinz all..

    Auntie Jean, i recorded that program as well, glad you liked it. I can’t wait to get time to watch it. Hows your foot? – drop me a note when you have a minute and let me know whats going on in your works…

    Kisses 🎅❤⛄🎁🎈😘💨💨💨💨

  50. Hey, Non – I especially like “You’ve been automuted because you’re talking too much.” And it must give one a nice, warm feeling inside to be so confident that one’s daughter holds the opinions she does only because of something he, himself, did or did not do – and not as the result of any effort, thought, or intelligence of her own…

    On the plus side, Sofia Jannok, the Sami singer, is quite lovely.


  51. Could they have had James in mind when they developed this app? You might have thought so by the headline.


  52. Gato,
    like our children, our grand daughter will be able to make up her own mind. Our daughter, for instance was apolitical because I didn’t push my opinions on her. My wife and I did warn her about ObamaCare, and now that she and her co- workers are suffering first hand they are furious.They will pay about $5,000 extra next year, and once the business exemption expires,they may lose their insurance.

    Obama and Democrats lied to us about ObamaCare for three years. They knew if the voters understood there would be winners and losers, they would reject the bill and maybe vote Obama out of office. That Obama lied is as obvious as our clear blue sky. Politifact, I think which earlier defended Obama’s statement awarded his lie the biggest of the year.

    Had our liberal media documented opinions and dogma with original data, and refused to blindly accept what politicians fed them,they would have known the administration’s mendacity as anyone who read the bill would have known. Mostly conservative bloggers did support their claims of dishonesty with facts, and they reported the web site problems as early as last spring.

    I don’t care if you respond or not. You have a weak case, and your thinking Obama is doing a good job is a minority opinion in the nation. If you write something else which is untrue, and I feel like it, I will politely provide the facts again. If my comment remains unchallenged, so much the better. Many people read this site without posting. One or two of them might begin to think about reality and fantasy.

    Gato, since you have mentioned the Sami twice now, I am sharing something about Sofia Jannok, a Sami singer. She has been called a woman of steel, and sometimes, she interupts her concerts with “enough singing. Lets talk politics.” She calls the Swedish government “the regime” and the “occupying regime.” Given our government’s harassing its own citizens via the IRS, its lies and spying, Jannok may be unwittingly describing our realty in the US.

  53. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Here’s a tidbit I thought I would share with you. Sunday we happened to stumble on to a powerful and compelling (we thought) Holiday Special on CNN by Christiane Amanpour (sp?) entitled “Back to the Beginning”. We were kinda busy but fortunately it was re-broadcast, back to back, so we sat down and gave it our full attention. Fascinating!!!

    Apparently it is going to be at least a two part-er with another “installment” next Sunday. We are going to make it a point to set everything else aside to watch it. Although I imagine the whole shootin’ match will be re-broadcast in the future. I think it is that good.

    If I don’t have a chance to get back to any of you during the Holiday Season, I am wishing each of you, as we say out here in the Hawaiian language, “A Mele Kalikimaka and Hau’oli Makahiki!”, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    Aloha! :-) :-) :-) Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  54. James, this will be the last time I respond to you. I stand by my assertion that the US economy has improved during the Obama administration, and it’s not an opinion, it’s a fact. You apparently have a very short, distorted memory. Now, why don’t you go listen to some obscure Sami music, or go shovel out the barn (something tells me you’re very good at it).

  55. James: When your granddaughter is old enough to start expressing her own opinions about things, I beg and pray that you will not take it upon yourself to
    “set her straight” endlessly, about just about damned everything, as you seem to feel duty-bound to do here with so many of us.

    You will do your granddaughter no favors by “correcting” her; you will only slaughter her soul. If you cannot LISTEN to her, and acknowledge her point of view, accept it as hers, as worthy of serious consideration as your own, and assure her it is of some interest to you, she will grow to loathe you – and rightfully so.

    People can tolerate all kinds of things; being de-legitimized is not one of them. And, BTW, you don’t have to be “right” to be legitimate… Give that concept some thought, if you will…

    And, for heaven’s sake, please stop “explaining” everything, justifying yourself, saying how right you are about everything, and lecturing!

    Go skiing, or snowboarding, or any of those many things you apparently do when you’re not setting us straight, and just let us muddle along for a while. We’ll be fine, really. I mean it.


  56. Gato, Terri earlier wrote that Obama had done a good job with the economy when the apparent unemployment rate fell to 7%. In reality some estimate it to be as high as 14% when including people who have left the work force.

    Obama would envy the rates during most of the Bush administration. I’m not dumping on Terri, but what she wrote was wrong, and I proved it.Obama has done a poor job.

    Terri apparently wrote she didn’t accept my source about the Fonda charity because it was relatively conservative. All I did was prove her wrong with the Daily Mail article which carried an admission and explanation from the charity. Why did you make such a big deal about something so minor? So what if Jane Fonda is miserly with her charity when others would be more generous? How does it affect you, and why does my offhand comment so offend you?

    If you “still don’t agree” with me in the face of empirical evidence provided by our government and other economists you leave yourselves open to my corrections to your erroneous views. If you don’t like it don’t write what is not true. Facts, not I are brick walls.

  57. And the same from me to everyone!


  58. Thanks Gato. I sometimes forget that talking to certain people is like talking to a brick wall.
    I send you best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And that goes to everyone else on the porch too!

  59. James – We really do get it; honestly, we do…

    1. You don’t like Jane Fonda, and you never have. Fine.

    2. You don’t like it that her charity hasn’t done anything with its funds for a while. Also fine – although I’m not sure what business that is of yours, frankly. (Don’t remind me about how it “confirms” your opinion. It doesn’t; it just means you feel they agree with you, and therefore you find them wise and thoughtful. I’m sure that all of Kim Jong-il’s sycophants “agree” with him, too… Does that make him any more wonderful and correct…?)

    3. You “respect” The Wall Street Journal. That’s nice, too. I’m sure they’d be pleased to know.

    Please stop trying to “enlighten” people, like Terri, as if they have no idea what they are talking about. It’s not that they don’t “understand,” or somehow “missed your point”… We all got your point the first few times around (see #s 1, 2, and 3, above), and WE STILL DON’T AGREE WITH YOU!

    And no collection of rarely-heard and soothing Sami lullabies is going to do the trick, either, just so you know. You’re not singing to the elk here, buddy…


  60. Terri, the Daily Mail confirmed the Wall Street Journal story and as I wrote they also quoted a charity representative who admitted the story was true. The Wall Street Journal is more respected and accurate than some other publications, right and left. So is the Daily Mai which quoted both sidesl.

    . As I wrote before, the charity told the Daily Mail it had contributed enough money years ago that they didn’t legally have to contribute any more money so they didn’t until this year. It will be on this year’s tax returns. The non-payment was on the 2012 returns. They had earned money from stock market investments and could have contributed to worthy causes, but as the charity spokesperson said, they didn’t.

    I only mentioned the Fonda charity’s lack of because I knew they had admitted the story was true and told why. As you know, it is good to look at more than one source of information.

  61. James,
    I think your use of the Wall Street Journal as a source of information about the Jane Fonda situation is misleading. As far as I can tell, the WSJ ran a simple repeat of an item from the Smoking Gun website, and then an online opinion piece on the matter. There did not seem to be any hard reporting by the WSJ. However, this was a story endlessly picked up and repeated by right wing websites.

  62. Hey, Hot4 – That’s the way grownups handle this sort of thing: No lecturing, no nagging, just taking care of themselves in a graceful way.

    I once tried a tofurkey – total ridiculousness. It was about ten inches long, molded like half a turkey, and had a tofu “wishbone” included! And I never understood why anyone who didn’t want to eat meat would want to eat something that looks like a plastic model of “meat”… So I’m with your SIL on that one!

    Happy holidays… And bon appétit to all!


  63. Gato, Jane Fonda’s charity didn’t exist when I met her. I didn’t like Jane Fonda when we attended her speech, and I don’t like her now. It is a subjective opinion as yours might be if you liked her. Back in 1970-72, I was much angrier than I am now Hence my entertaining the prospect of spitting in her face.

    News of her charity confirmed my feelings, because it seems selfish and fits what I know about her.I only mentioned her charity because of a jsri comment about my low regard for Fonda

    i thought you were questioning the generic use of documentation because different sources can tell different stories. So I demonstrated the use of documentation about the charity. Peoples’ reasons for disliking Jane Fonda are common knowledge, but though the facts are true, they are subject to different interpretation, as you know.

    I’ve also moved on to playing with our grand daughter and cross country skiing tomorrow morning before the last snow melts.

  64. James: I wasn’t talking about what the charity did or did not do; I was talking about your “opinion” of Jane Fonda. I would be surprised if your desire to spit in her face was caused by your displeasure with the activities of her charity. In fact, I would be surprised if you even knew anything about that charity at the time. If that’s the case, your “confirmation” came well after your opinion. Things often work that way.

    Now, enough of this, for heaven’s sake!


  65. My SIL is a vegetarian – not a strict vegan. At Thanksgiving and Christmas she just makes a meal of all the sides (and there are many!!!), and/or bakes a salmon for those to share who don’t want turkey. She tried tofurkey one year and said “Never again!!!” ROFLOL My brother whips up a batch of stuffing, and separates a portion for her before including any turkey “juice.” No biggie.

  66. And now here comes Christmas — well, it’s actually standing on the porch, ringing the bell, with the Solstice and Kwanzaa right there with it — surely Helen must have something to say about that!

  67. Sorry, I am using our daughter and son in law’s computer since we are in Omaha now. I forgot to register my name.

  68. Gato, the Wall Street Journal has some credibility. In the end the source matters less than whether the information is true. If the Wall Street Journal was wrong, someone will tell us. Jane Fonda is chair of the charity, so she has some control over its operation.

    The London Daily Mail repeats the accusation with a defense from the charity. Law dictates a charity must donate at least 5% of its assets each year to insure that it is not a tax haven.

    The charity says it overpaid in 2004 so was not legally liable to give anything away until this year which will be reflected in the 2013 tax returns. .Most expenditures were investments in the stock market which earned a profit.

    Therefore, my information was documented and true since the charity also admitted it. Fonda’s charity did nothing illegal, but it does reinforce the negative attitude I have of her. The charity earned money from the stock market and could have afforded to help a worthy cause, but it didn’t.

    “Bottom line,” either something is true or it isn’t, and the proper documentation will prove it one way or the other. .

  69. James – It really doesn’t matter how many “confirmations” of your opinion you can dig up, or the supposed “prestige level” of the sources of those confirmations. Anybody can find any number of like minds to back up just about any point of view.

    Had you shared specifically what solid food your granddaughter ingested, and how much of it (two surprising omissions on your part, actually), I could undoubtedly find “confirmation,” somewhere, of just about any opinion on that incident I chose to take: Too soon, too late, too much, too little, too sweet, not organic, too salty, chunks of a dangerous size… OR just right, perfect, excellent timing, correct amount, very healthful, and so on.

    Bottom line: Rarely does the “confirmation” of any point of view bring disagreement any closer to agreement, or make any opinion seem more “correct.” Nor does it make the holder of any particular point of view any more impressive.

    (BTW, PLEASE do not take this as an invitation to share any additional observations about your granddaughter’s dining progress, no matter how tempted you may be to do so. What you’ve already said is – and trust me on this – quite sufficient, to put the kindliest spin on it…)


  70. Jsri, our grand daughter ate her first solid food last night.

    Some confirmation of my low opinion of Jane Fonda isa Wall Street Journal article which says Jane Fonda’s charitable foundation has assets of nearly $800,000 and has given nothing in five years.

  71. James:


    Give it a rest.

  72. jsri, you are projecting your dishonesty and timidity to me as you resort to slander and misappropriation of language to defame me. You may co-mingle the real with imagination, I don’t. I don’t attempt to attract attention to myself any more than you do. You, not I are drawing undue attention to us.

    I warned “you” in the beginning and shared the history that applied to my reaction to on line bullying because it was relevant. There is much you don’t know because it is irrelevant and none of your business.

    Have you noticed of the several non-progressives who visited this site are gone for the moment, i am the only one remaining. If you had paid attention, you would know why.

    I don’t know what it is, but something is wrong with your emotions. You say you were a technical writer, I think. Given your almost obscessive reaction to me and your inability to make connections as well as your childish attempts to put me in my place make me wonder. You certainly display little of the rigorous thinking required for such writing. What happened to you?

    I suggest the calming effect of music. Try Eva and Manu “Feet in the Water” They are a French-Finish duo who dropped out of Boston University to attempt a singing career.

    The Sound Poets Tavs Stasts. The Lativian band should calm even you.

    You will never do it, because you can’t help yourself. You will wallow in your morass of misdirected anger and elitism as I remain a thorn in your finger,.

    In Carina Dahl’s lyrics- “I don’t Care”,

  73. James;

    I’M JAMES. I’M A HERO (in my own mind).

    James, you are some sort of bland joke and the irony is that you are totally lacking any sense of humor, – or perspective. You’ve obviously spent entirely too much time mucking out the stalls and pens of the animals in your life and you seem to be unable to stop doing it here. You have long outlasted your welcome and quite frankly, you are in contention for the most boring and repetitive person in the universe. And despite your mindless blathering, you haven’t won squat.

    James, using an imaginary meeting with Jane Fonda as a personal anecdote brings to mind the expression “Extravagant claims require extravagant evidence” attributed to Astrophysicist Carl Sagan. My own experience is that name droppers like you are cloyingly annoying – mainly because they have commingled the real and the imaginary into an unreliable amalgam in their minds, – one that can be recalled and injected into any conversation no matter how distant it may be from the subject, for no other reason that to boost their sagging egos. It’s one of the reasons I never refer to meetings or contacts I have had in the past with known people of substance who might be recognized by readers. It ‘s a way of preserving their reputations.

    Since distortion seems to be your main M.O. I’ll leave it at that. But, it’ll be interesting to see how you skew whatever I’ve left on the site

  74. jsri, you seem to attempt to turn each encounter into a fight. Your snide little comments are so easy to defend against, I don’t know why you bother.You appear to be obscesed with me. and harbor a resevour of anger which does you little justice.

    For example, I wrote that the University of Northern Florida gave copies of veterans’ oral histories to the Smithsonian. Mine was included. I only skimmed your comment about your insurance troubles, but I noticed you wrote something derogatory about the Smithsonian days after I had written my comment. Maybe it was a coincidence, but what if it wasn’t?

    Though you are fun to play with, I worry that something is wrong inside of your head. Have you considered talking to someone?.Perhaps, you need to take a long walk or listen to music.

  75. jsri, you didn’t confuse me. If you or Jean were unclear about terms and definitions, that is your fault, not mine. You gave me an opening, and i took it.

    Some of the women on the list were not active members of the women’s movement.They were famous and accomplished. That is different from saying they were active feminists.

    Jane Fonda was an actress who pretended to be other people. She was cited as one of the United States’ most admired women after she made some excercise videos. During her career, Jane Fonda was working to enhance the fortunes of Jane Fonda. Aside from the fact that she posed on an anti- air craft gun which symbolized shooting down our pilots, she defamed our troops in the speech my wife and I attended.. I knew some of those pilots because they came through our hospital for check ups twice a year, and I sometimes met some on base. My wife and the wife of a pilot were friends.

    Fonda was little better than Tokyo Rose.

    I attended her speech when I was in grad school at the University of Iowa. She began with “Do you mean to say that Nixon and Agnew haven’t been impeached yet?” It was a nice, impassioned speech. However, it was just words someone had written for her.The woman was an idiot without a script. A Cedar Rapids station interviewed her the next day, and her performance was an embarrassment. Fonda could not make a coherent impromptu comment and resorted to repeating her speech verbatum.

    Her inability to defend her position without cue cards offended me. Either Fonda was too stupid to put four words together or she was playing a poorly researched role,.

    After her speech, she asked the Vietnam Era veterans to meet her back stage, so I went. We stood in line to chat with Jane. She asked us to join the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.Most of us refused.

    My desire to spit in her face was merely an immature snit which I wisely repressed. Instead, we discussed Fonda’s Nebraska and Omaha connection.We both knew Omaha well. I asked if she had heard any stories about her father and Marlin Brando, another Nebraskan when they roomed together as they began their acting careers..

    I also spoke to Bernadette Devilin after she talked on another day. In contrast to Jane, she was the real thing. Bernadette was a militant socialist, a radical feminist, and Catholic activist, and she engaged in violent protest movements like the Battle of the Bogside. Devilin was passionate and she could express her beliefs extemporaniously. I liked her.

    Bernadette later became the youngest woman to be elected to Parliament. She has been banned from the US for many years.

    So there, jsri. You are wrong again.

  76. The entire autocratic dissemination of god and life is the direct result of SARAH LOUISE HEATH PALIN. She gets a boobjob, and the he GOP further womanizes her and sexualizes her, they buy more guns and remain tone deaf, invade the planet, kill everything, and palin watches the chaos from her trailor while penning the planet implodes and ceases its existance…all because of sarah and her ilk. Lock her in her trailor, watch the world become at peace.please, god, for the holidays, we ask this of you. You died on the cross, now we ask this one encompassing thing of you. You walk on water, so now, lock palin in her trailr forever.

  77. James:

    I apologize for confusing you. In my attempt to assemble a list of women who have impacted history, I mistakenly used the term “women’s movement”. That’s a frequently used 20th century term that may not be wholly appropriate. But I’m sure you were happy to “win” the argument because how else would you be able to show your heroism again by “almost spitting in Jane’s (Jane Fonda’s) face.” To show such restraint in the presence of someone so notorious is truly admirable, – if indeed it ever happened. And yes, she should be on the list because few women at that time had the opportunity or the public recognition to be able to show opposition to such a politically contrived, unpopular and meaningless war. She is still paying the price for her resistance and, while that doesn’t make her a hero in the eyes of many, it shows a level of commitment that, right or wrong, is uncommon.

  78. Ladies, can’t wait for your Christmas letter! It has to be a hoot! Been getting unexpected “Christmas Letters” from friends and family and lordy they tire me out. Yizit that these letters are all about what they did, what they got and such like. Not a single one goes “inside” and leads to inspiration. Like yours!

  79. Just came across your blog. First time poster. Im a vegan who cannot eat gluten. I am no less a man. Bacon is hallmark of a holiday well spent? A holiday for me and my soul family (not biological family, for that is a myth perpetuated by the fiction of jesus), would be to do kundalini yoga in the desert, naked, in a vortex, on hot stones, with lavender. And then a few spoonfuls of pomegranate resin…..no bacon, no killing animals, no greasy angry people….just a sonic color festival of love and light.
    Ps. Iraq is a mess, thanks Bush.

  80. jsri,

    No one specifically wrote anything about the women’s movement. Jean wrote “we really should start a list of famous women”. Later, she wrote “jsri, I see your list of famous women…” Your list is a conglomeration of admirable and merely well-known women. Therefore, my mentioning the Tokyo Rose crowd fits the general definition Jean and your list implied. it is akin to Time Magazines’ nominating for good or evil, Hitler as Man of the Year.

    The twelve or so women who broadcast propaganda were notorious (and well known), but at least one, Iva Toguri (?) claimed to be a double agent. She willingly returned to the US where she was imprisoned until Ford pardoned her as you wrote. The odd twist of history, true or untrue, is why I think Tokyo Rose deserves to be on the list as much as Jane Fonda.

    I have little regard for both. In fact, my first impulse when I met Jane was to spit in her face. Better sense took over, and I shook her hand.Then, I said “nice to meet you.”

    I don’t remember if Madam Curie was on your list, but she should be.

    Mary Miller Arnold is in a class with Abby Gardiner, too obscure for the A list, but she deserves mention.

  81. James: December 12, 2013

    Tokyo Rose??? Probably more infamous than famous. Even though she (real name – Iva Toguri), was later exonorated by Gerald Ford, there are still many unanswered questions about whether her broadcasts were treason or not. But many US service men in the Pacific theater, including my father and brothers, listened to her broadcasts because she often used then current US popular music on her shows.

    Based on your admiration of Tokyo Rose, why did you not include Mildred Gillars aka Axis Sally who broadcast her “Home Sweet Home Hour” most of the years of WWII in Europe. She actually spent years in prison before being released in the 1960s. Arrested in 1947 in Germany she was brought home for trial in 1949 and sentenced to prison until her release in 1961. There was also an alternate Axis Sally (Rita Zucca) who broadcast from Rome and the two are often confused or misidentified as the same person.

    I’d find it difficult to see them as worthy subjects of the woman’s movement.

  82. Hi Congenial Gang,

    jsri, I checked out your list of famous women. I see Madonna it. No mention of Juno, Hera, Fricka, Mary Magdalene or the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    Perusing through from numbers 100-80, the names that jumped out at me were Rachel Carson, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Golda Meir, Elizabeth Blackwell, Margaret Mead, Erma Bombeck, Charlotte Bronte, Hypatia and Sacagawea. Then I got bored reading about the rest on the list. I guess that tells you a lot about what interests me.

    All this on a day when the House passed the bi-partisan compromise budget bill and they all went home for the Holidays. But not before John Boehner threw a temper tantrum for the TV cameras. Now it’s up to the Senate to avert another gov’t shutdown.

    Gotta get busy.

    Aloha! :-) :-) :-) Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  83. Julia Child
    volunteered to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in WW11, and she later helped develop a shark repellent which was important during the war because it kept curious sharks from inadvertantly setting off explosives which were intended for German U boats.

    She learned French cuisine while she was still an intelligence officer.

    Tokyo Rose.
    She was a composite of about a dozen women who broadcast Japanese propaganda to the allies during WW11.

    Abbie Gardner.
    She is not nationally known, but she set an example for toughness of either gender. A band of Sioux led by Inkpaduta murdered virtually all of the settlers near Spirit Lake, Iowa. Abbie watched her family die and was taken prisoner. She and four other women endured hardships as they were taken to South Dakota.

    Over 500 pioneers were murdered in Minnesota before the uprising collapsed and Inkapaduta fled to South Dakota and later Montana to help kill Custer and his soldiers.

    Years later, Abbie Gardner bought the family cabin and turned it into one of Iowa’s first tourist attractions where for a fee she described her ordeal.

  84. Auntie Jean:

    My knowledge of history is pretty thin at this point but I was able to dredge up a reference to the 100 most prominent women in history by following this link.


    Many of the earliest ones included may be more imagination than fact and some of the latest may be more celebrities than achievers. Because of the shaky quality of historical records, especially ancient history, there will always be such uncertainties and articles such as the one cited here are ripe for challenge for the manner of presentation as well as the blatant attempts to weave advertising into the mix which simply makes them harder to read and interpret. But it might be a launch point for discussion.

  85. Joan of Arc and Boudica.

  86. Hi Congenial Gang,

    This is a busy time of year for all of us but I want to say something about the passing of Nelson Mandela. May he rest in peace after a job well done.

    I feel he joins the ranks of towering the figures of our times such as Gandhi and MLK as well as historical figures such as John Locke (1632-28), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), de Tocqueville, (1805-1859) and Karl Marx (1818-1883).

    Remember Marx’ famous quote “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

    And then there are Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha.

    Who did I miss?

    We really should start a list of women too, beginning with Eve.

    Aloha! Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  87. Okay, Anonymous Person… I took the quiz, and “passed” with a miserable 60%. But I do know that antibiotics are not to be taken lightly. They are serious drugs.

    We know so little about what various and sundry medications do to us when we take them. “Side effects” are hardly “side” at all. (Watch any TV ad for an allergy med… The “side effects” include things like stuffy nose, difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, muscle weakness, blurred vision, and so on, and so on. Would YOU take this??!! The “side effects” are often exactly the same, or worse than the thing for which you are asked to take the stuff!)

    I take four prescription meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atrial fibrillation, and every single one of them pisses me off. They all “work,” but they’re only dealing with the symptoms, not the causes.

    And that’s how we do it around here…


  88. Before you begin thinking that indiscriminate uses of Z-paks are without consequences, perhaps it might be time to read the following article.


    It might also be worthwhile to take the antibiotics IQ test at the end of the article.

  89. A bit of fun. How good are you at reading another’s facial expression?



  90. One man’s gift that he shared with the world allowed a father to share it with his son.



  91. Hi, Mageen – All this discussion about Z-pak brought back some recent recollections… My husband and I spend a couple of weeks every winter on a small Caribbean island with NO medical facilities whatsoever, other than a doctor who lives across the goat pasture from their small clinic, and a pharmacist who is likely to be at the beach with her cell phone turned off on any weekend day… For anything more serious than a black eye, you need to fly to either Barbados or Trinidad, but it better be in the daytime, because there are no lights at the air field… All that said, BTW, they really do their damnedest to provide care, and I have found them willing to go above and beyond what one would “expect,” as best they can. (One time, for example, the doctor sent a kid to the beach to retrieve the pharmacist, who showed up within the hour at the pharmacy, on a Sunday afternoon, so I could get some meds…)

    All our Canadian and Brit friends show up with Z-paks in hand, and I’d never even heard of it until last year. They swear by it. Given that I do have some cardiac “issues,” I’d probably be hesitant to use it. But I do always take down a supply of amoxycillin, which has done the trick for the few things that have beset me when there. They also have a much wider selection of homeopathic remedies, which can work amazingly well for skin problems, stomach distress, and so on.

    And, of course, there’s the rum… Which can tide you over any number of things that just take time to “heal”… Many of them, not coincidentally, caused by their very cure!


  92. Anonymous on December 6, 2013 at 2:43 PM, thanks for your considerate words. I read the link and as I have never been diagnosed with heart problems of any sort, this info does not discourage me from my appreciation of the Z-pak that was given to me when I needed it most. My throat sure did hurt and it was hell trying to swallow. I would be interested in some stats from say Germany on the reaction of heart patients to Z-pak and compare them to stats here in the USA (if there really are any) and see what happens. My friends who are frequent world travelers hit the drug store in the first European company they land in and stock upon Z-pak for the duration of their trip on the basis that it is better to be safe than sorry, especially if you come down with all the signs of an infection in a country where there is a total shortage of English speakers. I learned how to slant studies in graduate school, so I am just a tiddly bit suspicious of that study on the link.

  93. Terri, the Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate for 2001 was 4 to 5 %, later to over 6% and back down to over 4% in 2007. The recession took the level to over 8% in 2009 and 9% in 2011 , then back down to 8% in 2012. More people are on food stamps and disability than during the Bush years.

    The president doesn’t create jobs except for government hires. Policies may influence job creation but businesses, not presidents create jobs. I agree, facts are facts.

  94. James, your response to good unemployment news was so predictable. No use trying to convince you, but Obama’s economic policies do have our country on the path to recovery, after the disastrous Bush years. Facts are facts.

  95. Thanks for the kind comments Mageen. Our grand daughter still has some physical problems, but her mind seems fine. She is watching and thinking. I tell her she is smart, strong, and pretty. She laughs, though she doesn’t understand what I am saying.

    Our daughter now worries that her daughter’s eye brows and eye lashes are almost invisibly white with a reddish hue. They will probably darken.

    I am glad you are still around. If your throat was as red as a forest fire you must have been in a lot of pain. I agree with your comments. I get a regular checkup the way we do with car maintainance and I see a nurse practitioner, not a doctor. That seems to be in our future.

    Its nice that the unemployment rate is down to 7%, but Obama deserves as much credit as he did blame when the rate was much higher. Businesses and other features of the economy, not politicians determine how many people have jobs.

  96. Mageen:

    Over a year and a half ago, Harvard Med School issued a warning about over use of Z-paks. As far as I know, that warning is still in effect.


  97. Unemployment falls to 7%!! Congrats President Obama.

  98. James, that is absolutely great news about your grand-daughter! This may be a precursor of the pattern for the rest of her life. She will do the unexpected and do it well such as maybe find the cure for something incurable that has vexed science from time immemorial. Some of the best doctors I have ever experienced are the ones that staff the local Doctors Express, a storefront practice in my neighborhood. They have saved my life on several occasions. I was given a Z-pak on one occasion when I walked in with a throat as red as a forest fire. The doctor was about 4 feet away from me when I opened my mouth wide and his eyes bugged out at what he saw. He treated the problem on site and then gave me a Z-pak to keep with me at home. That might seem like a whole lot of nothing, but compare this to Europe where anybody can walk into a drug store and get a Z-pak OTC. Just like you would buy aspirin. And those Z-paks work! The medical “consortium” that I belong to (on paper) have a revolving door. At least 2 staff doctors have left to go where there is a chance of them having a more balanced life (50%work/50%R&R). More and more, that “practice” is being run entirely by physician assistants. They seem to have a way of running things that make things smoother such as giving patients the ability to just walk into the office, sign a register and have a blood test of some type without seeing the doc and getting a scrip to do the very same exact thing. And believe it or not, here in the 60 mile radius of the nation’s capitol, there really are not enough docs to go around.

  99. Alaskapi, most indigenous people would have done the same as our ancestors had they possessed the technology and opportunity to invade and conquer Europe or Asia.. It doesn’t make right, though..

    You might like Our Rights to Earth and Freedom: Sofia Jannok at TEDxGat…”Sweden is the most modern land in the world with the heart of democracy and eququaliy…When will the government start respecting us. When we are already gone?”

    Thunder of the three heavens Sofia Jannok+Kristian Anttila

    Sofia Jannok Irene Official video.She joiks and sings about finding and counting her aunt’s reindeer herd.

    SomBy: The winner of liet international 2009. They are Finnish Sami people who perform in their traditional garb..

  100. My governor is not on that list.

  101. Hi UAWTradesman!

    Mageen, our grand daughter’s doctors seem to be almost disappointed that she is doing as well as she is. It is almost like your doctor’s being disappointed that a diagnosis was wrong. It is understandable because egos are involved, but still not fair to the patient.

    We are trying to get our grand daughter used to being on her stomach preparatory to crawling. She usually doesn’t seem to be able to do it, though she can stand while supporting herself against a coffee table. She can also sit by herself.

    Our daughter didn’t coax, She put her daughter on her stomach, but for the first time, the baby suddenly without trouble flipped herself onto her back. Our daughter put her back on her stomach, but our grand daughter moved to her back. Our daughter continued about six times as her daughter moved faster than our daughter could. Then, she laughed.

    Our daughter is becoming increasingly afraid her offspring takes after our side of the family.

    We will be home for five days, the longest stretch since June.

  102. Is your Governor on this list? Check out the comments section. We need to do a better job of electing the people who are supposed to be representing our best interests.



  103. It is called trolling. Do not feed it.

  104. UAW: Just once, really, just once, it would be nice if when you came here you didn’t say something either stupid or offensive.

  105. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving……..(better late than never)….

    and as far as indians go; they weren’t always so kind either and…..


  106. Jeanne, so she was disappointed to find out that you are healthy? And she’s in the family? Imagine how you would feel if it were your own doctor who was disappointed the same way for the same reasons. She took one look at me when I walked in and immediately diagnosed me as diabetic and then went down the list. When all the tests proved I was healthier than she is, she was actually pissed! Yes, there is diabetes and celiac in the family tree but it never reached me for some strange reason. Oh, well, dear. Keep calm and carry on!

  107. Hi, Jeanne – Your sister-in-law sounds like a real piece of work.

    Your remarks are fabulous.


  108. Jeanne:

    The medical profession isn’t exactly scot-free on this issue either. Before my brother died several years ago, he had digestive upsets and was losing his balance. But I’ve suffered from similar upsets and I’d be willing to bet that anyone over 80 has had these symptoms at times. But his doc called for a whole battery of tests that my sister-in-law, who was a nurse, thought were a bit over the top. After learning he could have tests done free via Medicare or his insurance, my brother had them done and all came back negative. Sister-in-law did a bit of prying and found that brother’s doc had a financial interest in the practice performing some of the tests and thought the whole thing smelled like a bit of Limburger.

    Over diagnosis may not be as uncommon as we’d like to believe.

  109. Too funny not to share:

    Fundamentalism. The haunting fear that some woman, somewhere, may be enjoying sex. @LOLGOP http://t.co/aeVQ7Mr3iZ

  110. Here’s some good news!


  111. I have a sister-in-law who is a self-diagnosed Celiac. Evidently she had a seizure eons ago. Serious business to be sure, but to go from there to Celiac’s? Then she diagnosed me as having Celiac’s. I had to break her heart and tell her that sadly, no I don’t have Celiac’s. She then chose every family get together to bring it up how many poor ignorant folks are out there suffering with the disease because they are in denial. Looks right at me. I finally said, flat out, “I would like to think you are trying to be helpful but I am going to say this one last time. I have been tested for wheat allergy, gluten allergy, gluten intolerance and a blood test for specifically for Celliac’s, in addition I have had a complete endoscopy and colonoscopy with biopsy to rule out Celiac’s finally and absolutely. All tests were negative. I am very thrilled to say that I for one would think that you would be relieved to know that I do not have this serious and dreadful disease. If you insist on waging this passive-aggressive war at every opportunity I will have to remind you that your 2 liter a day addiction to Diet Soda with Nutra-Sweet is more likely to be the cause of your health issues since you refuse testing and refuse to give it up when it has been linked directly to the symptoms that you have and btw you have been gluten-free for over 10 years and had a seizure last year, so what is up with that? Oh, someone contaminated her food by having a cracker and then touching the serving spoon for the potatoes. As that makes total sense. On the other hand I do have serious food allergies and she will intentionally put the items in the food to “trick” me because I can’t possibly be allergic to those things. Obviously, I don’t eat anything she cooks.

  112. Late to the party here but Helen I just want to say, YOU GO GIRL!
    Hope everyone had a good time this Holiday season and looking forward to the next.
    Keep us informed Helen, we love, love, love your attitude!!!!!

  113. I second that, Helen, and would gladly have seconds if I were there. Butter and bacon grease are surely included in the list when they speak of the nectar of the Gods.

  114. You mean everything they cook you’re allergic to? i’d say stay home! Or bring your own food. Thanksgiving is not about food anyway!!!!

  115. Helen, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without your letter! Wishing for all the best holidays full of joy for you, Margaret, and all your loved ones — among whom I must count your readers.

  116. Helen, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without your letter! Happiest of holidays to you, Margaret, and all your loved ones — among whom I must count your readers.

  117. I am thankful for humankind kind humans.

  118. Wishing Margaret & Helen and all the porch folks a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving!

  119. […] http://margaretandhelen.com/2013/11/26/thanksgiving-letter-to-the-family-2013/ […]

  120. […] I also really liked Margaret & Helen‘s Thanksgiving Letter to the Family 2013 […]

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  122. Very lovely, Pi – And let me add my best wishes to all the porch sitters – and to those who created the porch in the first place, and invited us all to join them! We may snark and snarl from time to time, but, by god, we do SHARE!

    May all enjoy a day of thoughtfulness, laughter, rest, and gratitude…


  123. troutay- it is so good to see you here again!
    For you (especially), Margaret and Helen and all porch dwellers, my very favorite poem of Thanksgiving from Native poet, Joy Harjo :

    “The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.

    The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on…

    At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

    Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.”

    Perhaps the World Ends Here


    The morphing of the first thanksgiving into a day of sharing a meal with family and friends and sharing gifts of food with neighbors of lesser means or no family is a good thing.
    Here we are in the long dark and the winds are howling off the icefields.
    Spending a day giving thanks for warmth, shelter, ample food, and the community which supports us all, as we support it?
    Pretty dang cool
    ( no pun intended :-) )

  124. Yay alaskapi!
    You always say exactly the right thing.
    Personally, I think the origins of Turkey day were pretty one sided. So I don’t celebrate that aspect. I celebrate sharing time with
    friends and family, a day off of work (or two if you get Friday off like I do)
    and being thankful that we didn’t kill off all the Native People. It would be a loss of such wonderful and diverse cultures. Hopefully we have learned.

  125. Stephani Potter just needs a good stuffing.

    Get stuffed, dear

  126. Where is Margaret? We miss Margaret!

  127. And the stories we tell American children about the first thanksgiving are GOOEY.

  128. stephani, dear- I am Native… Aluutiq to be exact.
    Do not talk down to me.
    It gets boring . And “ally” in this context means a social justice ally, someone who actually assists :


    It is in living memory that places of business here festooned their windows with :no dogs, no natives ” signs.
    The battle is far from over for Native peoples – we didn’t all die 200 years ago though those scars are still very real.

    My cold heart? Stuff it, sweetie.

  129. Oh Alaskapi thank you for acknowledging my response. I just hope one day you will realize that we committed complete genocide on the trusting Natives who welcomed us with food and their knowledge. I am not an “ally” whatever that means. It is just a day that should just be another day. Do you think the Native Americans (who were here for 20,000 years) are thankful? Shame on your cold heart.

  130. Helen, dear! I remember your previous Thanksgiving Letters to the Family and, honey, you are getting mellow in your old age!

    Live long and prosper!

  131. My sister doesn’t have a right arm but we still pass the dishes to the right.

    Relax people

  132. A lot of self-diagnosers out there. Notice I did not say hypochondriac. I might have thought it but I did not say it. A recent medical study found that the majority of people who claimed to have a gluten allergy did not have one when formally tested. Margaret and Helen knock another one out of the park. Can’t wait for the Christmas blog. :-)

  133. My dog got hit by a Gluten Truck

  134. Gluten intolerance is NOT an affectation. Those who are gluten intolerant have a serious auto immune disease. Gluten in wheat, rye and barley
    Has a substance which destroys one ‘s intestines and leads to osteoporosis ,
    Malnutrition, and death, in addition to generalized digestive discomfort. I would love to eat gluten but can’t. So while you don’t have to change your menu others need to know the ingredients so they can refrain from eating foods dangerous to their health. So while this post appears funny it is not a laughing matter.

  135. To akaskapi! Thank you for taking the time to read my post, however, it made little sense. If YOU had studied the how what the Pilgrims did to their kind hosts, you certainly would agree, yes, it was gorey (not gooey) , but it happened so why do we celebrate it?

  136. Yikes

    I’m off line for a few days and Helen knocks another one out of the park. But every time she does that the flood of responses reveals how many lurkers hang out in the blogosphere ready to pounce on her words after completely missing the point of her subject. Although a few disgruntled readers have already commented here, it really takes a couple days before the real haters appear as they sit back conjuring up their complaints.

    People who follow this blog are pretty well aware of Helen’s view of the universe and come here to appreciate her wit and candor as well as her wisdom. Others seem to come only to vent and rant and will twist her words in order to call attention to themselves and their pet gripes.

    Typical of the blogosphere. ‘Nuff said on that subject.

    Thanks Helen for another classic.

  137. I am celiac and have been gluten-free for decades.

    And guess what. I’ve never asked ANYONE to change their menu. EVER. You know why? Because I have manners. I eat what’s within my constraints and leave other people to do the same. Very few people even know I have celiac because I’m not out whining and looking for everyone’s pity and attention. I’m incredibly annoyed by the gluten free trend because 95% of these people have never seen a doctor, have diagnosed themselves on Google and are faux-celiac just because they think it will make them lose weight.

  138. Wishing Helen and Margaret and all the porch dwellers a Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you M&H for giving us a chair on your porch!


  139. Happy Thanksgiving Helen and Margaret!

    Same to all porch dwellers and their families and friends!
    Bless you Sandi and others who understand what Helen is saying here.

    Pfft ! stephani potter!
    Native Americans don’t need allies like you! We could do with a hell of a lot less teaching children the gooey first-thanksgiving story and a lot more real history, a lot less having them making paper pilgrim hats and warbonnets and a lot more exposure to our kids of today.
    Thankful, yes. For family and friends with all their warts and foibles because they embrace me and my own foibles.
    Thankful , yes. For the incredible progress made over the years :


    There’s no end of what we still need to do to maintain gains and right more messes but a day to be thankful for what we have done is in order.

  140. Love the letter! hit the nail on the head!!! who ever hosts makes the rules, and those who are invited and don’t want to play by the rules and have fun, don’t come! Thanksgiving day to me is about just taking a breather and giving thanks to God, friends family health whatever it is you are thankful for, thanks to ladies that have a quick wit and write honest stories that bring a smile to your faces! We do a Thanksgiving breakfast, that is my favorite meal, that allows time for other family members to go wherever for dinner and for me and my spouse to sit at home and enjoy time with just us and pizza or something quick and easy for dinner. No squabbling about anything…people aren’t awake enough in the am to disagree! haha!..they just want food! Margaret I will come to your house any day for a meal, sit eat and smile! I have food allergies but I ask what spices/nuts etc are in things before I sit down to eat and I don’t expect anyone to make anything special. A Blessed day to all out there, eat enough, don’t eat too much and safe travels!

  141. My favorite grandmother was Margaret Helen!

    Sent from my iPhone

  142. Well said Sandi.
    Happy Turkey Day to M & H!

  143. I am shocked by the number of selfish people who feel that if they can’t have something, no one else should be able to eat it either. Watching out for someone incapable for whatever reason (like childhood) is one thing, but as an adult, you should take responsibility for what goes into your piehole, not demand that everyone else do it for you. Here’s a simple solution. STAY HOME. Everyone else will be happy even if you aren’t. Then again, most of you sound like you’re dying to share your misery by foisting it on as many others as possible, so you’ll be happy but no one else will. I would never in a million years inform a friend or family member to plan their menu according to MY dietary restrictions. And yes, I do have some. I just don’t expect others to give up the things I can’t eat.

  144. While support the idea that you are invited to a family you should shut and say thanks! But as a person with food allergies I am thankful that my family includes a few dishes that I can eat without being really sick afterwards.

  145. Happy Thanksgiving!

  146. Hi Congenial Gang,

    This is only one of our family’s more memorable Thanksgiving stories. When our fraternal twins were 3, we lived in New England. My husband’s parents were coming for one of their rare visits for the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. My mother-in-law was an Immaculate housekeeper and I could never, ever compete with her.

    I knocked myself out cleaning the house and decorating to the best of my ability, preparing for house guests. The boys “helped”. Well, they were pretty good at run and fetch sometimes. Then I began the cooking. They “helped”, (read were mostly under foot asking a jillion “Why, mommy?” questions).

    I was determined! I made the homemade cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, candied yams with marshmallows on top, pumpkin pies with from-scratch-crusts (and whipped heavy cream on top). Naturally, a hefty turkey. The works!

    Come Thanksgiving Day we six sat down to a traditional Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving Dinner. My husband was at the head of the table. After we said grace together, I presented him with the Golden Butterball turkey on a platter to carve. He began.

    One of the boys burst into tears and cried, “DON’T DO THAT!!! THAT HURTS HIM!!!”

    I had to take the little tyke on my lap in the living room and comfort him for several minutes to calm him down while my husband picked up his cue and took the bird into the kitchen to carve into nice slices of both white and dark meat. I don’t remember exactly, but I think he left the drumsticks and wings on the platter.

    We wound up having a lovely Thanksgiving dinner and all lived happily ever after.

    Aloha! :-) :-) :-) Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    P. S. Uh, I wonder. As an adult, that boy became a vegetarian with robust health, though not a strict vegan. Could one obscure incident when he was three years old have had such a profound influence? Naw. Who remembers what happens to any of us when we were only three years old.

    And so the boys paved the way for their little brother when he came along 7 years later. By then my husband and I were “experienced” at parenting all the rest of the way through their lives.

    P. P. S. I hope everyone here on the porch has a wonderful Thanksgiving this year with your families and friends!!!

  147. Thank you, thank you, for your diatribe!! As if you didn’t know, you are now the role model for millions of women of a certain age and probably for many men too. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Margaret, and to you, Helen. Enjoy the famiy and the feast.

  148. Happy, happy Thanksgiving, Helen and Margaret! You have brought me many big old belly laughs. One tradition we have at our house is to go around the table and each tells one thing about which they are thankful. May I just say that it would never occur to me to ask my host even if it were my mother to prepare special food for me though I do not need it. But right now the people that really piss me off are those who can’t sit back and enjoy your writings but subscribe to you and use it as the opportunity to bad talk you and the rest of us for not “respecting” their right to own their disease or social/political issue. I think I will be thankful this year that I do not know and am not related to either Barbara Keller or especially Stephani Potter, I swear. Y’all can just go sit all by your sour-faced selves and let the rest of us enjoy a wonderful weekend of Thanks and super delicious food, just the way my momma made it with our little or big families, mine with an empty chair for our son, Chris.

  149. Happy Thanksgiving, Margaret and Helen!

  150. Thanks, and happy Thanksgiving! Cathy Cavness

  151. Thanks Helen! Enjoyed it your letter, as always. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving Margaret too! And to all fellow porch dwellers, another year has come and almost gone. I am thankful that Helen and Margaret still manage to bring us this way. May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  152. I love you Helen. You remind me of my dear late Mother and those wonderful holiday meals with all of her sisters and their families. I do not remember any arguments, only laughter and love. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

  153. Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  154. Fabulous!

  155. Margaret and Helen, You guys are wonderful! Have I missed your post on the Obama care issue of birth control? Why do companies like Hobby Lobby object to birth control coverage for women, but have no objection to coverage for Viagra. Shouldn’t those people who need Viagra just take it as a sign from the Almighty that they are done :). I look forward to your reply. Cheri

    Sent from my iPad


  156. I wish you were my grandmother. Hell, I wish I still had a grandmother. (Both were as fiesty as you, and I loved them dearly.)

  157. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!! God’s blessings!

  158. Let the picky ones stay home and cook their own damn dinner. It’s incredibly rude to expect others to do without things that can just not be put on your plate if you don’t want it. It’s a traditional family meal, not a bloody restaurant. If the gravy is thickened with corn starch (mine is), and they stay away from the bread, stuffing and dessert (which they should be doing anyway if they’re dieting), they won’t have to worry about gluten.

  159. I would love to be part of your family! And good for you about #2. I’ve made it a rule when eating out that the first person to reach for their cell phone pays the tip for the whole table. Works pretty good.

  160. Darlin’, you are too funny!You are so very right about Thanksgiving even though you forgot to mention the men’s football ritual. But you are wrong, wrong wrong on gluten…Read this from RT, love Gail Margaret daughter of margaret helen. http://rt.com/usa/gmo-gluten-sensitivity-trigger-343/

    Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 12:55:10 +0000 To: gailparker1@hotmail.com

  161. Now you’ve gone and offended the pagan/wiccan/feminist. See how easy it is to get all wound up in your own personal whatever and totally miss the awesome humor in this column.

  162. oh blah

  163. Stephani Potter – good grief. You must be a real riot at a party.

  164. Absolutely Brilliant, however our family does not celebrate the genocide of the Native Americans who generously fed the Pilgrims who had just landed on their shores. THEIR land! They taught them how to survive, And then they annihilated them. This is nothing to celebrate or take pride in. Christopher Columbus did the same thing! And while I’m at it, why don’t you ask yourself why peanut allergies and celeriac disease did not exist until the last 20 years? Also, none of the food you eat at “thanksgiving” is killing you, from the steroid pumped up birds, to the GMO everything else! We, as the people who raped their entire nation, should THANK them! Or at least have some sort of “Apology to the Native American Indians Day”? Or just dump the whole stupid day all together! And while you’re at it, you can dump all the other wasteful days. All people complain about these days is the economy. Stop the wars, go to only one professional game of your choice a year. Buy hybrid cars and not Land rovers. I have never even seen a Landover rove the land! Get your priorities straight. All the holidays should be one gift, and yet another unhealthy meal. and just enjoy the people who you have chosen to spend this day with. And don’t start imbibing at 11 am and then begin the arguing in the middle of your gorging. Giving children candy for a Pagan Holiday (All Hallows Eve) is not only ridiculous, but makes candy look like a reward. And the more the better. Learn about what this day represents and you will probably (being good christians). probably boycott the whole thing. Same with Easter. Think about what your priorities are people. Engaging in wasteful and unhealthy behavior, or just be kind to one another every day!.

  165. Barbara, if you are invited to the mentioned dinner, you can either say no, we will not be there, or bring your own food. It seems rude to me that when people invite others to dine with them, they have the gall to expect the host/hostess to go out of their way to fix special food? So rude!
    I understand that others have food issues, but to expect me to cater to every dietary request is beyond the pale.
    Just accept the invite and bring your own, or stay home!

  166. Hey, Darla – Not nice! I, too, love Helen’s wit, and her unwillingness to put up with fussbiddies about every little thing – but your telling someone with serious celiac disease to “lighten up” isn’t much different from yanking a person out of a wheelchair and telling him or her to “just walk.”

    If somebody wants to be “weird” about what they eat, and why, they’re going to do it: It’s not “free-range,” McNuggets are the food of Ba’al, eating meat is murder, whatever… But some people have serious medical concerns; Lopez Island sounds like one of those people.

    Everybody I’ve ever known with a life-threatening food allergy has been, to a one, absolutely gracious about bringing his or her own food (and enough to share), not making a fuss about anything anyone else is eating… And would like nothing more than to just dig into a pumpkin pie or a slice of pizza and think nothing more about it.

    So I think Helen’s issue is people who are so damned precious and demanding about their “needs,” not people with serious concerns. (Note she mentions the bloody cell phones at the table as equally offensive – and I don’t blame her for that!)

    At any rate, hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving, and every mouthful of whatever!


  167. lol. Happy Thanksgiving Helen, Margaret, Matthew, and
    everyone else. No shopping for me, except for food, of course, oh and chocolate…

  168. Loved the letter. Loved the sentiments. Could not agree with them more. Hey, Lopez Island, this has nothing to do with being “politically correct.” Lighten up and take the panties out of your crack.

  169. Reblogged this on So Says Kimyatta and commented:
    Okay…I think this is utterly hilarious! I can sooooo this being me and Karen one day…fussin’ at the kids and grandkids ’bout some new fangled foolishness.

  170. Always love your blog. If I eat gluten I am doubled over in pain for days. So as usual, I am bringing the pies and stuffing……all gluten free and very delicious.

  171. Helen –

    I usually love your column, but NOT this time. You obviously do not understand why someone may request a gluten-free meal. Can you understand when someone with a nut allergy says they can’t come to dinner if you are not very careful to make sure there are no nuts? I have celiac disease. While I don’t go into anaphylactic shock when I eat gluten, I do end up in real pain. My hands and feet swell. I cannot grip anything. Circulation to my hands and feet becomes a real problem, not allowing me to stand or sit in a chair for very long, nor to sleep for more than a couple hours before the pain becomes unendurable and requires me to get up and walk around to get blood back to my hands and feet. My joints in hands, arms, shoulders, legs and feet all swell very painfully. And then, of course, there is the intestinal stuff: incredible gas pains, violent diarrhea followed the next day by near surgical-quality constipation.

    So. Now that you know better (one would hope): Were you just uninformed, or are you truly the horrible person you came across as? – Obviously being politically aware does not always translate into compassion.

    Barbara Keller

    “I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything, But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” –Helen Keller

    Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 12:55:49 +0000 To: ba_keller@hotmail.com

  172. Ok, but what is the recipe for your stuffing? Not fair not to publish this! :-)

  173. Happy Thanksgiving. You’re menu pretty much exactly matches mine as do the memories and the horseshoes.

  174. I wish my mother hadn’t developed celiac disease at age 77. She misses wheat bread, pie crusts, stuffing, etc. Sometimes I have to ask and make sure foods don’t have wheat hidden in them, and I am sorry if that bothers people. But then you don’t have to clean up the mess that happens when an 81-year-old lady has the resulting intestinal problems.

  175. Well put and well said! Somebody needs to state the obvious. May you have an enjoyable holiday!

  176. You have described the magic meal of my memories and one I hope to continue eating for another decade or two, at least. I can’t eat the four or five helpings I used to, but I sure as hell enjoy the two I’m still able to savor. Happy Givethanksing.

  177. To the folks who need gluten free foods. I don’t think Helen is objecting to your diet, just the tendency of some to constantly talk about the subject. Eat what you want, just don’t inhibit others from enjoying their meals. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

  178. Love you guys. Happy Traditional Thanksgiving.

  179. Dear Helen and Margaret too!

    As ever, I always look forward to your Thanksgiving letter to the family – and to seeing your extend family that you generously invite on to your porch. You have never failed to leave room for everyone, gluten free or not. The point is to be together and share camaraderie no matter what the real and necessary or imagined dietary restrictions may be.

    Thank you once again for your continuing wit and wisdom.

    Aloha! :-) :-) :-) Namaste. Shalom. Saalam. Peace.

    Auntie Jean

  180. I love the writer of this wonderful letter! May she reign for many happy, healthy years.

  181. I would love to know the menu, for this traditional Thanksgiving meal that you prepare every year!!! I’m sure it’s delish!

  182. And for those who think people with celiac disease should just bring a dish of their own, or pick and choose from what’s available, have you ever heard of cross-contamination?

  183. Margaret, I love your posts, but this time I have to disagree with you regarding gluten-free diets. For a lot of people this is just another fad diet, but for some of us, it is not a choice. I would be deathly ill within an hour if I got so much as a crumb of gluten. Go easy on us, please!

  184. I prefer wine, too. Cheers! And a happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  185. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for many things and included in that list are all the great letters you write and share.

  186. Except for people who are sent to the hospital by gluten, like my dear sister in law. The FAD for avoiding gluten is making life even more difficult for people who really are gluten intolerant.

    Would you force milk or cream on someone who is lactose intolerant (same result- horrible pain) or someone for whom most nuts spell anaphylactic shock?

  187. Great post! Just one thing though: some people are allergic, or at least intolerant, to gluten (like my dad), so some gluten-free stuff is a good idea IF you have such a person in your family. If not: screw the calories (uninvited those who think they need to lecture you on that) and enjoy the gluten-gluttony!

  188. gluten turned into a craze for some who don’t have to avoid it

    - some of us do very poorly when we eat gluten [like a peanut allergy and that isn't fake either] Just Saying

    a few seconds ago · Like

  189. […] got a giggle reading Helen’s Letter to the Family from the Margaret and Helen Blog. That Helen has got some spunk. I hope I’m just like her by […]

  190. Amazing and wonderful! Thank you, you said it right!

  191. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Wear loose clothes. I plan to do the same!

  192. What’s your house address again? :) Be Thankful and Happy!

  193. what’s your address again?

  194. Happy Thanksgiving, Margaret and Helen. I’m thankful for your wit and wisdom. Keep it up!

  195. So, um, what time should I be there? Sounds delicious to me!

  196. Bless you for your directness. Living in a place where gluten free is a watch word and makes me cringe (although I found it works best not to eat white flour or any flour too much – but pumpkin pie with a crust that breaks won’t fly). And thanks for reminding us that Thanksgiving has been held hostage, not just by health fanatics but by our shopping. Shop local on Friday.

  197. What she said. Yup. All of it.
    I’ve been awaiting this annual letter. Thanks for the giggles!

  198. Dear Helen,
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and be well! I really miss my wonderful little Texas grandmother. You are right on telling the family to enjoy the traditional dishes. People with real allergies know how to take care of themselves. And if they don’t then they’d better learn. I would never in a million years have told my mother to stop serving her glorious food nor would I honor my own grown kids if they were to tell me what to serve. Eat what you want, leave the rest. Good grief!!!

  199. I love your posts!! You make me homesick for some of my favorite people-who have left us too soon. It’s one day-enjoy being with your loved ones and keep all your problems to yourself!!!

  200. Have a terrific Thanksgiving with your family Helen, and I really mean it! :)

  201. Funniest damned thing I’ve ever read!!! Will you be my grandmother? Oh, and I’ll take seconds on the gluten, if you don’t mind.

  202. I’m sure I’ve tripped on a cordless phone!

    Happy thanksgiving, Margaret and Helen and all my dear friends here. God bless!

  203. As always, love and best wishes to both you wonderful ladies.

  204. Just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without your wonderful letter! Ooops, almost tripped over that cordless phone! :-) Everyone remember, turn your scales back 10 pounds before you go to bed Wednesday night! Have a wonderful day everyone. Thanks Helen!

  205. Happy Thanksgiving Margaret and Helen. Be thankful when you have someone to share a meal with folks. Not every body does have someone and there are those empty chairs at every ones table.

  206. I enjoy your Stalinesque tone. Eat this pig stuffing with intestines filled with lard and crispy ear bits. No? Oh ! No thank you. Very nice. Take pistol and stick under chin pointing barrel to back of skull right here. Pull trigger or eat stuffing now before it’s cooked. How is taste. Nauseating? Of course. I would have pulled trigger, but you kids today, dumb like Churchill.

  207. HI, Kathy – I don’t blame you one bit… And I think you’re likely to see some non-shopping supporters outside where you work (if it’s one of the big-box places), backing you up. Not that this spares you having to work on Thanksgiving, but at least you’ll know plenty of the public agrees with you. Hopefully your higher-ups will get the message.

    Costco and Home Depot and TJ Maxx, among others, are getting BIG kudos – and shoppers’ dollars – for staying closed on Turkey Day…

    Hope you find a time to celebrate, even if it’s not Thursday!


  208. For all the people taking offense about gluten free: She’s talking about the gluten-free fad, not anyone with a diagnosed medical problem. Seriously, I’ve never seen so much attention (and blame attached) to something that has been in the human diet for at least the past 4 or 5 millennia.

    I also note that those members of my family who have had celiac disease or a gluten allergy have made it just fine through our family Thanksgiving dinners by the simple expedient of choosing the foods on the table that don’t have gluten in them. If you look at the menu Helen has posted, there’s quite a bit there. Rather than demanding that everything on the table has to cater to your particular diet, the best thing is to be there, enjoy the company, and just eat what you can.

  209. Helen, I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. If someone in the family has Celiac disease please have some patience and allow them to bring a dish to contribute to the meal. I am darned sure what you are cooking is great because it sure sounds that way. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. You have kept this Canadian in stitches for some time now. And my family, who I call and read your blogs too. And the thousands of Facebook friends. Man have you started some discussions. And twitter. And the odd stranger or two who have heard me reading out parts of your blog to friends in public places. I hope when I reach your age I can share as well as you do,

  210. Happy Thanksgiving Margaret and Helen. Eat what you like and take a nice long walk.

  211. Knock it off, people….she’s talking about the gluten free craze that is everywhere…people diagnosing themselves with gluten intolerance and driving the rest of us nuts. We had to cancel a pot luck lunch at work because people got all goofy over what we could and could not serve..and not ONE person has been diagnosed by a doctor as having gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease. She is NOT dissing Celiac disease or the people who suffer from it ( and have been legitimately diagnosed as such ). Seriously, unknot those undies and just enjoy the letter for what it is. I love Helen and Margaret…always ON TARGET !

  212. Wow all the hate regarding gluten! The folks with food allergies did NOT dictate the entire meal during my life. They avoided that which was bad for them, while allowing everyone else to enjoy. They brought food to share that was within their dietary constraints. However, people who were simply jumping on a fad either ate what was there or went hungry. Jeez.

  213. Well said. Happy Thanksgiving Ladies!!
    “those kids could trip over a cordless phone.”…LOL!!!

  214. I personally think that the REAL War on Thanksgiving is being waged by the retailers who just HAVE to open on Thanksgiving! And, as someone who has to work that day-in a STORE, not in an essential position such as police officer, etc.-let me tell you something: We do NOT have a choice and we DESPISE all of you who shop instead of spend time with your families and friends!
    (HAD to get that out!)

  215. Happy Thanksgiving my friends. Love Yinzs all. ❤

  216. My grandson has a diagnosis of Celiac, done by taking a piece of his gut and testing is 6 ways from Sunday. No gluten for him – unless you want him to get sick! The rest is fine!

  217. Pam.gieseke@digikey.com

  218. Have a great holiday. I wish I was coming to your house.

  219. “….kids could trip on a cordless phone.” Too funny. Thanks for sharing and happy Thanksgiving. BTG

  220. Also, everyone commenting on how Helen should be sensitive to celiacs, she’s obviously not speaking ill of them any more than she’s speaking ill of diabetics who can’t eat pie — it’s the FAD she’s dissing. Which, quite frankly, really pisses off my celiac friend who is annoyed by how bad this stupid trend is making her look when her need is medical. This gluten-free craze is stupid!! :)

  221. You’re spot on as usual Helen – have an awesome Thanksgiving and may everyone’s cell phones stay in the car…

  222. Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 12:55:19 +0000 To: donnabhall@hotmail.com

  223. Have a great holiday ladies!!!

  224. Oh for fuck’s sake people – the gluten thing is funny. Pull the sticks out of your asses and just laugh.

    - signed, mom to a kid who is gluten free by necessity.

  225. […] http://margaretandhelen.com/2013/11/26/thanksgiving-letter-to-the-family-2013/ […]

  226. I have two Celiac people in my house….the first few years were horrible, but we have figured it out and can’t even tell for the most part that everything is cooked gluten free with rice. Just in time for my niece to come along who’s allergic to rice… however it’s worth it to have the family together…..they are priceless.

  227. I agree with most of what you’ve said. But not about the gluten. I have a family member who can’t have gluten, and if she does, she gets quite sick. I mean SICK. Not having gluten isn’t about being fussy. It’s about not becoming sick and unable to participate in the day and the next day.
    Thankfully, turkey and cranberries and potatoes don’t have guluten – but the gravy will if you make it with flour.

  228. Helen, Sweetie, if you eat every meal like this, it soon will be your last.
    You crazy lady….or, whoever, you are.

  229. Helen, I love you and have turned many people on to Margret and Helen but I have to take issue with you on the gulten thing.. If you are celiac, eating gluten makes you SICK. Same as if you are lactose intolerant, milk products make you SICK. It is NOT some fashion diet.

  230. Dear Steve, its a day of reflecting on growing up here in OK City where we are celebrating Thanksgiving with our children and their spouses, and Marcia’s parents. John is 90 and Doris is not far behind him, still living in their house and (God help us), driving the streets of this large city. Ellen and Jonathan will be on hand to play interference between Marcia and her mother before and during the Thanksgiving dinner cooking, so I think the rest of us can watch tv in peace. We drove by my junior high, high school and childhood church yesterday. For reasons I don’t even want to hear, they have changed the name of May Ave. UMC to Cornerstone UMC. The contempory worship seekers have taken over I fear. Anyway, family memories have been flooding back. My high school that was 100% white, except for my best friend who was Choctaw/Cherokee, is now something like 40% Black and 30% Hispanic as the heighorhood has changed. God bless another good friend who lives and works in Chicago, but returns to OKC to raise money for our old school. Taxes won’t cover the costs any more. Well, enough rambling. In memory of your father I offer this Margaret and Helen letter (I recommend subscribing to this, free of charge). The political comments will keep you in stitches). Some things about Thanksgiving dinner should not change, at least in our life time. May your family gatherings in the coming days lighten your heartache, and give you generous reasons for thanksgiving to God. Peace of Christ, Mike

  231. Thank you Helen for making my day better, I was looking forward to getting a new post for your Thanksgiving to your family. It came at the right time. Hoping you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving….
    and yours also Margaret

  232. My feelings exactly, Helen. If someone must have gluten-free (and this applies to VERY few of those who choose to eat gluten-free), they can eat the veggies and the turkey and keep quiet about their afflection. The Thanksgiving table is not the place to discuss it. I’m glad you’re setting some clear and sensible rules and I hope your table is full of delicious food, with happy, caring people there to enjoy it and one another – and be thankful you are part of their lives!

  233. I. Heart. You. ‘nough said. Happy Thanksgiving. :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLc2hDHVHgo

  234. I love it and you!!! Happy Gluten Day

  235. I’m just thankful I discovered your blog, Helen. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  236. Great letter!!! Thanksgiving only comes once a year. Eat, drink and be merry!!! Life is too short.

  237. This is the first post I’ve disagreed with. If a person is eating gluten free they may need too. They could bring some amazingly good gluten free foods to share and believe me, if they are eating gluten free, they will know what does or doesn’t have gluten.

  238. Oh my Dear……you took the words right out of my mouth! Particularly # 2……I hope your day is peaceful family as I hope for mine….first time together since the intervention….last time in this house; I’m moving to an apartment!

  239. Amen Margaret. You’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head again. Happy Thanksgiving.

  240. I love your Thanksgiving letter.

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