It's that time of year again, when we are supposed to turn a bit inward to find and count our blessings.

It's that time of year again, when we are supposed to turn a bit inward to find and count our blessings. They change year by year, of course, sometimes meager, sometimes bountiful, but even the black-hearted cynic that is The Observer believes all of us have something to be thankful for if we really think about it. It's one of the best things about humanity: our capacity to see a faint sparkle of daylight even when life has mired us at the darkest bottom of the deep blue sea.

The Observer's cup of thankfulness currently runneth over, even though we're edging onto the back nine of life. We're a morose son of a pistol most of the time, instantly distrustful of the irredeemably joyous, but we've always had the ability to unplug from our troubles — real and imagined — and think of how others have got it worse than we do, and count the things for which we have to be thankful.

The Observer, for instance, is thankful that our back has finally settled down to its standard ache instead of the screwdriver-in-the-spine agony that afflicted us every time we sat or stood, lay down or walked, sneezed or coughed, throughout much of September and the whole of October. We can see how people get their lives turned ass-up by opioid goofballs when chained to a nagging, inescapable pain like that. Had we not reported some years back on the double misery of chronic sufferers who wound up hooked on pills, we might have been tempted. Luckily, good ol' brown liquor before bed and some rudimentary yoga stretches imposed on us by Spouse saw us through and helped us get some sleep until the radioactive ouch generator in our lower back gave up the ghost. For now.

We're thankful for democracy, which saw voters deliver enough souls to Congress come January to put a check on the orange lunatic in the White House, he who appears to honestly think that some good ol' elbow grease with a yard rake and 50 bajillion lawn and leaf bags are all California needs to stop wildfires the size of Rhode Island after seven unbroken years of drought have turned the state into a tinderbox; he who recently called U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) "Adam Schitt" like a particularly dim and unimaginative playground bully, even though historians are always scribbling down notes for posterity; he who said that he was much, much too busy to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veterans Day, even though he spends more time on social media than your average Kardashian; he who thinks trade wars are good and easy to win even as soybeans rot in great heaps outside packed American silos. But never fear, Arkansas soybean farmers! We're sure Arkansas's recently re-elected Republican lineup in the U.S. House will stand up to Big Orange and give you something to be thankful for on the trade front! Eventually. If not, them damn snooty Democrats you seem to hate worse than pigweed will give it the ol' college try. You're welcome.

We're thankful for brown beans for Sunday dinner in the fall, especially with a little ham, a skillet of cornbread and a splash from the jar of pickled peppers, a flavor that takes us back home as surely as Proust's fancy-ass little cookies. We're also thankful for our beloved Spouse, who reports she may have to take up sleeping in the yard in a tent every Sunday night if Yours Truly doesn't get some of those carbon-packed, fart-defeating tighty-whiteys we've seen advertised in the classier magazines.

And, of course, we're thankful for you, my friend. Yes, you, sitting reading this, perhaps with furrowed brow, given that we just served up the image of Yours Truly sleeping, bean-besotted and Dutch-ovening our long-suffering Spouse. While there have been times when we have succumbed to the temptation to write more for ourselves than FYI, we usually manage to keep our eyes on the prize: to deliver something of value to the folks who take the time to read this in coffee shops or their easy chair, in bed before lights out or waiting in line for a bagel. What a gift it is to know that you're reading these words right now, wherever you are, whoever you are, and that you still care. So thanks. You keep reading 'em and we'll keep writing 'em, as long as the Good Lord is willing to let the both of us keep on. As for now: The Observer smiles upon you, and bestows blessings to you and yours for the happiest of Thanksgivings.



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