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My reasons to be grateful: Sneed

The Country Shop Winnetkdisplays Thanksgiving theme one it's display windows. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

The Country Shop in Winnetka displays a Thanksgiving theme in one of it's display windows. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: December 30, 2013 11:59AM

Giving thanks . . .

So much loss since last Thanksgiving; innocent victims at a marathon in Boston; children attending grammar school in Newtown, Conn.; workers killed in a U.S. Navy Yard in our nation’s capital.

But as tragic as loss of life; let’s rejoice in the fact they lived.

So once again, it’s time to dig out the old Sneed list of reasons to be grateful.

So here goes.

◆ A son named Patrick and his glorious gift to me this August: a bride named Sarah Rebecca Peglow.

◆ The memory of my beloved Zeb, a good dog who died on a warm spring day when he should have been chasing squirrels.

◆ The wisdom of Joan Grothe, a dear family friend — whose death last weekend ended a living connection to my parents. Her husband, Ron, is my hero.

Mom.A treasure beyond measure.

Dad. A beloved pain in the neck; war hero; daydreamer; perfectionist; calm water pebble-tosser; who could quote football’s Vince Lombardi, baseball’s Dizzy Dean . . . and the poetry of Omar Khayyam.

◆ The glacial swill of a North Shore vodka martini mit olive juice. (Hey, Shamus!)

◆ The comfort of animals named “Q” and “Minou.”

◆ The splendid San Raphael Valley near Patagonia, Ariz.

◆ My mother’s turkey stuffing, potato salad, and pie crust.

◆ Mincemeat pie.

◆ Antique malls. Auctions.

◆ Roadtrips.

◆ A town called “Why.”

◆ The memory of the late journalist Anne Keegan when we were young mothers; traveling to “dangerous” places with Dorothy Collin; Leslie Hindman and Mary Lou Gorno.

◆ Katy Keene comic books.

◆ The ability to vote.

◆ Newspapers.

◆ Books.

◆ Kindness.

◆ Growing up in North Dakota.

◆ The crucible endured by former Gov. George Ryan and his late wife, Lura Lynn, during her battle with cancer and subsequent death while he was in prison.

◆ The courage of foster parents who have the guts to love a child they may one day lose; the adoptive family of Baby Richard, who may someday come to know the love they have for him.

◆ The Missouri River.

◆ My grandmother’s sweetpea fence and her name, which also belongs to me: Mary Isabel.

◆ My garden.

◆ Trees.

◆ Peonies.

◆ Sparrows. Owls.

◆ Old time radio with Jack Benny and Phil Harris.

◆ Reading a newspaper with a coffee chaser at the Three Tarts Bakery and Cafe in Northfield . . . or a one-shot latte at Blair Cooke’s uniquely original Alchemy Coffee House in Wilmette.

◆ The window displays at the Country Shop in Winnetka.

◆ The Sonoran Desert at 8 a.m.; shadows at 5 p.m.

◆ The Arizona Inn in Tucson, my five-day respite each year with my adorable sister, Jacie.

◆ The White Stallion Ranch outside Tucson run by a family named True.

◆ The late Monsignor Ignatius McDermott, the angel of Skid Row; retired Chicago Police Chaplain Tom Nangle; the “Our Father” sung during mass at Northwestern University’s Sheil Catholic Center Chapel; my personal angel, Bobby DiTuri.

◆ Midsomer Murders. Masterpiece Theatre. Inspector Morse. Homeland. Boardwalk Empire. The Military Channel and the history of World War II.

◆ A photographer sidekick: Val Mazzenga.

◆ The Red Cabbage Cafe in Puerto Vallarta; the balcony at La Roca in Nogales, Mexico.

◆ Bees.

◆ Crickets, but not in my basement.

◆ A gathering of High Hens and their leader, former Labor Secretary Lynn Martin.

◆ Ald. Ed Burke singing “Who Threw The Overalls in Mrs. Murphy’s Chowder;” Joe Hannon’s book list; Christmas cassoulet; Michelle Klarchek’s apple pie; Kate van Dyke’s Christmas cookie party; Carol Carroll’s indomitable spirit. . . when she’s not being bossy; a “woof” painting by Georgene Campion.

For this, I give thanks . . . always.

Finally, the English poet Chidiock Tichborne, who penned “Elegy” in 1586:

“My tale was heard and yet it was not told,

“My fruit is fallen and yet my leaves are green,

“My youth is spent and yet I am not old,

“I saw the world and yet I was not seen,

“My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,

“And now I live, and now my life is done.”

Sneedlings . . .

Thursday’s birthdays: Randy Newman, 70; Berry Gordy Jr., 84, and William Froelke, 90.

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