Now don’t get me wrong, my life inspires profound gratitude — between work, my loves and the people and places that astonish me daily — I treasure all its glorious, messy details.

For Thanksgiving, however, I thought I’d send a few notes to several folks one wouldn’t ordinarily acknowledge.

Dear Bumper-sticker-plastered-car people,

    Thanks so much for shortening the “let me get to know you & your likes and dislikes” friend process. I guess in our drive-thru world, you are just making my life simpler. So Miss Prius with the “dirt worshipping tree-hugger,” the “darwin fish,” and the “coexist” sticker — I think we could hang. But you, dude, in the Blazer sporting naked girl mudflaps with stickers reading “heritage not hate” and the confederate battle flag — ’cause you know, it may be heritage but it’s pretty hating — not so much. You say, you’re more than those stickers and I should know you before I judge….. really?

Dear David Letterman, Chris Brown, Jon Gosselin, and all current celebrity I’m-a-Sinner’s,

    Thanks so much for allowing me to make my daughter’s 6th grade health class come alive. How kind of you to take the time to commit felonies, tarnish your reputation(s) and in general act like an ass, just so I could educate my child in the choices she shouldn’t make in life. Although I do have to commend you, Mr. Letterman. I did get to say, that’s how you own up without weaseling — rather refreshing for a lesson in this category.


Dear Norbert (the fat, fuzzy groundhog down the street),

    Thanks so much for giving me a lesson in resilience and reminding me of the magic of a mom’s imagination. In case you’re wondering, Knoxville has rather more groundhogs than bunnies, and so I have relentlessly anthropomorphicized you & your brethren. It has been rather wonderful to watch you sunning yourself on these autumn afternoons. Then, without warning, the little house behind which you burrowed was flattened by the bulldozers. Anxiously, I scanned the field each time I drove your way. Finally, I saw you busily digging a new hole. Cheers erupted in the car — and I knew you would be fine. Thanks also, because as I keep the girls updated on your saga — I remember stories from my mother. When I was a little girl, Mama was in the hospital for six months. We weren’t allowed to go up to her room to visit, so she waved at us from the balcony as we sat on picnic tables in a little grove of trees. She wrote down stories about the squirrels that lived in that little glade. Chippy and Chappy (the squirrels) had many adventures, but were always safe because “Mama” squirrel loved and protected them.

As I said, I don’t anticipate mailing anonymous drivers, groundhogs and zipper-challenged celebrities letters anytime soon, yet they are among those who have brought wonder, clarity and most definitely humor to the past year!

postal songs: The Letter (Natalie Merchant, she does the longest encores of anyone I’ve ever heard); Wanted to Write a Love Song (the Cat Empire — love or hate kind of band); Lady Writer (Dire Straits – they are one of my go-to bands); Death Letter (I like John Mellencamp’s cover, but if I’m going traditional check out Son Volt); I’m Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself a Letter (8 billion people have recorded this, but Madeleine Peyroux’s version is charming & jazzy); Send Your Love (Sting, featuring Vicente Amigo- insistently jazzy, with a pop hook); Please Read the Letter (Alison Krauss & Robert Plant — a strangely effective duo); Love Letter (Bonnie Raitt does it best, but Natalie Cole has a convincing cover); Airmail Special (David Grisman, John Hartford, & Mike Seeger — love, love, love the Retrograss album); Little Love Letter #1 (Carlene Carter — I think she’s under-appreciated); Return to Sender (Elvis – ’cause he HAS to be here); Letters (Donna Hughes — she is so cool, I hope to see her again in December, maybe?); Letter to Eve (Indigo Girls-where are they now?); You Send Me (Sam Cooke-he was just coooool); Hello It’s Me (Todd Rundgren — not as cool, but I always imagined this song, as drunk writing instead of dialing); Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Stevie Wonder – my oldest loves this song, which is pretty neat) and Please Mister Postman (the Beatles- the standard)

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year. –> Ralph Waldo Emerson

Take care,

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