What's Tony Thinking

I Really Am Thankful


It’s the day before Thanksgiving. And honestly, I am overwhelmed with gratitude.

For Joe Biden’s election, and the beginning of a serious and decent new administration.

I could join the chorus of voices damning Republicans for their failure to challenge Trump in recent weeks. But I really wish for a season and spirit of reconciliation, of healing and some cessation of the partisan vitriol. I’m trying to do my small part in that direction, calling a truce in the culture wars. Trying to avoid seeing the world in tribes and camps.

I am so grateful for the poll workers, civil servants, elected officials and judges (of both political parties) that protected American democracy during and after this election, who did their jobs in the face of threats, who upheld the law.

I am thankful for the people, like Janet Yellen, who are answering the call to service in the new administration.

Closer to home, today would have been my sister, Regan’s 70th birthday. She died six years ago, at age 63. We miss her. I miss her. This morning my nephew, her son Sam, sent a remembrance that included a favorite poem of her’s by Seamus Heaney and a photo of the two of us as children. You’ll find these below.

We have also been touched by some recent deaths. We have felt the passing, in particular, of two good men, Dick O’Connell and Kekapa Lee. Dick, who lived in our south-end neighborhood, had a construction business there. He employed local kids including our son, Nick, teaching them the trades. One of Dick’s sons, Andrew, Nick’s close high school buddy, is now the principal at Franklin High School. They played together in the Franklin jazz band.

Kekapa was a pastor in Hawaii and as such a colleague. Part Native Hawaiian, Kekapa embodied the kind and generous spirit of his people and of Hawaii. He had such a lovely, shy smile.

There’s a strange way in which death, at least often, seems to enrich our wonder at the gift and preciousness of life.

Here’s the Heaney poem and the photo of Regan and me. A blessed Thanksgiving to you all.


And some time make the time to drive out west
Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,
In September or October, when the wind
And the light are working off each other
So that the ocean on one side is wild
With foam and glitter, and inland among stones
The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit
By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,
Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,
Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads
Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.
Useless to think you’ll park and capture it
More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,
A hurry through which known and strange things pass
As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways
And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.


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