I was thinking about Thanksgiving all week and decided I would not talk about that memorable meal. Rather I devoted my mental time listing my gratitudes. I love the Henry Albert Hymn of 1844 “Come, ye Thankful People, come, raise the song of harvest home; All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin;” I have a wonderful life — a job I enjoy, a warm comfortable home, plenty to eat, thoughtful children, sweet grandchildren and good friends.

Speaking of friends, I am happy to report that my best friend of 35 years, Sharlee, and I have never had to go into therapy. We get a complete kick out of each other. We were fortunate to go on National Public Radio’s Story Corps and have a recording of some of our adventures preserved in the Library of Congress. She made me laugh out loud last week, telling about taking the lawn mower to her vegetable garden as the weeds were so out of control. She ran over an unseen winter squash and splattered it everywhere.

Last week’s cold snap gave me a bit of anxiety. I killed all the begonias and geraniums in the greenhouse as I had failed to button it up against the serious cold. It seemed a little early for such a chill. The good news is that the tasks left undone can be ignored for keeps.

I put down winter rye just before the arctic blast and have pretty much abandoned all hope for germination. No matter, the crows have been working over the plot anyway.

I just polished off the last of the Asian pears. Alicia Lesnikowski brought them over after work one day last week. I didn’t take time to properly thank her or to “ooh” and “aah” as I was at the end of a rather successful pig chase. Honestly they are the most irksome of the creatures.

Thanks to Pat from David Finklestein’s office. She sent a great story via the U.S. mail. A man was always fascinated by the falling of autumn leaves and one day watched an individual leaf intently until the exact moment it let go. It tossed and turned as he ran around trying to catch it. Finally at the last moment as he was about to snag his prize, the sun blinded him and it was lost in a huge pile of its peers. He left for home, dejectedly. When removing his jacket, there was his leaf stuck by its stem in his chest pocket.

In the current economic situation, it would be wise to put the Thanksgiving day leftovers to work for you. Start by picking every bit of meat from the carcass. I freeze a couple of packages of meat for later on so I don’t get tired of it now and risk wasting it. I use my biggest stock pot to cook that carcass for hours on the back of the woodstove. Luckily I have plenty of herbs in the garden to add to the mix. When finally strained, (the bones go to the pigs), I cool and freeze a few containers for soup mid-winter. The rest can be cooked down into a rich broth. Add the other leftovers (peas, creamed onions, squash and some turkey). Top with biscuit dough, mashed potatoes, or any extra stuffing and bake. I never use a recipe, just make it up as I go along.

I can’t believe I’m about to say this but, being a free country and all, I am tossing caution to the wind.

I agree with Sarah Palin. Her interview following the annual pardoning of the turkey was held at the local turkey farm while birds were being dispatched in the background. The news media had a field day carrying on about the inappropriateness of it and how disgusting. Chris Matthews of MSNBC likened it to pardoning Scooter Libby with an execution taking place on camera at the same time.

People, for Pete’s sake, we all enjoyed our holiday turkey and I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings — someone killed it first. We seem to have no problem watching television and big-screen homicides, tortures and horrendous inhumanity to man, but we are way too tenderhearted to think our meal had to die first. I admired Gov. Palin, for once!