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DEAR READERS: By popular demand, here is my traditional Thanksgiving column:

Today is Thanksgiving Day, so take a few minutes to reflect upon all the things for which you are thankful.

How's your health? Not so good? Well, thank God you've lived this long. A lot of people haven't. You're hurting? Thousands -- maybe millions -- are hurting even more. (Have you ever visited a veterans hospital? Or a rehabilitation clinic for crippled children?)

If you awakened this morning and were able to hear the birds sing, use your vocal cords to utter human sounds, walk to the breakfast table on two good legs, and read the newspaper with two good eyes, praise the Lord! A lot of people couldn't.

How's your pocketbook? Thin? Well, most of the world is a lot poorer. No pensions. No welfare. No food stamps. No Social Security. In fact, one-third of the people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight.

Are you lonely? The way to have a friend is to be one. If nobody calls you, pick up the phone and call someone.

Are you concerned about your country's future? Hooray! Our system has been saved by such concern. Your country may not be a rose garden, but neither is it a patch of weeds.

Freedom rings! Look and listen. You can still worship at the church of your choice, cast a secret ballot, and even criticize your government without fearing a knock on the head or a knock on the door at midnight. And if you want to live under a different system, you are free to go. There are no walls or fences -- nothing to keep you here.

As a final thought, I'll repeat my Thanksgiving prayer; perhaps you will want to use it at your table today:

O heavenly Father:

We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.

We thank thee for health and remember the sick.

We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service

That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and yours. -- LOVE, ABBY

An afterthought: Want an instant high? The surest cure for the holiday blues is doing something nice for someone. Why not call a person who lives alone and invite him or her to share dinner?

Better yet, call and say, "I'm coming to get you, and I'll see that you get home." (Some older people don't drive, and those who do may not like to go out after dark.)

Try it. And let me know the results.

P.S. Special greetings to those of you in the military who wrote from remote corners of the world to tell me that you are using my prayer on this Thanksgiving Day.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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