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by Abigail Van Buren

In Our Troubled Times, We Still Have Thanks to Give

DEAR READERS: Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So let us pause for a moment today and make a mental note of all those blessings for which we can be thankful.

How is your health? You have a few minor complaints? Well, thank God they're not major. If you're reading this -- you're still here. You can probably think of at least one person who isn't around this year. (I know I can.)

If you awakened this morning and were able to hear the birds sing, use your vocal cords to utter human sounds, read the newspaper with two good eyes (or even one) -- praise the Lord! A lot of people couldn't. (Say a prayer for those who have perished -- from natural causes, fire, flood, earthquake or war.)

How's your pocketbook? Thin? You're not alone. But many people in much of the world are a lot poorer and have far less hope than we have in America.

Are you lonely? Well, the way to have a friend is to reach out to someone and try to be a friend. If nobody calls you, call someone. Go out of your way today to do something nice for another person. It's a sure cure for the blues.

Are you concerned about your country's future? Hooray! Our system has been saved by such concern -- concern for fair treatment under the law. Our country may not be a rose garden, but it is far from a patch of weeds.

Freedom rings! Look and listen. You can worship in the church of your choice (or not worship at all if that's your choice), cast a secret ballot and even criticize our government without fear of retribution. And for the first time, we are living in a unipolar world free from the threat of impending nuclear disaster.

As a final thought I'll repeat my Thanksgiving prayer. Perhaps you will want to use it at your table tomorrow -- let one of the children read it:

"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."

May the spirit of Thanksgiving be shared by one and all! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and yours. -- Love, Abby

P.S. Why not invite a friend who lives alone to share a Thanksgiving meal -- or better yet, call and say, "I'm coming to get you, and I'll see that you get home." Try it, and let me know how your day was.

Most teen-agers do not know the facts about drugs, AIDS, and how to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It's all in Abby's new, updated, expanded booklet, "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)

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