Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


    May all of you have, or have had, a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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    Andy Rooney finishes up the “60 Minutes” program on CBS Sunday nights with commentary on whatever subject he chooses, and he comes up with a variety of topics, which would otherwise seldom be discussed. Take Thanksgiving, for instance. He noted that not only was Thanksgiving a distinctly American holiday, but it was also one which doesn’t involve any great pressure to buy something. Even turkeys are so well associated with Thanksgiving that stores hardly need to emphasize them, except perhaps as loss leaders so that people will buy other food items for the big day.
    Thinking of the wondrous displays of food on Thanksgiving reminded me of another custom in the food line which has grown throughout the years.
    It used to be that when anyone wanted to take home something from a restaurant meal that they had not eaten that they would ask for a “doggy bag.”
    The thought seemed to be that diners did not want to advertise the fact that they wanted the food for themselves, and when the practice started the item to be taken home was often a scrap of meat or a bone.
    Now the phrase “doggy bag” covers any food item left over on the plate. And, since it seems that most restaurants serve more food than can easily be eaten, at least by most people, that the food servings often leave enough to take home.
    We find at our house that the “doggy bag” leftovers sometimes pile up in the refrigerator and we have to concentrate on either eating them up or reluctantly throwing them away.
    Taking food home has become such a common practice that restaurants often have special containers. One we got the other day was an attractive little basket, not a bag, and it was made from recycled paperboard and even endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association.
    Times have changed.
    Andy Rooney, by the way, still considers himself a “newspaperman” even though he is known most widely for his television appearances. He also writes columns which appear in newspapers across the country. And he is an inspiration to the older newspapermen of the land, this one included, because he keeps going even in his middle ’80s.
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    Although I consider myself to be of an easy-going nature, one of the common business practices of today does raise my ire. I refer to automatic telephone answering devices.
    Basically these devices mean that the business or professional office being called is more interested in saving their time than yours.
    A case in point was my experience this week in trying to reach a doctor’s office. It had to be a busy day at the office, all right, because nearly a half hour was spent in trying to get through the busy signals. And when contact was made there were even more delays in terms of making an appointment.
    Businesses which advertise that when you call you always get a human voice responding score high with me in customer satisfaction, and I imagine that this is the feeling of countless others trying to make an important call and finding that the business or office in question doesn’t think that much of your time.
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    Not to be too negative about things, but another gap in customer or client connections which bothers me is the fact that so many TV ads, which I see when I don’t bypass them – have text briefly shown about some feature of the product that you have to watch out for. This happens chiefly with medicines, which make television broadcasting possible, it seems.
    No one could possible read a hundred words in the two or three seconds that they are shown in small type. If the information is important for the buyer to know, running these warnings in this fashion doesn’t actually protect the buyer.
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    With the frosty evenings and mornings comes a quiet on the home front as far as crickets are involved. Their sound is especially pesky if one gets into your house but we are now free of this minor annoyance until well into next year.
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    We perhaps could wish that we were not living in such historic times as far as the economy is concerned, but we can take some solace from the fact that the nation’s leaders are scrambling to find ways out of the dire situation. President-elect Barack Obama is naming key people to work on solutions and he and President George W. Bush are in accord that handing off the baton of White House leadership is too important to be muddied by political posturing.
    Our economy may be in difficulty but the national sense of the importance of a smooth transition at the top rung of our government is secure and sound.
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    In the Old West it happened that two cowboys were riding across the prairie and they came across an Indian lying down with his ear on the ground.
    They got off their horses and asked him what he was doing.
    He said, “Two wagons, four horses, two men, two women, one small child, one cow, two goats and one large brown dog.”
    The cowboys gasped, “Wow, you can tell all of that just by listening to the ground!?”
    The Indian said, “No, they just ran over me a half hour ago!”