Much to be thankful for

By Larry Dablemont

We can’t help but be thankful that it was such a mild fall, but I refuse to be happy about the cold that has whacked us in November. But then, I am happy to see a good number of ducks arriving from up north as of yet. I can’t see how anyone would not be happy about that!

On Thanksgiving Day we all gather to give thanks for our health and happiness, and there is an awful lot to be thankful about. But few people are thankful for flocks of ducks, like I am. If we just had more water in the Ozarks right now, I would just be as tickled as a coon dog with a panful of burnt biscuits!
But we need to concentrate on occasion about the things we aren’t so thankful for. I reckon it wouldn’t hurt to let God know that these doggone Japanese beetles have become a problem. There is a bunch of them in my basement workshop, fleeing the cold.
  But I don’t want anyone thinking I am ungrateful. I have been thanking God for the more important things, like a freezer full of venison and fish to last the whole winter.
  But if you want to know the truth, what makes any man’s life happier and better is the help and assistance he gives to others… to those less fortunate. Even help to worthless people, God meant for us to help and love them that we can’t like, because He doesn’t consider them worthless. Complicated ain’t it?
  That’s what the first Thanksgiving dinners were about, celebrating the abundance of the harvest, and sharing it with others. I am sure those folks on Plymouth Rock didn’t like each one of them Indians. But they invited them anyway. I wonder sometimes if a community Thanksgiving of that type, where all the area’s Indians are invited too, wouldn’t be a better way of giving thanks than just keeping it all in the family.
  Churches do that, and maybe it would put a smile on God’s face to see that somewhere in each little town and community, people brought their families together by the dozens and brought in those of the area who are not so well off, to have a true Thanksgiving feast.
I am tremendously thankful to all you folks out there who read this column and my books and magazines and send letters. I hope and pray that you and your family have a great Thanksgiving, and lots of ducks light on your pond for a couple of months.   
Speaking of ladybugs, it turns out my naturalist daughter was right about this invasion of Asian ladybug beetles which almost all of us are experiencing. They were indeed released in California by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1916 and again in the mid-sixties, with the belief that they would prey on aphids which do damage to gardens and domestic plants. And then apparently a whole shipload of them arrived on a freighter from Asia, which docked in New Orleans in 1988. Now they have spread throughout the country and are mushrooming in number, coming into Ozark homes to winter by the thousands.
There is an awful bunch of them in my basement. They are here in gosh-awful conflagrations, thousands of them. If they continue to increase, next year or the next, I’ll be up to my knees in the darn things. I read somewhere that light attracts them, so I have thought about opening my basement door at night and plugging in a bright light outside, to see if I can get them out. But if I do that, I could wind up with a basement full of possums and deer mice.
  It makes me think of the plagues of insects and such things in biblical times. Of course those people back then were wicked and sinful and had it coming to them. Us folks here in the Ozarks aren’t like that. I could understand it if these beetles were clogging things up in Hollywood or New York, but why my basement? I ain’t done nothin’ to deserve this… honest!
But then, I haven’t deserved much of the blessings God has given me either, or I figure a lot of folks feel the same way. I just wish that all the blessings of a Thanksgiving dinner could fall upon hungry families in the Ozarks. I could do without a few meals if families that have little could eat like I do.
And another thing, aren’t some of you getting tired of ham and turkey? Now and at Christmas time too! We ought to have Thanksgiving meatloaf or sirloin steaks. I am more thankful for pie and cake than baked turkey.
If the folks at Plymouth Rock could have had buffalo steaks instead of turkey, our traditions would be a lot better. Well happy Thanksgiving anyway. And does anyone know how to keep Japanese beetles from being so thankful for my basement?