Reflections: Hunger
Holiday Hangover

Happy Thanksgiving Day 2008

[EDITORIAL NOTE: I know it's a holiday and you're enjoying friends and family, but if you find yourself online today, please be sure to send links for any of your stories you'd like to have included in the Sunday Issues post.]

There are many things I am thankful for today. Given the state of our economy, just being warm and fed would be enough. But there is another that I don’t often get around to saying here at Time Goes By and this seems a good day to do it.

I am overwhelmingly, exuberantly thankful for you, the people who read this blog and make it so much fun to produce. Even after five years, my enthusiasm for it continues and what makes it particularly pleasurable – and unique among many blogs - is the quality of the conversation and the thought put into the comments. The collective intelligence expressed here is much greater than mine and you give me a lot to ponder, lead me in directions I’ve never been before and - you make me laugh.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates the time and effort you put into your comments (some could be blog posts on their own) and it makes the experience of Time Goes By so much richer for us all. (Soon, Typepad will implement some new technology that will allow threading of comments so that several conversations can be grouped together which should make it even easier to read and follow along.)

So today, I thank all of you, many of whom have supported this blog for several years now. May the blessings of the day shower upon you and yours as you have showered interest in TGB on me.


It is also important to remember those who may not have as much as we do. Our economic catastrophe has already caused many people and families to live in uncertainty and even without the basics, as Saul Friedman reported in his Reflections column on Hunger here yesterday. Most economists I’ve read believe we are in for even harder times before it gets better.

Appropriately then, a few days ago, Miki Davis of Mountain Mama Radio sent me to a link to an NPR story deconstructing Yip Harburg’s Great Depression anthem, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?, which resonates again as it did 75 years ago. Here is an excerpt:

“…the mood of the song is guided by its key and its rhythm.

"’The first thing that's surprising is that it doesn't start in a major key like most Broadway songs,’ [pianist and composer Rob] Kapilow says. ‘Appropriate to the Depression, it's in a minor key.’

“With lines like ‘Once I built a railroad, made it run / Made it race against time,’ the music jumps an octave, with all the energy and syncopation that made America's railroads. It even comes to rest, momentarily, in a major key. The music, like the words, reminisces about prosperous times.

"’But then, heartbreakingly,’ Kapilow says, under the word 'time' we change to minor, to set up the second half of the verse. Now it has lost all its energy; it's wistful. Now it's done — the good days in America, pre-Depression.’

“All of that, Kapilow says, provides a wonderful set-up for the perfect punch line: the song's title.”

Even in good times, Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? has been one of my favorite songs, especially by Mandy Patinkin. Yes, the emotion has seemed to be a bit over the top through the years, but no more; now it feels entirely appropriate.

Here is a video of Patinkin in rehearsal for an old David Letterman show singing Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (That’s actor Tony Randall in the scene with him whose mugging draws laughs from the audience until Patinkin overwhelms the crowd with his intensity.) [3:05 minutes]

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Susan Gulliford recalls Thanksgivings past in Mom's Thanksgiving.]


And the first comment comes from me the British ex-pat in south west Turkey who is not celebrating Thanksgiving. Ronni you run and write a wonderful blog for which you deserve the thanks of all readers - but it is nice to get them from you as well. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

I know you didn't write this post to get praise, but I can only repeat Pat's expression of gratitude as well. And, as far as us folks providing good conversation; well shucks, it's our pleasure. This is one of the few blogs that I really enjoy reading the comments. Sometimes as much as the posts (smile, that's not quite true).

Ronni, thank you for something I am doing that never in my wildest dreams thought I would do. My online journal came about because of reading "Time Goes By". That all started early this year. Again, thank you.
I am thankful for you.

Thank you, Ronni. Your blog has become a part of my morning ritual. Without it I am grumpy all day. It is one of the things I have to be grateful for what ever else is going on.

I am thankful you keep on with Time Goes By. I find my blogging energy falters and you keep on giving thoughtful posts every day.
You're the first one I go to after my news reading.
I am sure we'll get a chance to meet up someday, maybe next summer you'd like to drive over here for a visit.

I don't think I had ever heard the full version of "Spare a Dime" before. Mandy did a great job and I would have loved to have seen the real performance not marred by Tony Randall's hi-jinks.
My family will have our Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, so that leaves me time today to reflect on all of the wonderful things that I have. Too often I unfavorably compare myself to friends who have big homes and take fabulous trips. With the homeless population growing and so many out of work, I, too, am thankful to be warm and fed.

Always my favorite place to visit, Ronni. Sending Thanksgiving wishes to you from Montreal, Canada.

You haven't mentioned your 2 house mates, the upper and lower dudes. Have you found a solution, and if so, another thanks to that!

Thank you for writing such a fantastic blog, Ronni.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Ronni, and to all your readers! I am also thankful for you and your wonderful blog. I don't always comment but do read it regularly and don't know what I'd do without your insight and perception on topics I care about. Thanks!


Thank you for a wonderful blog and a place for those discussions to take place. I have learned so much, some of it "knowledge" learning and some, I think, "wisdom" - not just facts that can be easily stated but also a sense of perspective I didn't have before, and still am not sure I could easily put into words.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I join your other admirers to thank you for organizing and maintaining this site for elderbloggers. You've created an invaluable online community.

Although I am usually not among the thoughtful commenters (I'm lazy when I write comments) I want to thank you for your blog!

Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks for your terrific blog from your oft-times contrarian admirer.

Happy Thanksgiving and many thanks from me too. Your blog is a delight and an inspiration.

And a happy Thanksgiving to you Ronni. I'm always sorry we don't have Thanksgiving Day in France, if only for the turkey.
Thanks for your blog.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ronni!

My thanks to you Ronni for Time Goes By, my favorite time of the day is when I read it.

I even entertained my 2 young grand daughters during our Thanksgiving feast today by relating Ollie's mousey in the water bowl caper to them. They were entertained and amazed.:)

I'm late, but I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, Ronni. I am definitely grateful for you and your blog!

This blog is truly a Thanksgiving feast -- lots of meat, veggies, special snacks and desserts. So, keep your words "cooking," Ronni. Your thoughts and those of others expressed here stimulate my own. Thanks! I may even become an admitted fan someday.

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