Add Two to Your Reasons for Thanks

You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need …
—Mick Jagger

Hearing those words on an autumn day as the 20th century teetered into the 21st, we took a tumble to a time long ago when the words were repeated as a mantra to harmonize an uncertain world.

Then, as now, our president had proved himself only human. We’d long known our parents didn’t have all the answers, and it was dawning that we didn’t, either. War raged, and the Rolling Stone philosopher offered about the only consolation that seemed trustworthy.

Here it is a quarter century later, and what we want is never to see Monica Lewinski or Linda Tripp again. Or hear them, either.

You can’t always get what you want we thought, rueing the recent release of their taped confidences. And smiled ear to ear, recalling how the American electorate had delivered just what we need to all of us thoroughly sick of sex and scandal.

Of course, it’s been easy to smile in a month when November has shown us its grand side day after day. Every day but Election Day, that is, when voters defied both rain and gloomy pundits to trudge to the polls in good number.

Forecasters had warned us to be disappointed with autumn, too. No rain makes very dull leaves, they said.

The month we’re enjoying for so many reasons might have looked like it does to English poet Thomas Hood:

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease

No comfortable feel in any member

No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees

No fruits, no flowers, no birds— November.

Or, worse, as it does to the editorial writer of India’s national newspaper, The Times:

no onion, no potato, no cooking oil,

no cash, no change, no pawing, no advance,

no law, no order, no discipline,

no vote …

Instead, autumn’s low light irradiates a forest on fire with color, and everywhere we rush out of doors in shirtsleeves — the temperatures are balmy as spring — to celebrate this golden season.

As we prepare our thanks in this, our national season of Thanksgiving, remember how very often here in Chesapeake Country we get what we need.


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VolumeVI Number 46
November 19-25, 1998
New Bay Times