TAKING BACK THANKSGIVING
I agree with the points G. Jeffrey MacDonald made about how the consumption market is driving our culture (Perspective, December 1). Also, because everything is available all the time, we do not need to make plans. Our problem-solving skills are being eroded because “Oops, I forgot the cranberry sauce. What shall I do?” rarely happens anymore. We are giving our grandsons token gifts to open on holidays and birthdays, with the bigger gifts of time and fun on a later trip to a museum, show, or zoo. Fun for us, too!
The rush to shop really crushed what is usually a real joy for Thanksgiving: a gathering of family and friends without presents and the stress of deadlines to buy lots of stuff. Now the stores have taken away that relaxed feeling. So thank you for reminding us that we’re being manipulated into buying. Concentrating on buying means we will miss the simple joy of stopping and giving thanks for our blessings, like a wonderful family, a great free country, troops to protect us, our good friends, and enough to eat. Thanks for your message.
It is beyond disgusting the avarice that exists that feeds an insatiable appetite for useless junk that somehow is a panacea for all that ails Americans. We need to fight back to retake our nonmaterialistic holiday.
We are all so busy rushing around “getting” that we are in danger of losing it all, ourselves and our souls. Thanks for printing this.
I am grateful for this essay. May we all take a step back from the seasonal frenzy so that we can appreciate the bounty around us. Thank you for reminding us about what truly matters.
WARMING TO THE IDEA
What is better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold, drizzly day? I loved the recipes in “Chefs’ Winter Warmers” (December 1) and put together the shrimp soup, even finding the Goya Sazon packets at my local market. It was delicious, even more so because I tweaked the recipe and added scallops, cooked leftover lobster, and a piece of whitefish. Thanks, and I hope to try the others.
The solution Miss Conduct suggested to the reader made aware of an unpaid loan by her elderly mother (December 1) is quite harsh and nearly impossible for this family to pull off. Herding the members together for a family-systems checkup seems to me a stretch. Yes, of course, that would help them five or more years down the line, but today is when the reader needs help. I think she should have been advised to inform her mother that once a family member borrows money, the likelihood of recovering the debt is zero to zip. If the reader wants to spend quality time strengthening her mother to speak up for herself, there is some (faint) hope that her mother would fare better in life.
Unless the mother is genuinely loopy and in need of a legally appointed conservator, the car loan is her business and her problem alone. The mother did not consult the family when making the loan and should not expect its assistance in collecting the loan. The daughter can wish mom well and good luck in collecting it, then move onto other stuff like holiday decorations.
Elders are increasingly being taken advantage of financially, usually by loved ones and family members. As a social worker, I wondered whether a crime had been committed. If so, the daughter should call the local Aging Services Access Points office and report it. It might bring resolution of sorts and would force responsibility on the nephew. Crimes against elders have been considered more serious since the federal Elder Justice Act was signed into law in 2010.
TAKING ON THE TWOS
As a father of two, and a grandfather of two as well, I have experience with the terrible twos (Connections, December 1). My wife and I long ago came to the conclusion that this time represents a child’s dawning realization that the planet, the parents, and everything else do not exist to satisfy his or her every whim.
John Francis Pitha
I had just one thought when reading this piece: Terrible twos? Wait till he hits 3!
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