DEAR READERS: Here's an update on my traditional Thanksgiving column:
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so why not take a few minutes to count your blessings?How's your health? You have a few minor complaints? Well, thank God they're not major. Obviously you're still alive. You can probably think of at least one person who isn't around this year. (I can.)
If you awakened this morning and were able to hear the birds sing, use your vocal cords to utter human sounds, walk to the table on two good legs and read the newspaper with two good eyes (or even one), praise the Lord! A lot of people couldn't. (Say a prayer for those who perished in a fire, a flood, an earthquake or an accident.)
How's your pocketbook? Thin? Well, most of the world is a lot poorer. No pensions. No welfare. No food stamps. No Social Security. No Medicare. In fact, one-third of the people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight. Would you rather be in Poland, the Soviet Union or Iraq - God forbid!
Are you lonely? The way to have a friend is to be one. If nobody calls you, pick up the phone and call somebody. Go out of your way to do something nice for someone. It's a sure cure for the blues.
Are you concerned about your country's future? Hooray! Our system has been saved by such concern. If you don't like your elected officials, you can go to work and vote them out of office. We still have the soapbox and the ballot box.
Freedom rings! You can still worship at the church of your choice, or not worship at all if you don't want to. You can cast a secret ballot, or criticize your government without fearing a knock on the head or a knock at your door in the middle of the night.
And if you prefer to live under a different system, goodbye and good luck. You are free to go. There are no walls or barbed wire fences to keep you here.
In closing, I'll repeat my Thanksgiving prayer. Perhaps you will want to use it at your table tomorrow. Let one of the children read it."O, heavenly Father, we thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
"We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
"We thank thee for friends and remember the friendless.
"We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
"May these remembrances stir us to service
"That thy gifts to us may be used for others.
"And, dear God, please bless and watch over our men and women in the Persian Gulf and bring them home safely - and soon. Amen."Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may God bless you and yours. - Love, ABBY
P.S. Special greetings to those of you in the military who wrote from Korea, Okinawa, Japan and the Philippines to tell me you are using my Thanksgiving prayer.
DEAR ABBY: I just read the letter from "Kansas Sunflower," the bride-to-be who wanted a man instead of a woman to stand up for her at her wedding. Abby, that was one of the most touching letters I have ever read. She said "Leon" had seen her through the death of a parent, an attempted suicide, a bout with cancer and chemotherapy. Add to that 10 years of loyal friendship. What a beautiful tribute to pay her friend.
Her mother, however, objects to her choice, saying having a "man of honor" would make her the laughingstock of the town. Abby, who cares what the townspeople think? I don't know the bride, but I would love to send her a wedding present. - A MAN FROM TEXAS
"How to Be Popular" is for everyone who feels left out and wants an improved social life. It's an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person. To order, send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)