From Great Barrington, Massachusetts
This is a rewrite of the Thanksgiving MULLINGS first published in 2002.
Please take a moment on Thanksgiving to say a Prayer of Thanks for those brave Americans in uniform, but also the civilians, who are serving in far off places, away from their families, protecting us, projecting America's values while we enjoy our Thanksgiving dinners safe from fear, and from want, and protecting our freedoms of worship and of speech.
In 2003, I wrote the Thanksgiving column from Camp Victory just outside of Baghdad. Please take a look back at the Iraq Travelogue by clicking here: "Good Morning Mesopotamia"
RichIt was the day before Thanksgiving and I was giving the Mullmobile it's quarterly treat: A professional car wash. At Andy's Car Wash in Alexandria, you drop your car off, then go inside to pay. A woman and a little girl - about three-and-a-half - were paying ahead of me.
It was a cold day, so the little girl was bundled up in the way little girls are on a cold late-Autumn day.
Ignoring the advice of The Lad, ("Dad, just because you CAN talk to everybody in the world, doesn't mean you HAVE to talk to everybody in the world.") I asked the woman what little girl's name was.
"Destiny," she said, beaming. "She's my baby."
In the way of precocious little girls, Destiny asked me where my car was. I told her it was right behind her mom's.
Destiny looked up and me and asked me if my car was going to be a shiny as her mommy's.
I said I hoped so, and I asked her, in that patronizing way that grownups talk to children, how shiny her mommy's car was going to be.
She thought about this, staring off toward the seafood store across the street with that look of deep concentration little girls assume when contemplating great concepts. Then she looked back up at me and said, "Rainbow Shiny."
The magnificence of that phrase took my breath away.
The problem with looking at the world through middle-aged eyes is we can no longer see things as being "Rainbow shiny." Even on those rare occasions where we see things as beautiful as a rainbow, we know from long - and often harsh - experience that rainbows are, like fame and glory, fleeting.
But for Destiny, everything in her world is decorated with the brilliant hues and gentle shadings contained within the infinite colors of her world's rainbow. Her entire future is decorated with vivid thoughts and sparkly dreams.
On Thanksgiving, we should try - just for a few minutes - to look at our world though Destiny's eyes: Look at our world as being "Rainbow Shiny."
Even though we know it won't last, we should enjoy Thanksgiving for this one day while we look around the table eating the wonderfully familiar meal, telling the well-told stories, to the same precious people, remembering fondly, if sadly, any who may be missing from this year's gathering of friends and family.
As her mom was strapping her into her child seat, I caught Destiny's eye and pointed to her mom's clean car and, smiling and nodding, I blew her a kiss.
Destiny, in that way little girls do, hid her eyes and giggled.
This is another kiss to Destiny: Thank you for reminding a grown-up that if we look at our world with the simple trust of child we, too, can see it as "Rainbow Shiny."
That little girl is destiny's child. All children are.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A print of a line drawing by Norman Rockwell of Thanksgiving dinner.