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As recent pilgrims, the concept of Thanksgiving has a special poignancy as we reflect on our unique journey and assimilation into “this wonderful country”, as my mother refers to the USA. America has welcomed and blessed us as she has so many before, all with their own journeys, and we are very grateful. My mother came here for safety, after receiving threats in Barbados. The early pilgrims struggled in their flimsy ships across the Atlantic Ocean, and fought the harsh climate of New England to survive. More recently, my father sailed into Ellis Island as a small child, on a more modern and somewhat safer voyage, and worked his way through school and university in New York City. Mum came on a commercial American Airlines flight from Barbados to Miami International Airport. We all thank God for the many blessings in our lives.

Here in South Florida, with its mellow climate, gentle seas and gorgeous sunsets, the past year has been great for Mum, and for all of us. Her recent cataract operation was a brilliant success, and her vision is close to 20-20 again. Her annual physicals yield results pretty much straight down the center of the normal range in all categories, and her annual flu shot and 5-year pneumonia shot have protected her from almost any bug going around. She is free to enjoy the sunshine, flowers and seascapes, on foot, by car or by boat. She has a vibrant church community, where clergy and congregation inquire for her any time she misses a service. The nearby library provides books and movies on any topic we could possibly want to explore: her interests are as varied as horticulture, horses and football. We recently watched past seasons of Matlock, the Mentalist and Grimm! Besides saying almost every day “What a wonderful country” an even more frequent phrase on Mum’s lips is “He’s a wonderful God”, and yes, He is!