By: Honey Good
I am going back many years to tell you a story about a young girl, her grandfather and her memories of her life in a small town at Thanksgiving. That young girl was me. I grew up in a small town and enjoyed a large extended family life. The town was Kankakee, Illinois. I gave it its nickname, “Kankakee by the Sea” to romanticize it in my mind. The community was made up of families of all religions and all economic backgrounds. I pay tribute to this town because, unknowingly, it helped mold me in who I am today. My friends were the policeman’s daughter, the lawyer’s son as well as the Minister’s and Rabbi’s children. A melting pot of children from all walks of life.
I had a grandfather who lived in this town. He was from Russia. He ran away from his country at the age of 19 to escape persecution. He traveled over thousands of miles by foot in the freezing cold and then by sea to reach America. He had no money and could not speak English. He wound up in “Kankakee by the Sea” because he had a cousin who immigrated to the town. He married my grandmother, Sarah. She passed away before I was born. My grandfather had five sons and fourteen grandchildren; our family was wonderful. We always celebrated Thanksgiving together. Fourteen grandchildren, ten parents, two grandparents, extended family relatives that included the in-laws, the out-laws, and friends who had nowhere to celebrate. There were so many of us that my grandfather always rented the ballroom of the Kankakee Hotel to accommodate us. We were one large American family along with friends who needed us. The night was filled with laughter and delicious food and, most importantly, words from the patriarch of my family, my grandfather.
He would make a speech in his broken English telling us to always love our wonderful country, The United States of America. To always speak of her with pride, to respect and defend her at all costs, to honor her as we traveled our own life’s journey, and to take a stand to make sure all Americans had the chance for a life of liberty and justice.
He would then talk about the “pursuit of happiness”—that we had the responsibility to pursue it for ourselves. That it was there for us to chase and then own in this wonderful country, and that because we lived in a democracy we had the freedom to be anything our little hearts desired. And I, this young girl, would listen, learn and see with my own eyes that this grandfather of mine was a grand man. I decided that I would copy him as best I could in all that he did. I did and I still do.
Our actions and words are observed and held onto by our children and grandchildren. Be the best parent and grandparent. Your moral and ethical codes remain in their young heads just as my grandfather’s remain in mine to this day as I think back about my Thanksgivings in "Kankakee by the Sea".
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving season! Pass your stories on to your children and grandchildren about your childhood Thanksgivings.
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By: Honey Good
“I’m not interested in dating,” I replied to my dearest girlfriend when she mentioned the name of a man she wanted me to meet. We were walking along the Hawaiian shore at sunset. She was visiting me in Honolulu seven months after I became a widow.
By: Honey Good
My daughter, Jennifer, is an artist. She was on the Oprah Show. She is a loving mother and terrific wife. However, she is neither a cook nor a housekeeper and has told me, laughingly, that the next home they live in will not have a kitchen!
By Susan "Honey" Good
I wake up happy. It comes naturally. I look forward to facing my day with positivity. My outlook is fueled by optimism. I see my cup as half full.
No, I am not a goody two-shoes. I do, however, consider myself to be one of the lucky ones who has the ability to triumph over my adversities, with a little help from a friend. Who might she be? The ‘happy gene.’ I am thankful to my mother and my father for this happy gene of mine.
I am grateful for the happy gene because it provided me with a running start on living a charmed life. I understand that those of you who don’t have the gene have to work harder to attain happiness. Just remember, dear readers of mine, happiness is within your reach.
My husband Sheldon Good and I, both widowed fairly young, have a great big beautiful blended family. We have four children between us (one son passed away), and 24 “grands.” Eighteen are the offspring of our children, and six we welcomed into the family as spouses. And we expect to reach 36 “grands” in the not too distant future…and more once great-grandchildren start arriving!
Retire is a word that scares me because it means growing old. It forces me to face the fact that unpleasant things are going to happen—and I don’t want to go there, for 100 reasons that would take me hours to explain. I have confronted my conflict in the only way I know how: The word retire has no place in my life.
By: Honey Good
As you know, I draw my Good Morning Stories from my past experiences. I begin searching my mind, days before I put my fingers on the keyboard, for an eventful experience that has had a profound, loving or funny impact on my life.
"Tis a gift to be simple, Tis a gift to be free. ‘Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves In the place that’s right, twill be in a valley of love and delight." 19th Century Shaker Hymn
Reading this little poem gives me immeasurable pleasure. I reread it often; each time, feeling my body de-stress and unwind. I am embracing simplicity.
It would be dream- like to believe we can always ‘simple be.’ Nevertheless, this poem empowered me to reexamine my life style, a mix of utter razzle and dazzle that often puts me into a state of utter frazzle.
I wanted to keep the razzle-dazzle and minimized the frazzle in my life style. And, being of a certain mindset I have succeeded somewhat in doing just that.