Thanks In Retrospect

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends!

November 24th is also our Dad’s birthday. I miss him dearly.


This picture is from 2002 – I think – when Dad rode Clifford in the 4th of July Parade on Drummond. Dad would have been 76 years old at that time. Clifford was raised to go hunt seat, which is my preferred discipline, but I bought Western tack and taught him to neck rein so that Dad could ride him.

Clifford’s silver western gear was stolen when the house was ransacked following Dad’s death.

Dad was a humanitarian in many ways; unabashedly friendly, promoting integrity with a lopsided self-effacing humor that was possibly his most endearing trait.


Like me, he overlooked a lot of bad behavior from others. However, also like me, he drew the line on bad behavior when it was directed at Amanda.

This Thanksgiving, there has been no call from Amanda. On the 27th, it will be 4 months since I have spoken with her. This is the longest we sisters have ever gone without speaking to each other.

Dad would have never tolerated this. In fact, I shudder to think about his reaction.

Our six siblings all know this. The respective in-laws do, too.


I harbor a glimmer of hope that, maybe out of respect for Dad, someone will come forward. Although its history is dubious, Thanksgiving is an honorable holiday, celebrating the spirit of gratitude.

There is one person who will see this rift, how damaging it is for Amanda. One hero. One who isn’t ruled by fear.

Doing the right thing is hard. Sometimes people need a little help. They know the real truth, but they are paralyzed until someone else stands up first.

For Amanda and me, our powerlessness in this situation is echoed on a bigger scale as our country struggles through post-election’s dark days. We are drowning in an epidemic of agenda; a Pandora’s box of human rights issues so consuming that ours shrinks by comparison. But I can’t forget about her. I promised her I wouldn’t give up.


Jane Austen said, “Selfishness must always be forgiven, you know, because there is no hope of a cure.”

I have a long history of tolerating selfishness, probably thanks to Dad’s example. I’m not sure I can forgive it in this extreme. However, I continue to see bursts of kindness in other dark corners of the world. There can’t be a unanimous crowd of family, extended family who would wish something so awful on Amanda, can there?

Are they all really THAT bad?!

With this in mind, I wait, secure in the knowing that Amanda holds out hope for absolution of any of them.

Amanda’s faith in the human race is stronger than mine. She waits to be confirmed and I wait to be surprised, and thus relay much-needed happy stories of humanity.

Once again, Amanda is the beacon in the fog.

I am thankful to have her for my sister. I am thankful to have a dad who so fervently believed in doing the right thing. I am thankful to have a special horse who carries so many wonderful memories of them both.

Wishing everyone a blessed day surrounded by genuine gratitude.


About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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