As I sit writing this column on a very late evening, it is the day before Thanksgiving. Of course, when you read it, it will be the day after. More than likely you will be still feeling full from a Thanksgiving feast. I am in Stuttgart attending the Wings Over the Prairie Festival and World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest. And like so many years before, I am covering different events at the festival, for the Stuttgart Daily Leader, the newspaper that gave me my start in this business. There are so many events going on this week and not nearly enough reporters to cover them. Since I’m here anyway I have no problems helping out. I would hope that if it were me who needed a little help someone would step up and help me out.

One hundred years ago people didn’t think twice about helping their neighbor. But over the last 40-50 years our world has really changed. People are only concerned about themselves and could care less about their neighbor. Such a sad fact. These days all many seem to care about is the phone in their hands, and life is passing them by. People rarely have real meaningful conversations. Conversations have been replaced with quick text messages, emails or other electronic forms of communication. All of which can sometimes leave you thinking, “What they did they mean by that?” Because you lose something in the process. You can’t see a persons’ body language or facial expression with electronic communication. You can’t hear the nuances in their voice. We use so much more than words when we communicate with people, and that gets lost or misunderstood sometimes with electronic forms of communication. So this Thanksgiving, wherever you are, put down your phone. Look people in the eye and talk to them. Ask them how they are doing and care what the answer is. Engage in intelligent debates (remember when this was a very healthy form of communication?). Get to know “your people” again. In our busy lives sometimes we forget the  ones who are (or should be) important in our lives. We take for granted that they will always be there with us and for us. One day we wake up to hear that they are gone and our lives become tinged with regret. We ask ourselves why didn’t we call them more? Why didn’t we put the important ones first? Why didn’t we take off work and go to that family holiday event? Why did we work 60, 70, 80 hour weeks for a company that never saw you as a person, but merely a number?

Don’t live a life filled with regret. Time is precious and people should be. Family should be thicker than water. Sometimes family is the roots that hold you and bind you when things are tough and life is hard. Grandkids are the reward for surviving teenagers. Love the people you hold dear. Remember, love is an action verb. Love is doing what you don’t want to do when it is important to someone else. Through love and with love, you can do anything. Love never fails.

Until next time…

P.S. to my dear friend R.C.: “Remember to smile. The world’s not a bad place. It’s just all the bad people in it. Copy?” On your path to recovery from surgery remember, if you need anything you