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Start of November 27 Column. More or Less Continuous News Service since 1998

Thanksgiving and Gratitude without either word

Clark Smith, my friend of long standing, likes, at Thanksgiving, to read aloud the introduction to Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Bryson never mentions the words gratitude or thanksgiving, but I, like Clark feel those emotions are implied.

Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely-make that miraculously-fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result-eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly-in you.

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