“How Will Future Reckon With Cousin Kenneth”

Prenote: In a sense, consider the below a trilogy of Thanksgiving thoughts, with the primary part, the second, on civility, the most important. In addition, from a long-time colleague and friend, here is a collection of 10 short poems pertinent to Thanksgiving 2017: 2017 Thanksgiving.


“Cousin Kenneth” is a thought provoking column I saw in the Minneapolis Star Tribune at Thanksgiving, 1993. All I know are the words in the column. “Cousin Kenneth”, if still alive, is now 24 years older. I wonder how life went for him…. (Click to enlarge the jpeg, double click to enlarge some more:)

Here is a pdf if you wish to print out: Cousin Kenneth 1993002


No, I can’t ‘blame’ the League of Women Voters (LWV) for this long ago memory of Kenneth. I’m a member of LWV, and on Nov. 19, the local chapter leader sent us the following from the League of Women Voters, U.S., which is very pertinent, especially this Thanksgiving.

“Setting the Table for Civility” over the Holidays

As part of the League’s partnership with the National Institute for Civil Discourse, LWV members are invited to participate in “Setting the Table for Civility”. It is an opportunity for individuals, as we gather with friends and family for the upcoming Thanksgiving and year-end holiday season, to take action to promote civility. These include exploring three basic questions:

• What are you most thankful for about living in America?

• How do you feel about the deep divisions and incivility we see now in our country?

• What can we do to revive civility and respect and find more effective ways to listen to each other and work together?

Tools and materials are available to support conversations at family gatherings, within faith communities, on campuses and on social media. This could be a great way to engage new members and to invite non-members to join the League in an activity that brings people together and helps us build more civil dialogue in communities.

Happy Thanksgiving! And may your dinner discourse be civil.


(click to enlarge)

I saw the above announcement at Basilica of St. Mary Nov. 19. That afternoon was the dedication of the bench pictured above, on Hennepin Avenue, under a large tree. A Basilica staff person said that, already, an emergency vehicle had stopped to see if the form on the bench needed assistance – they had not heard about the new sculpture. Some weeks earlier, the sculpture was displayed in the undercroft (Basilica-speak for “church basement”). Postit notes were available for people to comment on the meaning of the sculpture. One said “I don’t like this at all”. Why is known only to the writer.

What was this “World Day of the Poor”? Turns out that this year is the first, and it is a Papal Message by Pope Francis, Nov. 19, 2017. Here is his statement.

It is my understanding that Pope Francis “walked the talk” as a Priest and Bishop in his native Argentina.

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