Dear Ann:

When you asked your readers to send those columns they had saved over the years, I thought it would be a good opportunity to send you one that has been tucked away in my Bible. Please print it again this Thanksgiving for those who may have missed it the last time.

Bonnie in San Diego

Thank you for the opportunity to loaf a little. I liked your selection. Here it is:

EVERYDAY THANKSGIVING

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings each morning, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. There are many who are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off the effort of rising, thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned and tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for the gift of life.

Dear Friends:

What follows was written by Judy Vekasy, a registered nurse and director of activities at a nursing home in Savannah, Tenn. It originally appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

In this season of thanksgiving and just plain giving, I have some suggestions for those who need something to be thankful for, or those who need someone to allow them to give of themselves. Nursing homes are full of opportunities.

You say you can't do anything. Can you read? Good. Read to me. My eyes aren't what they used to be.

Can you write? Good. Write a letter or a card for me. My hands are shaky.

Can you sing? Good. Help me with the words, and I'll sing along.

Can you tell me about your job? I was a nurse once myself.

Can you listen? Wonderful. I'm starved for conversation.

Can you bake a sponge cake or zucchini bread or angel biscuits, or make fudge? They aren't on the nursing home menu, but I remember how good they were, and I would like to taste them again.

Do you play checkers or dominoes or rummy? Fine, so do I, but there is never anyone who has the time. They are understaffed around here, you know.

Do you play the violin or the flute or the piano? My hearing is poor, but I can hear any kind of music. Even if I fall asleep, you'll know I enjoyed it.

Once we were somebodies, just like you. We were farmers and farmers' wives and teachers, nurses, beauticians, stockbrokers and electricians, bankers and sheriffs, and maybe a few outlaws, too. We're not all senile -- just old and needing more help than our families can give us. This home, whatever its name, is "home" to us, and you're an invited guest.

Please come. The welcome mat is always out, not just on Thanksgiving. I hope you will keep this, and read it again in January, February, and every other month of the year. We'll still be here, and our needs will still be the same.