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Time for Wedwand’s 4th annual Thanksgiving Eve address to the nation, or at least the nation of Wedwand supporters. I thank you.

I willingly profess Thanksgiving to be my favorite holiday. It has no pretense. It has no hype. And every year it reminds me to be thankful for what I have.

After speaking with some of you out there, I found that the actual Thanksgiving meal may have some awkward moments when seeing family and friends that you possibly only see once or twice a year, maybe by choice, maybe due to geography.

As a Public Service reminder, this week’s Wedwand, will again provide some valuable tidbits to help you through your Thanksgiving celebration dinner.

Given the current state of affairs, and to keep the peace, it is advisable to avoid certain conversation topics as religion, politics and ‘boy this turkey is really dry’.

If things get dicey, and if it doesn’t involve the diced ingredients of the stuffing, here’s an old “go to” line. “How bout those Cubs?”

Just shout it out and interrupt Uncle Bill’s tirade. For the FIRST time in 108 years this is bound to elicit positive conversation (unless of course some of the guests are from the south side of Chicago or Cleveland). If that’s the case, just humbly acknowledge their differences and act like you knew it would happen. Don’t gloat. Nobody likes a gloater, just like nobody likes a floater in their gravy.

You can add, “You know, this WAS the Year of the Reckoning in sports.”

– in 2016, Leicester City won the English Premier League Soccer Championship for the first time EVER against 5,000-1 odds.
– Ireland’s Rugby team stunned the New Zealand All Blacks 40-29 in Chicago no less on November 6, 2016 for the first win for Ireland over the All Blacks in its 111-year history.
– And just last week, the University of Kansas defeated the Texas Longhorns in football for the first time since 1938. The score was 24-21.

If that fails, you can just mutter, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

That is bound to prompt some happy chuckles as those who remember reminisce on the 1978 “Turkey Drop” episode from the TV show WKRP. In case you missed the source of that:

Uncle Bill may interject, “Turkeys CAN fly, Goddammit.”

You kindly repond, “Yes, Uncle Bill wild turkeys CAN fly in short bursts at up to 55 MPH.“ Then subtly whisper to Aunt June, “Psst, hide the Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon, Uncle Bill himself is flying right now. And, Aunt June. How DID you get the turkey to come out so juicy.”

So, enjoy the relish and relish the day. And please say “thanks” once or a hundred times and reflect on ALL the things to be THANKFUL for.

Signing off with the Wedwand Thanksgiving Anthem.

FOOTNOTE:
In case you missed or may have forgotten the Wedwand posts from the three previous years, here they are:

https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/tales-of-the-giving/
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/the-393rd/
https://wedwand.wordpress.com/2013/11/27/on-the-eve-of-thanks-give-it/

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GE DIGITAL CAMERAPerhaps getting over the conditioning was the hardest part. The media perpetuated the myth on us all. The Billie Goat, the Black Cat, “He who shall not be named.”

Everybody loves a good curse story.

But when analyzed rationally, the “curses” seemed a little silly to me.

So as a fan, I chose to ignore them in the 2016 playoffs. Pass them off as illogical, unfounded, inane.

Conversely, this required me to dispense with some “big game” practices of my own. There would be no lucky shirt, no lucky chair, no lucky place to watch the game.

If the curses were silly, likewise I had to eschew my former superstitious habits from playoff years passed. Not washing that lucky shirt was equally as mindless. And, my co-workers and family thanked me for that one.

Here it was, Game 7 of the World Series and the Addison Street Miracle was still alive. Alive and well in fact, leading 6 – 3 in the 8th inning.

Lines were forming already to buy World Series keepsakes. Then it happened.

Two routine outs are followed by a single, a double, a home run and bang, it’s 6-6. Cleveland is rocking. The Cubs seem to be reeling.

All around the Windy City, the conditioned are checking out, nervous wrecks. Uttering responses like “not again”, “here we go”, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

I remained steadfast. Voicing positives like, “show some faith”, “believe.” I had no “lucky shirt” on. Yet, I was out there on the ledge invoking the masses of my Cubs fandom friends via text, post and the spoken word to hang tight. Grind with these guys.

Hang tight they did through 9. “And we’ll have an extra inning ball game today,” as Jack Brickhouse used to say.

Then the rains came. The rains that washed the slate clean for the Cubs, down three games to one in Chicago, now inspired one Jason Heyward to rally the troops. In the weight room in the depths of the visiting locker room in Cleveland, during the 17 minute rain delay, JHey reminded them they were the best team in baseball, able to overcome adversity.

We know how the story ends. 5 million people in Chicago today were a testimony to the fact that the story had a happy ending. The cryptic Eamus Catuli sign now reads. “AC000000.”

Two noteworthy quotes I caught in the myriad of post-game interviews in the wee hours the day after the November 2nd game:

Jayson Heyward on the team meeting:

“At the beginning of the day, we never worry about win or lose. We just worry about how we’re going to go out there and have fun, compete, be right there for the guys next to us and not take the situation for granted.”

Jon Lester on the curses:

“I think the biggest thing is nobody really cares in there about a curse or a goat or anything else, you know what I mean? A curse is an excuse for looking for a way out.”

Have fun. Be there. Don’t look for excuses. Maybe that applies to more than baseball.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs.

EPILOGUE:

Truth told, I started the Cubs Chronicles because I believed this would be the year and wanted to record my thoughts along the way. Maybe share them with a reader or three.

With two of my longtime friends, fellow lifetime Cubs fans, Terry and Steve, I firmly believe we blazed the path to victory with our attendance at the game one victory. The ten remaining dominoes fell after that first nudge. We are 4-0 lifetime in Cubs Playoff games.

Whatever curses were once perceived have now been exposed as irrational. Don’t let foolish barriers stop you from dreaming.

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