He shouts,”THANKSGIVING for what?” one student asks in a California Public School. The teacher hints the answer to try and boost this student’s self-esteem and reminds him and his Goth girlfriend with,” they sailed here, remember?”  He smirks, with the doofus eye lids drooping and the blunt ingested smile, “why sail when you can take a plane?” (He roars at his humor)  His Goth Girlfriend chimed in, “yeah, or they could not afford their luggage.”(Guffaw…..)The teacher smiles,.knowing that time and cultures have changed and perhaps she should move on in this class.

Thanksgiving used to be an acknowledgement of DIVINE GOODNESS.  Of course in America we celebrated the good harvest with the Pilgrims and Indians.  Reminds me of someone who recently stated that the definition of a terrorist seems to be in the eye of the beholder doesn’t it?  Jokes about Thanksgiving are plenty and boring like what car did the Puritans buy and the answer is of course Plymouth, or what kind of Tan did they have and of course the answer is Puri – TAN. 

In Canada, they celebrated a Canadian Thanksgiving in October in most provinces as it started with good old Martin Frobisher in Frobisher Bayas it is known.  Nothing wrong with giving thanks for something, just define it daily in your heart, right?  Happy belated Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends.

Today, we are seeing more of a secular Thanksgiving in the world and it has a shadow in most areas of the country.  The simple lessons of gratitude, moral character, and the ability to reason from sound principal are no longer politically correct in today’s twittered culture.  Those kinds of conversations are boring and are obstacles for the progressive thinker and his so called open freedoms.

Today, I woke up and had a little private conversation with someone.  We talked about the high points in my childhood and the enormous sacrifices of my beautiful Mom who gave so much to everyone and got so little.  However, I am thankful for what she taught me and thankful for our time together.   She was so special and such a worker.  I am thankful for my time with my brother Randy, a wild and wooly ride for sure.  I am thankful for my sister Sharon and my last surviving member, my little bro, Andy the barber inPhoenix.  Ands……boy did we pound good ole Ands.  Love ya Bro!  God bless you!

We then talked about my high school years and the various families who took me on trips and fed me from time to time and got me involved in activities and sports.  The Steve Briggs Family, the Curt Penman Family, the Brad Cheney Family, the Steve Paul Family, the Terry Lehti Family; the Jim Brubaker Family; Mr. Lamberstson at the Texaco, Mr. Greene at the Chevron, and the lady who hired me at the Union Pacific Railroad to be a telegrapher ; the Vivey Family on their ranches; The Hansen Family on their sheep ranches; the Chapman Family; the O’Melia Family, Coaches Connor, Hitner, and Mafonni, teachers like Howard Strauss and wonderful romantic wordsmith in English; the Sally Rogers’ Family; the Landy Collier Family; the Baker family;  the Judy and Roger Vagner Family and the Swanson Family; so many families that tried to donate to the evolution of a tarnished youth’s soul and I am grateful for such subtle gestures and sincerely appreciate the “Leg Up”.  Thank you all!

In the Marines during life and death situations you begin to gravitate to responsible people because when it hits the fan, you do not want some flake next to you.  There were so many great Marines, each and every time.  They were so consistent in their personal belief system and the camaraderie of being a Marine that we always took care of each other.  In my conversation this morning I remember one square kid, a Marine who went on in country R&R (rest and recuperation) with me toDa Nang,Vietnam.  I only had two months left of my 13 month tour on the DMZ inVietnam.  We drank too much beer and we decided we were going body surfing because we were Marines and we lived on the edge of the envelope (youthful ignorance).  So we proceeded to run past the red flags for dangerous rip tides and a few minutes later I was swimming like crazy in this wave going to catch a big one and just never moved except farther and farther away from the beach.  Alcohol and exhaustion do not mix and I began to tire and yell for help and swallow water.  I do not remember being saved but I do remember throwing up a lot of salt water on the beach in agony after being rescued by that “square kid” who risked his life for me.  I thank that young Marine for my Life.  I laugh at that potential headline-“Larry Wilcox drowns in Vietnam While on Vacation from the War.”  LOL

We talked about the dinners and events we had to put on this past year for school teams and we had no money for food.  We laughed because this team was coming over the Larry Wilcox home and he was a movie star.  Ohhh, if they only knew the devastation we had gone though;  bankruptcy, courts, lies, slander and we were living week to week.  We still had the kids over and made everyone happy.  No one knew.  I laughed one day to my wife and said that Mexican who asked me for money today at the car shop, well, little does he know, he has more money than I do.  The only difference is I will make it all back again so it does not change me in any way.  I have broke friends and rich friends and I prefer broke friends.  However, for some, being broke is like having cancer, and people are just uncomfortable around you because they are going toEuropefor Thanksgiving and they know you may not eat.  Life and the musical chairs.   Poverty for me is a state of mind and I will not accept it.  Poverty seems to disrobe some old acquaintances but that is ok as I am blessed with this experience for sure.  Interesting how one defines identity.  Some burnish it on their lapel and others on their heart.  I am moving forward and the sun is on the horizon!  Hang on!

Friends and Fans have been so special in so many ways.  Some have loaned me enormous sums of money and some have done labor with me for weeks and months.  Some have recently given me a special gift as a real CHiPs Anniversary Badge for that lucky time I had on NBC TV.  Some have come to my rescue under very threatening circumstances and they stood tall.   Thank you Tom, David, Hugh, and Frank for showing up for me in my hour of truth where illusion overlapped reality.  Thanks to Bill and Kate for their generosity and philanthropy. Thanks to my FBI buddies in Florida for their kindness. Thank s to all my friends for all the letters they wrote on my behalf.   I am grateful and I hope I express my gratitude to all, often.  All of you have been such good Marines!

Well, I will not bore you with all of my THANK YOU Stories but my biggest thanks are to the special women who were exposed to me and honored me with our children.  Five wonderful children, each a miracle in their own special way, have helped me navigate the tributaries in life.  Derek was my first son, and was born on the Marine Corps base in beautiful downtown 29 Palms,California.  Then came Heidi Kirsten, Wendy Johanna, Ryan John-Spencer, and Chad Weston into the Wilcox CLAN.  I am divinely grateful for their health and their signatures they are putting on this life cycle and extremely grateful for their loyal love and education they offer me in so many ways.  Mar Mar  (my wife Marlene) has been with me for over 25 years and has seen and shared my highs and lows in life.  She is a Marine for sure, because most would have kicked my ass out by now!  (I knew I should buy a motor home…lol)

We all have a choice in life don’t we?  We can choose to think negatively and invite drama.  We can choose to think negative because someone did not respond in kind to our needy gestures.  However, on this Thanksgiving, you will be amongst family and friends.  Some will be put off with a personality or two.  Some will be put off with the over indulgence of alcohol by one or two.  Some today will probably be stoned or high on crack and full of rhetoric, opinion and verbosity.   Some cannot consistently walk the talk and just are full of crap.  Some will complain about the food, or one burned muffin.  Some have become habitual complainers about the misery of life and enjoy the drama of such.  Some are so damn “anxious” that the simplest of things get them upset and they start controlling through emotional abuse and the transference of pain from the child psyche.   Some will search for the fleeting validation.  Yes, Oh, the menus are full and ripe for choice.

Yet, some will look around the table and attempt to place the image of their loved ones and family members in the SAFE Memory of their soul to cherish thereafter when one leaves this dynamic called earth and its ephemeral life cycle.  Look around, smile, give thanks…..thanks in words, thanks in gestures, thanks in your EYES AND YOUR SOUL.   When those choices or traps appear, just smile and refrain and hug that person with amusement and love.  Be entertained with his ignorance, his demeanor, his past, his being….just be loving and entertained.  Give control to your maker and marvel at these various miracles at your table for Thanksgiving.  And God forbid, if you have no food, marvel at their being and please ask for help so we can help you and each other.

The other day I shot stills and video of thousands of foster kids.  They asked me if I wanted to be a celeb and be introduced and I said no.  I wanted to simply photograph the miracles of life who needed the nourishment of love and parenting.  I wonder how their Thanksgiving will be as my soul quietly weeps with them.  I wonder about the families of missing Vets, of wounded warriors, of policemen killed in the line of duty, victims of weather, the children of disease, and of course the impoverished and the HOMELESS.

So I ask myself, how many deposits did you do this year for the hearts and souls of others knowing there is no reward and probably no reciprocity?  The travels of a life cycle.   It is indeed a humbling experience to be a HUMAN, isn’t it?  We are all the same and we need to help each other.  Thank you for my turn in this life!  I sure love the treasure hunting I get to do with each human experience…in the grocery store line, or at work, or online….thanks!  You are all treasures and I have loved the opportunity to observe and to engage.  Even if you are not religious or a believer, maybe on Thanksgiving, you can say your own form of prayer and express gratitude and find someone to gift your wise heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Larry Wilcox and Family