Caseythoughts Well, I guess this is The End. But don't roll the credits yet.

I finally figured out how to find my previous Thoughts in the Lansing Star. The actual on-line version, I mean. My hand-written chicken scratch originals are in a stack of loose-leaf tablets near my bed. When I got to the Search and Archive of the Star (hallelujah) it was almost a shock to realize my first column was October 6th, 2017.

What did I say? Well, I commented on the Tweet-in-Chief, encouraging the world just to stand down and shut up for 60 seconds as we lurched pell-mell into the Trump years. I also thanked three very important people in the genesis of Thoughts: Kate, Eleanor, and especially Dan Veaner. All three of these incredible people are still circling and embedded in my life as Thoughts and the Lansing Star come to a close. Not a bang but a sigh, intentionally misquoting.

I can reminisce with gratitude about Dan. I came to him out of the blue of e-mail, not having seen him since 2006 when I retired from radio. I asked him if I could unload my crazy thoughts in his previously respectable newsletter, and he never questioned the idea. No, I take that back. When he asked me what I wanted to call it I suggested 'Dumbky' which was a tribute to Antonin Dvorak's piano quartet which translates to 'thoughts'. Since I proposed this by e-mail (I can't believe he didn't ask me what I wanted to write about) I wasn't able to see his smile, smirk, or grimace. Emoji, please. His counter proposal was 'Keep it simple. Why not call it Thoughts?' Ingenious, Lansing guru!

And almost every week I two-finger typed it by e-mail at the Trumansburg library or, with the COVID closures by artificial intelligence-enhanced dictation, or, eventually, voice dictation to two very different human copy writers. Kate, of the first issue's gratitude, is my final smiling copy writer. I look across the room, laptop not on her lap, and she's still smiling.

I have couple of final thoughts. I wonder what I'm going to do with the cascading fire hose of thoughts (lower case t) after this week's closing issue.

One of those thoughts is about Facebook. I know I snarled about Zuckerberg and his insidious invention in the past, but on a dare I went back to it a couple of weeks ago and became quite thoughtful about it. In a matter of days it seemed that my connections were myriad throughout the world. 'Friends' who knew friends who knew me, etcetera. The spider web of interpersonal acquaintance was kind of awe-inspiring, even if I didn't know many of these people—third and fourth degree connections, tenuous or almost non-existent.

Communication from California, Florida, Ohio, Texas, people from my past or those who knew them or knew others—you know how Facebook is. I've taken a step or two backwards, continuing to share seditious and rebellious thoughts with my daughter in Massachusetts and realized that, like e-mail, I don't have to answer right away or even at all with many 'friends'.

But there is one photo on Facebook I want to share with you as we head into our winter holidays. All of us feel the joy and the darkness of the season, no matter our spiritual and cultural differences. The photo was accompanied by a note telling us that the woman's husband had been admitted to a hospital three times since Thanksgiving and her fears and depression about his health and her own well-being were overwhelming. At the lower portion of the photo were stacked wrapped Christmas presents but not under a traditional decorated tree. At the top of the photo, hanging from the ceiling, was a pine tree automobile air freshener. You know what I am talking about.

My burst of initial laughter was quickly stifled by stark realization of the irony the woman intended and maybe the loneliness that was part and parcel with the humor. Two emotions as opposites of the season, light and darkness, joy and pain, humor and fear. There is darkness for many these days, but life is an inextinguishable force. Imagine a candle that continues to burn brightly through our dark nights of country and our own private souls. We shall survive as democracy hopefully has, battered, and sometimes doubting ourselves, as we redefine resilience. But shine we will, you and I, and hopefully, so will our country, as we are all connected in ways much more sustainable than just 'friends' on Facebook.

We are all candles burning brightly and depending on each other's intrinsic goodness.

I'll close with a quote from Esther de Waal's Living With Contradiction: 'I pray Yes at the start of every day, accepting what lies ahead and hoping that I may, in all that happens, see and feel the presence of God.

I pray Yes at the end of every day, as I had all that has happened over to God and ask God's blessing on it.

So that Yes I say in prayer gradually becomes my Yes to the whole of life. The Yes that holds everything together, that brings everything into focus and gives it meaning.

You dare your Yes and experience a meaning.

You repeat your Yes and all things acquire a meaning,

When everything has a meaning, how can you live by anything but a Yes.

Thank you and 'Yes' to all who encouraged and helped me with Thoughts. You named, as well as you unnamed, and most especially you, dear reader, who cheered me as well as jeered me (emoji, please). Thank you.

Thank you and hearty and heartfelt 'Yes' to Dan Veaner, a friend indeed. May your future endeavors and travels be happy, fruitful, and joyous. That's also my wish for all of you. Every one of you. No exceptions.

Take care of each other. Thanks for listening.