Contemplating cats and cars at Thanksgiving

Published 6:42 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

By Steve Stricker

Saturday, Oct. 28, standing just outside my front door facing east, not a breeze was stirring as the sun peeked over the trees, temperature hovering around 60 degrees that later would reach 78, rain forecast and colder temps predicted, our Homecoming game with Vanderbilt (second favorite college football team) at 6:30 p.m, most leaves off trees, I decided (reluctantly) to clean my gutters.  

The sun felt good, leaves of my beautiful crimson twin Maple trees that I planted as wee babies still proudly wearing their fall colors as white fluffy clouds floated in the gorgeous blue sky.  The air was heavy, fall-fragrant with a hint of rain, winter approaching.

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After feeding my buddy cat, Jag and me, always putting God first, said the Rosary on my favorite beautiful “Rome Rosary” that my son Stephen brought to me from the Vatican gift shop.  

Then, using a precious wood ladder with tin tag, “Made or repaired by W. M. Telker” “Uncle Bill” in my home of Charleston, Mo., began the task of removing fallen leaves clogging my gutters.  And smiled thinking about middle son Scott, whose birthday is next on my Perpetual Birthday Calendar, Nov. 17 – I love you and Happy Birthday, Scott! 

With Thanksgiving approaching and all going on with Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Palestine, I contemplated how humbly thankful I am to God for my faith, health, home, USA, Oxford, Ole Miss, NMRC residents and staff (none better), Fr Joe, now Fr. Mark, St John’s Catholic Church, freedom to worship, Jag, my mom and dad, grandparents, sons Stephen, Scott, Shane, their mom, sisters Mary Ann, Pat, Paula, neighbors, previous relationships, so many of you who enrich my life, deer friends, Veterans Day on the 11th for all veterans, living and deceased, and for bringing me home safely from a nightmare year in Vietnam, July 1969-August 1970.  

Thanksgiving!? Where would I be, with whom, doing what, where did summer go, what the heck had I accomplished since spring? Go Ole Miss beat State!  Perhaps because I’m OCD and have little tolerance for things that don’t work, there is always something to fix. 

After hours and hours and years of maintaining my bought-new a year after Vietnam, 1971 MGB-GT it is wonderfully road-ready, but another year has slipped by and the only thing keeping my awesome patinated 1964 Land Rover Series IIA from the roads of Oxford, England to Oxford, MS is replacing the dreaded front swivel ball assemblies – augh!!

I’m thankful to have mechanical genes from my dad, granddaddy Stricker and Grandpa Renaud, but unfortunately didn’t receive ALL genes needed, so every time I pick up a spanner (wrench) it’s a terrifying adventure and I rely heavily on my buddy the Holy Spirit for help and friends like Bub Brannan who patiently answers my “wrenching” questions and is very supportive.

Faith is strong, yet very weak as I am facing major issues in my one eye.  Please help, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Mary Undoer of Knots, St. Joseph and am humbly asking for your prayers as I am totally terrified!!

GO REBELS – Beat LA Monroe this Saturday, then State on Thanksgiving!

Steve Stricker received his Ph.D. in Counselor Education from Ole Miss.  He can be reached at,