Midterm election commercials are over. I’m happy and so are you.

On this day like all others, I’m thankful to wake up with the same gorgeous woman I went to bed with for 62 years, making her breakfast and starting her day. Thankful I am.

I have a great job. I get to try to make you laugh every Sunday morning, even when there is little to laugh about.

The house and car are finally paid for, even though we may have to sell both of them to keep oil in the tank, gas in the car and Stella in the fridge.

Hey! I grew up in the Great Depression, and then became an actor. I’m a sucker for hard times.

Aren’t we all thankful for a “kind of” November?

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The political stuff is “kind of” over, my Democrat and Republican neighbors are stunned. Who would of thought? Ain’t it always the way?

I think the best story to come out of this horserace is that of a stroke victim who is going to sit in the United States Senate.

She, who survived a stroke in 48 hours, is happy for him. The universe loves a grateful heart.

John Karl Fetterman, a 6-foot-8 bald fella in a hoodie and a goatee is fixin’ to get sworn in to that august body, by the president of the Senate, and will get to eat that famous bean soup in the Senate cafeteria, right next to the tiny, unhappy Sen. Lindsey Graham.

It’s almost a Frank Capra movie, isn’t it? And who is going to play John Karl on that “Saturday Night Live” sketch?

But this Thanksgiving has nothing to do with any of that.

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I’m thankful this year because of a picture of a Thanksgiving long ago, that my nephew, Kevin Devine, a wealthy dentist (aren’t they all?), uncovered.

I remember seeing it as a boy and having my mother recite all the names. It was a ghost story that kept me awake.

There they were together for the last time, the seven Conlon brothers, children of Myles Conlon and Bridget Reilly of Roscommon, Ireland, who had a “Titanic” moment on the boat to America and had something beside potatoes for the first time.

You can see their children standing in front of their first American stone house in Hudson County, Pennsylvania, on what my mother said was Thanksgiving Day. My sister Rita said it was a wake, maybe a garage sale, but I believed Mama.

See Thomas, my grandfather James, Myles, Cornelius, William, John Francis and Patrick. Wow! Where’s the bar?

Myles Jr. in the back wore the black hat because a mule had kicked him in the head which took out a large patch of skull. That kept me awake, too.

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Myles, the elder, yes, went to work in the mines, and one by one as they grew old enough to work, his boys followed, right from school to afternoons bringing water down to the miners.

I learned that the oldest, John Francis “Chip” Conlon, and a couple of his brothers one fine day bought the company from its retiring owners, named it the Conlon Coal Co. and with the brothers brought wealth, local fame and better potatoes to the Conlon table.

My grandfather, “Big” Jim Conlon, the tallest in the back, would have none of it.

Dreaming of becoming a riverboat pilot, Jim migrated down to St. Louis where he plied that trade until he went into building stuff like the “Delta Queen.”

He bought my mother and her sister “Mamie” a pony before going broke. So Irish. Potatoes for supper and you buy a pony?

So that’s the story of the Conlons of Ireland and Hudson County, Pennsylvania.

None of that anthracite fortune ever flowed down to Veronica Conlon or myself.

It’s an Irish story, full of whiskey, a few lines, and bad dreams. Happy Thanksgiving.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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