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Happy Thanksgiving 2015, Y’all.

November 26, 2015

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

–Proverbs 17:22 (MSG)

On December 06, 2015, my mother turns 70. I am thankful to have her alive and well for these past ten years. She was missing for a week in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, and I thank God often that she did not die.

So much about my mother makes me smile. Months ago, I spoke with my sisters about what we might do for my mother’s 70th birthday. However, I already knew that a party, or trip, or expensive jewelry were not what she would prefer.

My mother prefers shopping. So, earlier this week, I took her shopping for her birthday at perhaps her favorite store.

Home Depot.

She enjoyed herself. I know so because I watched her enthusiastically walk the aisles and examine the endless tools and materials.

And who else’s mother sighs contentedly at the scent of fresh cut lumber?

You got me on that one.

In the end, I bought my mother a mitre saw, a hammer, and two bolt cutters. (The large bolt cutter was a must-have, but one never knows when one might need to cut smaller bolts, as well. Thus, it is best to be prepared.) Add to that list a gift card for a future paint purchase.

Happy birthday, Mama.

So, there’s one story of thanks.

I’ll go for a second one:

I had two primary goals this past summer. One was to write the body of my third book, this one on school choice. I am happy to say that it is with the publisher.

My second goal was to lose some weight. I am an active person, but I also like to eat, and the eating was in the lead.

Around July 4th, I realized that summer was almost over for me and I hadn’t focused on the weight loss. No problem. I still had three weeks to get started.

What sealed the deal for me was that I did not feel like clothes shopping for the upcoming school year. I reminded myself that if I lost weight, I could shop in my own closet.

Hook baited.

Over the next three months, I dropped 20 pounds, and I continue to enjoy surprising myself as I indeed continue to shop in my own closet. So, there is notably less of me now, and for this, I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.


  1. Deb Herbage permalink

    Thank you for writing this Mercedes! Your mom sounds exactly like my mom! My mom LOVES Home Depot as well and it wasn’t uncommon for us to get her a weed whacker, tools, paint and plants for her birthday’s and Mother’s Day. 🙂 I am thankful for you Mercedes and wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  2. Will Fitzhugh permalink

    Thanks for this, and for all your efforts for reason and sanity!

    Will Fitzhugh

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Mercedes: You are my Education Hero from Louisiana.

    I’m more your mom’s age, my son more your age. His “career” opportunities killed by Hurricane Katrina as he was PhD student in Physics at Tulane when it hit. He his wife and my new granddaughter still live in New Orleans near City Park. He was lost for nearly a week and I flew to Birmingham, AL to be able to look for him in Mississippi –

    Hurricane Katrina brought out a missed, hidden, education story that I worked on for over a decade so now public education is stronger- I hope! AERA Presentation 2014: 72.012 “Hidden Histories and Cultural Preservation from the Bottom Up” – “A Hidden Legacy of Educational Leadership in the Black Belt of Alabama: Professor and Superintendent Robert Brown – Toward Justice and Voting Rights in the 1960s”

    I taught in the New Orleans Public schools through the 70s and worked in Mental Health Education in the 80s and 90s in St. Tammany Parish as an educational director, teacher, principal and liaison with public schools.

    I saw medical “vouchers” for “privatized mental health” nearly destroy the Louisiana state budget in the middle 90s as the state hospital in Mandeville was all but closed before returning to complete my Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of New Orleans … where my dissertation … it turns out … was an early predictor of the “school to jail pipeline’ as it’s now characterized. Since, I’ve focused more on Educational History from a social justice perspective and like you, continued to teach in the public schools.

    I’m a teacher in CA my home, birth state, I share your research and writing with colleagues here through CTA and other venues.

    Best to you, and Happy Thanksgiving.

    • stiegem permalink

      Monty J. Thornburg: You have been my Education Hero in many places on this internet for several years now.

      I am a “laid off” Speech/Language Pathologist in Michigan. I share your research and writing with many.

      Best to you, and Mercedes, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Thank you for all you do and congratulations on getting the book to the publisher.

  5. Thank you for helping me to stay on top of what’s going on in education world. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I am thankful for the many GREAT writers/researchers/teachers (you being all 3) who keep the public aware! Thanks for all you do!

  7. Bonnie Wilder permalink

    Mercedes, what a great message! How did you lose your weight in such a sensible way? I need some inspiration to do so also, after Thanksgiving Dinner, of course. Traveled from Maine to FL and now back to SC with son and his family. With THANKS for your terrific blog, which I email out to others when pertinent to their situations. Bonnie Wilder

  8. LAEducator permalink

    Thanks for all you do, Mercedes. Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Birthday to your Mom!

  9. Andre permalink

    Always a pleasure to hear from you! Your Thanksgiving post was just perfect. Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Kevin Jones permalink

    Smiling for you.

  11. Christine Langhoff permalink

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and to your family, Mercedes!
    Congratulations on book three, and happy closet shopping, too.

  12. dolphin permalink

    Happy Thanksgiving, a little late.:) I enjoyed reading of your Mom’s birthday. I’m practical, like that, too.

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