Tuning in to gratitude

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Dear Readers,

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Amanda Smith, Editor

Listen up – this November, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving like a rockstar. Sure, there’ll still be ironic jokes about Native Americans and immigration, plenty of uncomfortable arguments about the outcome of a head-spinning presidential election, the challenges of family dynamics, and a never-ending pile of dishes, but I’ve got a little secret weapon to stay cool as a cucumber through it all – the power of the playlist.

Perhaps connecting with the spirit of Thanksgiving in its highest sense is about honoring the sacredness of the simple things, those so closely linked to the intimacy of human experience, yet so often overlooked in our daily grind. The simple act of opening one’s home to share a meal, a table, and a touching conversation – perhaps with the person you least expected – demonstrate to me the profundity of the simple pleasure of human connection.

And what greater connection than food and some killer music? Inspired by the incredible careers of both of the legendary musicians gracing our cover, I’ve made a little Thanksgiving playlist to help us all tune in to a stunning gratitude for the beautiful life so many of us have the great fortune of experiencing. Without further ado…

Track 1: Coat of Many Colors

by Dolly Parton

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One of Dolly’s most tender songs, it tells of a coat her mother stitched together for her out of rags. As she sewed, she told Dolly the biblical story of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors but Dolly’s excitement was tested by the taunts of fellow schoolmates. Not to be deterred, her depth of understanding is revealed at the end of this anthem telling of true wealth.

But they didn’t understand it, and I tried to make them see
One is only poor, if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money, but I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors my momma made for me

 

Track 2: We are Family

by Sister Sledge

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Escape any chance of family tension at the Thanksgiving table with the smooth grooves of the classic 70s R&B anthem We are Family. The ultimate family-friendly song to pump up the love and good vibes, We are Family practically commands you to have some faith and plenty of fun:

We are family, I’ve got all my sisters with me / We are family, get up everybody & sing!

 

Track 3: A Thanksgiving Prayer

by Johnny Cash

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Singing the song with a somber depth like only he can, Johnny Cash’s tune guarantees the goosebumps. Sung on TV’s Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, Cash counts his blessings for:

I´m grateful for the laughter of children, the sun & the wind & the rain / I thank you for all that you gave me for teaching me what love can do; and Thanksgiving day for the rest of my life I´m thanking the Lord He made you

 

 

Track 4: Shelter from the Storm

by Bob Dylan

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In a world of steel-eyed death
and men who are fighting to be warm
Come in, she said I’ll give ya
Shelter from the storm

Debates on whether the female figure Dylan speaks of is an actual woman or a metaphor for religion may continue, but ultimately, the song speaks of giving, caring, & connection – and of course, taking nothing for granted.

Access the complete playlist online at LifestylesAfter50.com, and I hope these tunes make your Thanksgiving an extra special one!

Sincerely,
Amanda Smith

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