Billiette Calling! Giving Thanks


Giving Thanks by Billiette S. November 1973

   ‘Tis the season of Thanksgiving and it brings to mind that coming into AA is like entering through the small end of a cornucopia – a horn of plenty.  We enter feeling rather small, defeated, lonely, a lost soul.  We wonder, what we’ll find here?

   When I first entered the cornucopia of Alcoholics Anonymous, my eyes went searching up the empty walls, and they’re looking down from the top were a lot of smiling, friendly faces, and their “Higher Powers”.  They held out their hands to encourage me to fill my cornucopia with the fruits of life that AA has to offer.

   First of all, they tell us to throw away our grapes of wrath and put into our new life a date – our dry-date.  We then add the fruits of faith, hope, and love.  Then a plentiful crop of trust, patience, humility, forgiveness, truthfulness, serenity, helpfulness, optimism, and cheerfulness is added.

   Then sprinkle it all with nuts for we all need humor in our lives.  To be able to live and to laugh at it all is not easy, but it is a realistic goal to achieve at the top of our cornucopia.

   Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries and I, for one, have not had the easiest years.  However, by the Grace of God and AA, I have much to be thankful for!  Last year at this time I asked God to let me die and take the pain from my legs.  Recently, at our 26th Anniversary Banquet, I danced without pain – something I never thought I’d ever be able to enjoy again.  I danced, thanking God for every step I danced; thanking God for all those wonderful sobered-up alcoholics – oh, such beautiful people; thanking God that I, too, was an alcoholic or else would never have known such love; thanking God for Father John, who always lifts me spiritually when the baas hit me: thank God for all the blessings I have received in my AA way of life.

   I was filling my cornucopia with the most important fruit of all Thanksgivingness to God.

   A Thanksgiving Proclamation was stated by Calvin Coolidge, that is so appropriate to us in AA that it should be a must in all our cornucopias –

We have been a most blessed people.  We ought to be the most thankful people.

     So, to be forever a favored, grateful, blessed and thankful people, we must always be aware of the grapes of wrath and remove them from our cornucopias.  If they remain, they may ferment and we all know the consequences of consuming the residue of fermented grapes!

Prayer of The Month

Our Father, it is our need to bee eternally and daily grateful, yet we are inclined to be forgetful.  So, during this period of national Thanksgiving, help us to be more then ever mindful of that which we receive by looking for opportunities to share whatever is ours to share – in gratitude. Amen

Receiving Billiette’s Call – Giving Thanks

   Billie presents several images to assist our Receiving Giving Thanks – they are the cornucopia, grapes of wrath, and a wine press – she is writing this as I can remember her preparing our 1973 Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner  – oh, what a thankful image to still have! The cornucopia image reveals that we all enter the World naked, with no possessions, and slowly move into life gathering the fruits that nourish our well-being.  The Grapes of Wrath, of course, brings to mind John Steinbeck’s famous novel, which received the 1962 Nobel Prize, which was a time Billie and Orlando had built their new basement bar and were heavily entertaining their Elk’s Club crowd.  In April 1962, I had my first beer, a quart, in the back seat of Rick’s car, graduating from high school a month later.  This memory even now gives me a headache.

   Steinbeck’s novel was published in 1939 the year my parents graduated from Fargo Central High School – WWII was just getting started.  Arvid Scherling’s book The Dogma of Sinful Constitution was 10 years old and my grandparents, Arvid and Sophia, were entering the 20th year of Scherling Photography’s operation. I read the Wikipedia entry on John’s book and the section on ‘Development’ tells in mid-January 1939 John wrote Viking Press editor Pascal Covici wanting him to understand the intent of his book.  John states the intent of writing the book: “Throughout I’ve tried to make the reader participate in the actuality, what he takes from it will be scaled on his own depth and shallowness. There are five layers in this book, a reader will find as many as he can and he won’t find more than he has in himself.”[13] Susan Shillinglaw’s (2014) book On Reading the Grapes of Wrath writes about this very interesting psychoanalytical statement.

   The Amazon entry calls Shillinglaw’s book biography of a book that “explores the cultural, social, political, scientific, and creative impact of The Grapes of Wrath and its enduring legacy.” What is important to realize is that the conclusion of the Joad family story “remains eerily relevant in today’s America and stands as a portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless, in the souls of the people.”  So, again we are encouraged to examine the soul’s logical life and end with a suggestion to watch The Parallel Society vs Totalitarianism | How to Create a Free World []. And remember this was posted some time ago, Capitalism: A Love Story []

Steven S. March 25, 2022

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