This Thanksgiving MULLINGS was first published in 2002.
Please take a moment on this Thanksgiving to say a Prayer of Thanks for those brave Americans in uniform, and also for the civilians, who are serving in far off places, away from their families, protecting us, and projecting America's values as we enjoy our Thanksgiving dinners safe from fear, and from want; and as we exercise our freedoms of worship and of speech.
In 2003, I wrote the Thanksgiving column from Camp Victory just outside of Baghdad. Please take a look back at that Iraq Travelogue by clicking here: "Good Morning Mesopotamia"
It was the day before Thanksgiving; crisp and clear. I was giving the Mullmobile it's quarterly treat: A professional car wash. At Andy's Car Wash in Alexandria, you drop your car off, then go inside to pay. A woman and a little girl - about three-and-a-half - were paying ahead of me.
It was a cold day, so the little girl was bundled up in the way little girls are on a cold late-Autumn day.
Ignoring the advice of The Lad, ("Dad, just because you CAN talk to everybody in the world, doesn't mean you HAVE to talk to everybody in the world.") I asked the woman what little girl's name was.
"Destiny," she said, beaming. "She's my baby."
In the way of precocious little girls, Destiny asked me where my car was. I told her it was right behind her mom's.
Destiny looked up and me and asked me if my car was going to be a shiny as her mommy's.
I said I hoped so and, in that patronizing way that grownups talk to little girls and boys, I asked her how shiny her mommy's car was going to be.
She thought about this, staring off toward the seafood store across the street with that look of deep concentration little girls assume while contemplating great concepts. Then she looked back up at me and said, "Rainbow Shiny."
The magnificence of that phrase took my breath away.
The problem with looking at the world through a senior citizen's eyes is we can no longer see things as being "Rainbow Shiny." Even on those rare occasions where we see things as beautiful as a rainbow, we know from long - and often harsh - experience that rainbows are, like riches and glory, fleeting.
But for children of Destiny's age, everything is decorated with the brilliant hues and gentle shadings contained within the infinite colors of her world's rainbows. Her entire future is adorned in vivid thoughts and sparkly dreams.
On Thanksgiving, we should try - just for a few minutes - to look at our world though Destiny's eyes: Look at our world as being "Rainbow Shiny."
Even though we know it won't last, we should enjoy Thanksgiving for this one day while we look around the table eating the wonderfully familiar meal, repeating the well-told stories, to the same precious people, remembering fondly, if sadly, any who are missing from this year's gathering of friends and family.
As her mom was strapping her into her child seat, I caught Destiny's eye and pointed to her mom's clean car and, smiling and nodding, I blew her a kiss.
Destiny, in that way little girls do, hid her eyes and giggled.
This is another kiss to Destiny: Thank you for reminding a grown-up that if we look at our world with the simple trust of child we, too, can see it as "Rainbow Shiny."
That little girl is destiny's child. All children are.