“There are lots of words meaning thanks.
Some you can whisper.
Others you can only sing….”

~ Mary Oliver, “The Morning Walk”

After finishing up a major recording project last week, Joël and I are taking time to relax, reflect, and count our blessings. We are grateful for so much. For each other. For good health. For you. For the many people who inspire us. For all the musicians more skilled than we are, who make us better by listening or playing with them. For all the thinkers more intelligent than we are, whose words I often share on Facebook, whose ideas make us smarter. For the heroic human beings who risk everything to bring truth to light. For times of great upheaval and great hope. For all these, we are grateful.

We are grateful for our families, grown smaller and smaller over the years as our loved ones have moved on. We often talk fondly of holidays spent with my mom when we would go to her house and grill fajitas and chicken. She would make her perfectly-spiced boiled shrimp and rich, sweet Hello Dolly cookies. Joël would make guacamole, asking my mom to taste as he went along, adjusting ingredients and seasonings. When they agreed it was just right, she would inevitably say, “I think this is the best you’ve ever made. Best ever.”

Every single time, it was the best ever. (See his recipe below.)

She’s been gone for a decade now, but that “best ever” one-liner—rich with affection and remembrance—is still with us. Now when we prepare a dish or share a meal, we frequently joke that it’s the best ever—and it is, because we are relishing the time together, nourished by delicious food prepared with love, savoring each mouthful, savoring each other’s company.

How beautiful to realize that every meal, every moment together is the best ever.

Joël, Mingus, and I wish you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving, full of love and music. May it be the best ever.

We’d love to hear about your best-ever Thanksgiving memories. Share them with us in the comment section below.

Mingus, post-Thanksgiving turkey….

photo by Pamela Dean Kenny

If you’re anticipating disharmony at a family gathering,

practicing this meditation daily may help.

Print Recipe
Joël's Best-Ever Guacamole
  1. Lightly mash the avocados.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, a little at a time.
  3. Ask your mother-in-law to taste as you go, until she declares it the best ever.
Recipe Notes

"Water Lilies" is the perfect background music for chopping, mashing, and tasting:

Download it here:

(recipe photo cc by Craig Dugas)


Add Yours →

Dear Old Friends, like old oak trees, remind us to love, stand tall, and be glad as we pass each other on our ways to here and there. Some of our limbs may be crooked, but our hearts strong at the base…. grounded in the good earth of our lives.

While Western North Carolina has little knowledge of the meaning of Tex Mex, and that great guacamole of San Antonio…… best ever……. I do, and often live in the context of south Texas memories.

Peace, Bett and Joel

Bruce, dear old friend, what beautiful and thoughtful words! Thank you for being in our lives, and thank you for keeping in touch. Best wishes to you from both of us!

I too miss my sweet mama, gone since 2015, all too soon. (there’s a good song! Peggy Lee…) She “speaks” almost daily, as I’m sure yours does too. In fact, I started BECOMING her even before she left the planet, but it sure accelerated when she left. Aren’t we grateful we had such wonderful mommies to help us grow up? 🙂

Yes, MaryLou, we are exceedingly grateful! May your mom’s voice—and her love—be present with you always!

Dear Bett and Joel, I will be making Joel’s avocado dip!I I love the Water Lilies music and it feels as if raindrops are softly falling on Monet’s garden. 2019 had sadness and blessings. Sadness in losing my dearest and oldest friend Father John Wagner and my newest friend Agnes Wan, pianist and mother of Gilan, 5 yrs and Gavin, 8 yrs. She instilled in them a love of music for both play the violin! Losing my beautiful companion Chulo, Shih Tzu Little dog with the heart of a lion! Blessed that I am cancer free and work is rewarding. Thank you for the joyful music. BK

BK, great to hear from you! We’re so sorry for the loss of your dear friends. And beautiful little Chulo–we’ll never forget his sweetness and utter devotion to you. (We’re so glad cancer didn’t overstay his visit–he’s been showing up uninvited quite a bit lately.) Blessings and good health to you always!

I love reading your stories Bette!! I also love you guys and Mingus so much! Every now and then I’ll catch of glimpse of you or Joel walking Mingus and I start honking… So if you hear a horn- it’s me??
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and tell Joel thanks for the recipe!!

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