Book Jeff

Be Thankful, Regardless…

The world as we know it is over!

No, I am not referring to the recent election results, the current COVID surge, or even my dismay over Disneyland not reopening again before 2021.

It’s the end of the world as we know it because irregardless has officially made its way into the English dictionary. Yes, people have been using it for years.  Regardless, it is a nonsensical word that means nothing more than just regardless.  I once had a valued team member, Stephanie,  who hated irregardless so much that she coined it into an adverb, i.e. “irregardlessnessfully.”

That was kind of awesome.  Until now.  We both texted each other lamenting the introduction of irregardless into common misusage.

Western Civilization might be coming to an end, but the sun is still rising in the East and setting in the West.  I still woke up this morning needing to write this blog post. I wanted to do anything, everything, but write. In my defense, this is not new. For years, I wanted to be an author. I just did not want to be a writer. Turns out, I am not alone. Lots of people dream of being an author, but doing the actual work of writing is a completely different story. A story no one wants to write.

The specific challenge with today’s article is it is the day before Thanksgiving 2020, and…let’s be honest, just between you and me, for the next few sentences. When this year started, way back when the ball dropped on Times Square and you were drinking the bubbly, singing “Auld Lange Syne,” and kissing your loved one, this wasn’t exactly how you envisioned 2020 unfolding. Was it?

I didn’t think so.

So much for “2020 vision.”

If I can be honest with you, the real temptation for me is to want to skip Thanksgiving altogether. What is the point? The Centers for Disease Control is telling us not to travel anyway, and I live in California where color codes have become a way of life. (I am currently under Code Purple BTW.) Even our ability to gather in our own personal homes is severely limited and restricted.

Again, What Is the Point?

But maybe that is exactly the point?

I know we all wanted this year to be different. Better.

I know some of us had heard that COVID would all go away the day after the election. It hasn’t.

It is tempting, so tempting, to allow the panic over this pandemic and the quarrels over the quarantines to rob us of our joy, empty our hearts, and convince us that our Thanksgiving tables have been hopelessly overturned.

But only if we so choose. You can always make a different choice.


For us Disney fans, I’m going to go “off property” here for a moment and talk about Dr. Seuss’ beloved classic The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (A Universal intellectual property. Note, however, that Thurl Ravenscroft, who sang “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” in the 1966 animated classic is also a vocalist in a number of classic Disney attractions, including The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Country Bear Jamboree.)

Remember how the little Whos in Whoville, when the sun rose that morning, still gathered around to sing and celebrate irregardless? Even after the Grinch had taken away all the trappings of Christmas…the trees, the presents, the food for the feast, the Whos gathered, irregardless.

The Whos sang, irregardless.

The Whos celebrated, irregardless.

That is Who I need to be, Who you need to be, and Who we need to be throughout the 2020 Holiday Season.


And yes, all while wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying socially distant, and keeping travel to a minimum. Why not use the extra room at your table this year to make room for growing your heart three times as big?

Earlier this week, I read what is claiming to the Best Quote for 2020: “This is not the year to get everything you want. This is the year to appreciate everything you have.” Okay, Disney fans, I know this is not the year we “wanted.” I could write about everything I thought was going to happen this year, everything I dreamed Disney would do in 2020. But trust me, that would not be helpful, for you or for me, going into this Thanksgiving weekend.

Instead, I want to gather around a Top 10 List of the things Disney did bring into my life in 2020 that I am grateful for and appreciate so very much. Here goes:

1. Traveling to Panama in January to share The Wisdom of Walt with multiple international business owners, thus allowing me finally to see the Panama Canal.

2. Riding Rise of the Resistance for the first time at Disneyland on January 29 (and getting to ride it more than my fair share sense)!

3. Being with The California Baptist University Disney Fan Club and my History of California students for what would be, to date, my last visit to Disneyland on March 8, 2020 (last attraction was Rise of the Resistance).

4. Having Disney+ launch right before this madness (a special shoutout to The Imagineering Story, Prop Culture, Onward, and Mulan (free on December 4)

5. The Mandalorian, The Child, Gratitude is the Way!

6. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (premiered in March, and I am grateful I got to ride it in early September. Love!)

7. Any and all things Skyliner. I just can’t say enough good things about this magical mode of transportation! Walt would be so very happy and proud!

8. Chief Billy Bolin and the City of Evansville, Indiana, for hosting me in October for a “Cops Connecting with Kids” event that raised money to send underprivileged children to Walt Disney World. This was my first live event since the global pandemic shutdown in March and my return to live speaking following a second successful brain surgery in June.

9. All of the thoughts, prayers, and well wishes that came my way when I made you aware of the medical challenges I was facing, again, and the support you provided during my recovery last summer. The Disney family is like no other family I have ever been a part of. Thank you!

10. To the Cast Members who continue to keep the magic going, and to the thousands who desperately want to but no longer can. As a company,

Disney is in an impossible situation with no end and no answers in sight. For what it is worth, you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

So, what is on your list? Please share! Enjoy your day tomorrow. Again, Thanksgiving 2020 may not be exactly what you want it to be. It may not follow your typical traditions. Your customary customs. Your common conventions. However, you can still give thanks.




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