TURNING POINTS focuses on connections that matter in life, and I want to offer thanks to and for all the people who have make life better for others. Good on ya, mates!

Like Paul McCartney of the Beatles, who played such a role in the transformation of popular music in the early Sixties. Many of his listeners were or became musicians, who in turn inspired yet more people. He and his bandmates created turning points for so many folks.

McCartney explained a turning point in his creative (and personal) life. https://consequenceofsound.net/2016/05/paul-mccartney-meets-the-women-of-the-little-rock-nine-who-inspired-blackbird/

Imagine this young English musician watching the television news in 1957 about Americans who were hell-bent on denying nine black girls the right to attend previously all-white Little Rock High School in Arkansas. I can picture young Paul wondering how this wonderful nation that had done so much good in the world and had produced so much of the music that already had influenced him could be this cruel. Eleven years later, the memory of this incident inspired him to write Beatles’ classic “Blackbird.”

In 2016, McCartney met two of the Little Rock Nine at a concert in Little Rock. Looking back, we can appreciate the courage of those women—then just girls—and its historical impact. Now we know that their bold steps also prompted the writing of a song that people have enjoyed for decades without knowing the full weight of its meaning.

Often in life, we do not/cannot grasp the impact of our own or others’ actions. But it’s there. Such connections or turning points are worth our attention. And many warrant our appreciation, especially at this time of year.

Thank you, Little Rock Nine. Thank you, Paul McCartney.

Odell Guyton posted an article about the McCartney-Little Rock Nine connection. Thanks, Odell. I wouldn’t have known Odell were it not for Nursing Mothers, where our wives (then young mothers) met. Don’t want to push this to ridiculous limits, but you get the idea: strings of actions, sometimes serendipitous and sometimes as intentional and brave as the actions of a young girl in 1957 Arkansas. We impact each other. Let’s take time to thank one another for all such kindnesses. Happy Thanksgiving, Odell and Karen!

Looking for folks who go out of their way to help the most vulnerable around them?


John and Leigh-Ann Tumino established In My Father’s Kitchen in Syracuse, New York. I’ve written about IMFK here before. Check out the creative ways that this organization helps folks who have no home any day of the year, let alone on Thanksgiving.    https://inmyfatherskitchen.org/

Available at Syracuse Wegmans

I wouldn’t have learned about their work had I not met Jon Nappa, founder of Storm Warriors International, another awesome organization that helps people in need and those who serve them. https://www.stormwarriors.org/


Never would have known about Jon Nappa, had I not met Ira Mandel, founder of Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition. https://midcoastrecovery.org/


Okay, I’ll stop there, already. But those human connections multiply the kind of kindnesses and blessings that we Americans will give thanks for on Thanksgiving.

If you want to contribute to folks who are out there trying to help the most vulnerable around us, you could consider any of the organizations listed above.

Thank you for reading!


Ned Bachus is the author of Open Admissions: What Teaching at Community College Taught Me About Learning (Wild River Books, 2017) and of the “Turning Points” weekly blog on nedbachus.com. City of Brotherly Love (Fleur-de-Lis Books), his book of stories, was awarded the 2013 IPPY Gold Medal for Literary Fiction. Bachus’s article, “Learning From Turning Points in Our Teaching Lives,” was featured in the May issue of NEA Higher Education Advocate, which reaches over 150,000 college faculty in the U.S. http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/1901eAdvocate_ThrivingFinal.pdf