Today is a day for reunions, good food - make that a lot (burp!) of good food - good cheer and for watching parades and football on TV. But it is also a day for each and everyone of us to give thanks.
Give thanks for the generations in your family; who did likewise during their own Thanksgiving celebrations down through the years, imparting the love an affection that bonds forever. Give thanks for the generations to come. These kinds of celebrations are timeless and should be and will be passed along from decade to decade. Our children's children will someday be doing what we are today on Thanksgiving and knowing that should make us all feel a little bit better.
Give thanks for those serving our country at this very moment, many far, far way from home in a hostile land and far, far away from mom's apple pie and an extra serving of turkey with homemade gravy on it. Give thanks to all of those who have served and those who died or were crippled while serving. Our thanks today would be dramatically minimized without the sacrifices of the tens of thousands of fallen soldiers who gave for the American way and democracy. Please let us never forget that.
Give thanks for those working today in hospitals, in police and fire departments and in the local market where you can run to in a pinch and get a gallon of milk or loaf of bread, or, OK, a six-pack, when everyone else is closed. Give thanks to your paperboy or girl who will be lugging around heavy newspapers filled with Christmas shopping supplements early in the morning. Give thanks when finally finding a parking space Friday, the busiest shopping day of the entire year. For many it's more like Black and Blue Friday.
Give thanks for the dedicated teachers who instruct our children about math, English and science and most importantly, about life. Give thanks for the coaches who guide our children and who fully realize coaching isn't just about a final score and who played better. It's about who gave their best. Give thanks to the Samaritan who will give you a jump with their battery cables or maybe help you with a flat tire alongside the roadway when the wind chill is zero. Then quietly be on their way without even telling you their name.
Give thanks for the caring person who regularly checks in on an elderly neighbor. Give thanks to the neighbor kid who soon will be shoveling snow and won't expect anything in return except that matchless feeling of knowing it was a good thing to do.
Give thanks to those who still hold a door open for you and for the young people whose everyday vocabulary still includes the words "thank you," "sir" and "ma'am." Give thanks to the teenage daughter who doesn't care it if looks cool or not when holding dad's hand when crossing a street.
Give thanks for children who truly appreciate what a difficult task good parenting is and who appreciate all that has been done for them - even if the trendiest Ipod or whatever they are called isn't in the Christmas stocking this year.
Give thanks for all the single mothers and fathers out there who somehow get it all done throughout the course of a busy day. And then awaken the next morning to do it all over again.
Give thanks to all workers who despite a changing economy and globalization still make the United States of America the best country with the best damn workers on the entire face of this planet. Period.
Give thanks for those who can still give thanks and keep a strong faith despite personal loss and tragedy. Those folks find an inner solace drawn from a soulful of memories and the belief that good always awaits those who lived good, grounded lives. And that solace doesn't leave us when we enter or leave a cemetery.
Be thankful for the volunteers who will serve the hungry and needy today and for the churches who always have a spot for anyone to kneel.
Life is a challenge in varying degrees for all of us. That is indeed a given. It seems sometimes that many others than us have more to be thankful for than we do. But do they? Look deep down inside and - even it if always doesn't seem so - we will find something and someone to be thankful about.
Let's always be thankful for having a reason to be thankful for in the first place. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and thanks for being a reader of the Salem News. Oh, and could you please pass the stuffing?
- J.D. Creer, Managing editor (First published 2005)