Another year is rolling around to its conclusion. Thanksgiving is upon us this week. Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine. I love the food and having family over for dinner. We have so many things to be thankful for in our country. A few weeks ago, I was asked by a church group to speak to them on gratitude. I spent a couple of weeks mulling it over and then a few hours writing the talk.
In thinking about gratitude and being thankful the first thing that came to mind for me is my family. I'm sure they don't know how much I appreciate them for all they have to put up with having a wife and a mother who is the editor of the local newspaper. It's a lovely job, don't get me wrong, but a very time consuming job. In a day's time I can be from one end of the county to the other and we have a huge county.
They have learned to cook ramen noodles for their dinner as their mom attends another meeting. They have learned to pick the cleanest dirty Levis out of the laundry basket and wear them to school again. They have also learned to do their own laundry. I am grateful for their sacrifices so I can make sure the county is covered each week.
I am grateful for our country. I always love Veteran's Day which we recently celebrated. My dad, passed away in 1988, but I always remember him at Veteran's Day and am thankful for his sacrifices and those of my father-in-law as well who liberated concentration camps in Germany on his tour of duty. I remember my dad coming home with what he called a hula girl, tattooed on his upper arm. He said it was pretty hard to go in the army and not come back with a tat of some sort.
I enjoy being able to go to the Veteran's Day programs presented by our county American Legion members and our school children. It's awesome to see them remembering the Veterans. I am sure those of us who have never been in a war can't truly appreciate what they went through and the sacrifices those men and women made and still make so we can live in a free country.
I am very thankful for the freedom of speech, the freedom for people to agree and disagree in this country, and still be brother and sister Americans. Ready to defend our country on a moments notice, ready to go into harm's way, so mothers and children are safe.
I am grateful for modern conveniences. Each year I go to a local preschool and tell them about pilgrims. I let them rub the ears of popcorn together and get the kernels and put them in the hot air popper and pop them. I grow popcorn and Indian corn for these children so they can get a small taste of what it was like when we had to fend for ourselves. When everything we had was of our own making or we traded what we had made for the products of others. Back before we had money to buy everything our country ran on a barter system.
If you didn't raise your own food, chances are you didn't eat. They didn't have welfare back then. We could only consume what we have produced. We have come a long way. We no longer wash our clothes in the creek, but most have washing machines.
Not all countries are as lucky as ours. If we have never visited anywhere else, chances are we might not appreciate what we have here. If you have lived for a time in a foreign country. Your knowledge and appreciation of the advantages we have here are more profound.
I speak of my son who served in the Fiji Islands, he washed his clothes in the ocean, they lived on canned fish and corned beef hash. But, when he arrived home he sure appreciated his mother's cooking more than ever.
What opportunities we have here. We may be in a recession, but we are still surely blessed and rich beyond measure. I heard a story not long back of a man from Cleveland and he told how his mother went from house to house with two small children in a stroller asking to clean houses and do any work she could because her husband had passed away and she had no one to take care of her and the children but herself. Those were hard times he said, we don't have such hard times today, maybe there is more help today, maybe we have been taught to look for those who need a helping hand and are willing to lift them up.
Yes, the holidays are fast approaching. I hope we can look for opportunities to serve the less fortunate in our communities and help all to have a wonderful Thanksgiving and bright Christmas.