Things to be thankful for this holiday

November 26, 2006|by BILL KOHLER

The turkey has been picked over, the Lions blew another Thanksgiving Day football game and Black Friday has, thankfully, faded into another frightful memory.

The holiday is over, but there's still plenty to be thankful for.

I'm not going to bore you with the usual Thanksgiving Day truisms and clichs because we all have to look at ourselves in the mirror each day and come to grips with what we like and don't like.

However, I will invite you to take a look around you and see we have plenty to be appreciative of.

Conversely, the world is not exactly at its peak clicking pace. There's certainly plenty to be downright angry about.

We're still in Iraq with no end in sight. Soldiers and innocent Iraqi civilians are dying at an alarming rate. Thousands are getting maimed and injured.

The world is unstable. There is more unrest than civility, it seems, and again, we have to constantly be vigilant for the threat of terrorism here and abroad.


Despite the threats and imperfections, if you look hard enough, you can find things to be thankful for:

· Family

Some people don't have the most perfect family life (you know what they say about picking your friends, but not your family), so those who do have a big family that's close by and close-knit, think about the good elements of your family and how they're there when you need them. Be thankful.

· Strangers

Many of us have been helped by people we do not and will never know. Good Samaritans come in many forms and faces. We need to be thankful for the people who stop at an accident to see if we're OK and call for help. Be thankful for people who donate to United Way and other charitable groups. Be thankful for the people who make up those organizations. Be thankful for all those who have a little and give a lot to those who are less fortunate. Be thankful for those who give when nobody's looking just because it's the right thing to do.

· Church

Be thankful you can go to any church you like and - pretty much - dress and worship any way you like when you get there. This is one of the freedoms that our veterans fought and died for, and should be appreciated not just on holidays, but every day.

· Freedoms

It's amazing the things we take for granted in this country. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, the right to peaceably assemble.

Think about this: In America, we can march down the Main Street of our nation's capital to the front door of the president's house and holler and scream, peaceably of course, about things that we feel passionately. And it doesn't matter if we disagree or agree with the president.

And think about one more: We have a protected press that can investigate, analyze and talk about the issues that are important to the people, not the republic. Every time you pick up the paper, be thankful for that.

· Shelter

I will be moving into a new home this week. For that, I am thankful. I appreciate the fine professionals at Ryan Homes and NVR Mortgage for helping make our dream come true, and for putting up with my endless array of questions, favor requests and waffling. And thanks, Jennifer and Todd, for not mentioning the whole eating-my-boot-because-of-the-siding thing.

Thanks also to my parents for allowing us to be housemates since July. Anyone who is not legally bound to and can put up with me for that long deserves a medal.

· Work

If you have to work, you might as well put your all into it. I am blessed - as many of us are - with having a great bunch of co-workers who care deeply about their job and doing their best. The reporters who work for me on the Tri-State staff are to be commended for their commitment to excellence and their professionalism. Thank you.

· Health

I've been blessed with good health for much of my life despite a history of some vices and a penchant for spicy food. Many have not. For those, take solace in the quality health care in the area, and be thankful for the incredible advances in medicine and treatment that can help us live longer lives.

And you know what, much of the research that has led to those medical advances was funded by people who gave when no one was looking, or walked for 24 hours in a local Relay for Life or put $10 in a Salvation Army kettle when they only could afford $5.

My father survived leukemia because of his strong will, prayer and the fact that someone gave when no one was looking or walked in a local Relay for Life or put in $10 when they only could afford $5.

For that, I'm thankful.

How about you?

Bill Kohler is Tri-State editor of The Herald-Mail. He may be reached at 800-626-6397, ext, 2023, or by e-mail at

The Herald-Mail Articles