thankful-pb Thanksgiving is approaching and although it’s not as big a deal in my family as Christmas is, I always try and take a moment to remember what the holiday stands for. Figuratively. To be thankful.

I’m thankful for my family.  They are always there and always support me. Even when I screw up and let me tell you, I’ve had some doozies.  Family is first and foremost in my life; I’ve taken some hard knocks to learn that one.

Then there’s my health.  When I’m not popping out kidney stones or collecting yellow jacket stings or pulling muscles, my body is pretty solid.  I eat healthily-although some would argue; I still believe pizza comprises all four food groups-and I can do just about anything important that needs doing.

I also appreciate our form of government.  Although it’s nowhere near perfect, I do believe it’s the best thing going.  In fact, I believe our nation is the greatest in the history of the civilized world.  We aren’t always right and we don’t please everyone, but we are the most generous, most caring people in the world.  I think that we sometimes lose sight of that with all the America-bashing that takes place in the world media.  Look at it this way, what shape would the world be in without America doing it’s thing?

I’m also thankful for the internet.  There has never been another time in the history of man that we as a people could stay in such close contact with the people we love.  I hear from my mom almost every day (of course, I delete most of those silly email forwards but don’t tell her). I also keep up with friends and family who live in other places.  When babies are born, and I can’t be there, I get to see pictures almost the same day (the new mother isn’t always happy about that but that’s another thing altogether).  Weddings, job promotions, future book releases (hint, hint) … are all communicated at lightning speed.

I know it’s cliché, but I’m thankful for all the freedoms that we enjoy in America.  We take them for granted because we are born with those inalienable rights.  We forget that this country and this country alone guarantees them.  Our freedoms were fought for and I think it fitting that Veteran’s Day precedes Thanksgiving by a few short weeks.  We as a nation tend to forget our freedoms until they are compromised.

Other things I’m thankful for:  peanut butter (the only food in the world that can pose as an entrée, a snack or a dessert), hot showers, Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper , LCD computer screens, coffee, kittens and puppies, deodorant, Spring, a good book , the soothing smell after a thunderstorm.

These things I’ve mentioned.  They all have something in common. We never think about them until they’re not there.  When our family is absent or our health is deteriorating or we can’t log onto the internet, we suddenly miss them.

This is what Thanksgiving means to me.  It’s a chance to take a timeout and count our blessings, to be thankful for all we have and remember just how precious and fragile those things are.

(originally run in the Tideland News , Nov 19, 2008)