Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of them all. It's a time when most of my family gather's at my home for a good, old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. It makes me stop for a while and think about the things that I am thankful for. Granted, the past few years have been difficult. The economy crashed a few years ago, and shows just a few signs of improving. Most of the manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, thanks to free trade agreements and the exploitation of the underpaid workforce in the third world by corporations. There seems to be a general malais in the world at large that seems to be very hard to shake off.
Times, indeed, are hard. Still, I have many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my parents, who raised me with a good sense of morality and a decent work ethic that served me well for all the years that I was able to work. I am thankful for finding a good, steady career in Telephone work that enabled me to raise my family under decent conditions and provided me with healthcare and a good wage for my entire career. I am thankful to the United States Marine Corps for taking a self centered boy and turning him into a fully functioning man in just four short years. I am also grateful for the Corps for showing me how others live and what they need to do to survive in countries that do not have functioning Democracy like we have her in the United States. I am thankful for being born here, in the USA and being able to know a level of freedom only dreamed about by others. I am thankful for having a mind that is inquisitive and passionate. It gives me the ability to question things that are put before me and it also gives me compassion and empathy for those who are in pain or are struggling with something. After all, if we don't care about, and try to help, each other, who will? Without the ability to help and care for each other, our society would be doomed to end up on the ash heap of history. I am grateful and thankful for my family. I am glad that they continue to succeed in these difficult times. I am thankful for my wife, Sheryl. She is my second marriage. They say that second marriages fail more frequently than first marriages. I guess that could be true, if you do not continue to work at it and try to mend the leaks in your bonds when they spring up. We've managed to weather all the storms and are sailing on into the sunset together. I am thankful that I have lived to see all of this wondrous technology that has now gotten us to the point where we have made the first tentative steps to meeting and interacting with each other across the globe, without the aid of diplomats or leaders who tend to skew things to their view of them. Maybe one day, we will all understand and respect each other. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but maybe in my grandchildren's lifetime.
Finally, I am thankful for being able to reconnect with the many friends that I had in my childhood and young adulthood. What a marvelous thing this Internet is. How wonderful is this facebook? I am so happy that I found you all: Tony, Bernie, Jo, Pam, Don, Bob, Fred, Jerry... the list goes on and on. It makes me feel young again. Thank you all for accepting me back into your lives after all these years. And to all of my new friends across this country and across the globe, I am so thankful to have touched all of you, and been touched in return. I love you all.