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Happy Thanksgiving!

I think this has become my favorite holiday. I suppose my favorite should be Christmas, considering the reason for the celebration, and I do enjoy the festivities around Christmas—the music, the lights, the excitement, the hope of peace.

But it does get a bit hectic, a bit expensive, a bit wearing. Thanksgiving is a more laid back holiday but one that offers us an opportunity to reflect on what’s important in our lives, something we ought to do pretty much every day, but being humans, we tend to put things off.

I have a lot of things to be thankful for this year. I have a wife who has put up with me for 30 years—endured my stupid jokes, my lack of any kind of fashion sense and my occasional stubbornness about such things as replacing sofas. Pat is a patient woman and I’m thankful to have her, lucky, too.

I’m also thankful for my children, Nick and Stacey, and my grandsons, Aaron and Hunter. They all have provided me more amusement than I deserve.

I have good friends with whom I share interests and opinions and good books.

I’m thankful for the new fly rod, the absolute finest fishing instrument I’ve ever waved across a trout stream. I’d be even more thankful if I had a few more days to practice the art of fooling fish into believing a piece of feather is edible. But one should not be greedy.

I’m thankful that my parents encouraged me to get an education. They knew it would be necessary, realizing early on that I was likely not fit for any useful work.

I’m thankful for everyone who bought a copy of my book—all four of you.

I have a nice place to live, a decent vehicle, and enough clothes (mostly blue jeans and tee shirts) to keep me protected from the elements.  I’m thankful for all that. I have more “stuff” than I need and barely enough space to keep it from overflowing into the street. I am fortunate.

I’m thankful for the mistakes I’ve made that were not bad enough to cause me or anyone else serious harm and I trust that I have learned enough from those miscues to avoid them in the future.

I’m thankful for where and when I live and for the opportunities that both of those coincidences provide.

I am thankful for my job and that I decided way many years ago to become a journalist instead of a football coach. My chosen profession has allowed me to travel to places I never imagined, as a poor country boy, I’d ever see.

I’ve met and worked with some of the finest people on earth and count many of them as close friends. I appreciate them for what they do to feed and clothe the rest of us. I have more than enough to eat and I thank farmers and ranchers for that bounty.

Thanksgiving is about appreciating what we have but it’s also an opportunity to appreciate what we can do for someone else. The gift of service is an immeasurable blessing. I’ve often told my children that they will never be happier than when they do something they don’t have to do for someone else.

My goal for Thursday is to celebrate Thanksgiving by enjoying friends and family—appreciative of what I have, aware of the needs of those who have less and cognizant of what I can do to help.

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