As my high school football coach once said to me, “Suck it up and get back in there.” So, I’m in the game and in the game I’ll stay, until that great referee in the sky says the game is done. I’m thankful to have a generally healthy and successful family. We’ve had our ups and downs, but all in all its been a great life so far. I have no reason to worry that whatever is still to come won’t live up to what has transpired. My nickname in high school was Sunshine, and maybe after reading this you’ll understand why. I always tried to look for the smile (or laugh) in every situation, and I managed to get myself into lots of ‘situations’.
LOL Speaking of high school, I just attended another reunion. There are only about a third of the class still on the planet, so that’s one more thing for me to be thankful for. Funny, though, how the rest of that gang got so old while I wasn’t watching. Why, I must have been the only teenager still in the group. My family always had multiple reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving week. I was born on my parents second wedding anniversary, so there were years when we had my birthday, their anniversary, and Thanksgiving on the same day. Later on, my son was born on Christmas Day, and my oldest daughter a week after my birthday. In fact, we now have birthdays every week from Thanksgiving to the end of December.
After driving across this gorgeous state last week, I’m thankful to be living in an area that offers so much diversity in its natural beauty. When I was growing up, I heard a lot about Missouri being a ‘rock pile’ state. In a way, we are. If you drive south of St. Louis on I-55, you’ll see lots of tailing hills alongside the road. Lots of mines in eastern Missouri, where they mine and process various minerals needed for industry. The environmentalists rail against these ‘ugly’ piles of rock, claiming that we are destroying our pristine planet. As we learn more about how to deal with the leftovers of mining activity, we realize that we can keep our land clean and inviting while maintaining necessary industry.
Our country is in the middle of another cycle of poor economics, and we’re not certain that we’ve found our way out of it this time. We will. When we watch the words politicians spew and match them to their actions, it becomes clear who is blowing smoke and who is telling the truth. We have to remember that truth sometimes contains a tough message. Tough love is not necessarily to be avoided. My dad taught me that, and I’m still thankful he did. As a pretty wild kid, I needed lots of tough love, and I got it. If I’d been pampered and enabled like so many kids today, I’d probably have ended in prison. Or on some lawman’s list of undesirables. So, thanks, Dad, for teaching me early on that I’m the one responsible for the things I do.
Finally, I’m thankful that we live in a land where we can choose to go to a church or synagogue of our own choice. Or, we can choose to ignore religion altogether, remembering we stand responsible for those choices, not to the government, but to whatever almighty being we worship or refuse to worship. We do not live in anarchy, which would be chaos and doomed to imprison us in a decade. Our form of democracy is the closest thing to that while keeping order in our lives. We should all be thankful every day of the year for that.
And with that, I’ll leave you with this wish; that each and every one of you find things to be thankful for, and that you find a way to express that thankfulness.
Dale Thompson, writing as Pat Dale
Thank you, Pat for sharing what you're thankful for this year. I think it's so necessary for all of us to take the time to list our many blessings. So, let's meet Pat.
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