Thanksgiving — big and small
By E. Adam Porter
Editor in Chief, News of Sun City Center
In this month of Thanksgiving we are reminded, once again, to count our blessings. Towards the end of the month we will sit around a table, share time and say grace. We will pause to appreciate what we have. And many of us will glance, more than once, at an empty chair that was filled last year. We will be heartbroken at that conspicuous absence but grateful for all the time we had.
Towards the middle of the month we will take a day to say “thanks” to our veterans. Our gratitude will never be enough, but most of those brave vets will act as if it’s too much. Those who have set aside their weapons and wars have done their duty and moved on. Those who are still active will lace up their boots and do their job, living up to the oath only a small percentage of our citizens are brave enough to embrace. Both the retired warriors and those still in the fight have so much to teach us, and, for that, I’m even more grateful.
These are the Big Things, the stuff of banquets and galas and parades. Of flights across the country and Coming Together. The ingredients of family traditions that fill countless photo albums and create generations of memories.
But there are so many other reasons to be thankful. This year I am grateful for friends who have beat cancer and other illness, some more than once. Thankful for their strength and their example of grace under hideous pressure. And more thankful they’re on the mend.
I’m thankful for five minutes, every day, to sit in quiet peace and contemplation. It’s a small gift to give yourself, but the benefits are immeasurable.
I’m thankful for coworkers and colleagues that make my work a blessing instead of a drudgery. I don’t dread Mondays nor do I long for Fridays, because I like what I do, and I love who I do it with. I’m especially grateful to work with people who are not only good at what they do, but they do it right, and they do it on time. Many of us have worked with The Other Kind, so when you land on a team that hits on all cylinders, you can’t help but enjoy the ride.
I’m thankful that I’m increasingly aware of how much I don’t know, and I’m even more grateful that I live in an age when that information is right at my fingertips—from people who lived it, authors who wrote about it and leading experts who put so much of it online for free.
I’m thankful that books are making a comeback. Sure, I love all this technology, but curling up with a mobile tablet will never quite have the cozy ring or captivating reality of curling up with a good book.
I’m thankful that the book I wrote with and about my friend Spencer Faircloth is doing so well. Folks really seem to appreciate and enjoy “From Watermelon Inspector to the White House,” and that makes me smile. I’m also thankful that I have other projects in the works. Someone once asked me “where do you come up with all the stories” … and I had to smile. “Where?” I said, “Friend, that’s not the question. The question is, ‘when can I make the time to write all the stories already in my head.’”
I’m thankful for a pretty splendid life and a good woman to share it all with. Not everyone enjoys even one of those priceless blessings, and I get them both. I’m thankful for an adult son who occasionally aggravates me but always makes me proud, and for two young children who challenge me every day, but never cease to temper those new gray hairs with endless enthusiasm, creativity, wonder and life. They are, at once, my treasures and definitively their own persons, precious and distinct.
I’m thankful you’re still reading this, and I hope you know how much I appreciate you. Hopefully, this little narrative will motivate you to stop a moment and think about the reasons you have to be grateful.
PHOTO: The Porter family explored Great Smoky Mountains National Park.