Celebrate the Good Fortunes


For many of us, these past couple of years have been pretty tough.

We're still battling a pandemic, a pandemic that has killed two of my very close friends over the past several weeks. Groceries and gasoline are as expensive as they've ever been, and we are as divided now as we ever have been as a nation.

We could moan and grouse about all the things that are going wrong or wonky, as some of my friends like to say. We haven't fully gotten back to normal, despite massive inoculations. Recalcitrant nations rattle their sabers at us, the Twinkies shelf at the grocery store is bare and the St. Louis Cardinals fired manager Mike Schildt!

What to do? What to do?

In this season of Thanksgiving, let's celebrate the victories we've enjoyed. For example, we haven't had to close schools or cancel major portions of athletic seasons because of this COVID-19 mess. We've been able to see our youth compete and earn state championships; for the most part, we've been able to go to church, sit down in restaurants and enjoy meals. Our families have been able to gather for holidays and special occasions.

We have much to be grateful for, in spite of all the issues that seem to accost us as if getting poked with a stick. As I've said, let's celebrate the little victories.

And so it is, indeed, that time of year again, that time of year where we still see lingering Halloween decorations on front porches. We encounter those who insist on jumping the gun for Christmas with their holiday decorations. I've often said never rub another person's rhubarb. How people wish to observe the holidays is fine with me. It's time to see the Charlie Brown Specials and the Hallmark Christmas movies, which probably aired for the first time in July.

But this is a special time of year. We make a big deal out of roasting or smoking a turkey, mustering up some stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer), mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. I know some people who don't care for turkey, so they prefer a rib roast. I even know folks who have lasagna. If you want to have cottage cheese and Vienna sausages for Thanksgiving, do it 'til you can do it no more.

We'll gorge ourselves, fall asleep in front of the TV while the Detroit Lions are playing and talk to family members who aren't close by. We'll be happy to be around friends and family.

But let me offer something else. Let's understand that Thanksgiving is something bigger than any one of us individually. Let's be grateful for all the positive things we do have in our lives. Maybe we are struggling in a variety of areas, but there are things we can be grateful for.

Let's not forget those who are less fortunate, those who perhaps aren't blessed with family, perhaps those who have suffered loss recently. If you can, may I suggest giving back or paying forward. If you know someone, or a family down on luck, just offer some act of kindness, perhaps a gift card to a grocery store or retailer, maybe help someone with their power bill. Maybe just a friendly phone call to tell them you are thinking about them. Things like that could make a big difference their lives.

God's blessings, if we choose to really look for and appreciate them, are myriad. He graciously shares with us, so shouldn't we pass those blessings on? I guarantee, it will make your holiday a lot brighter.

To those who visit this corner of the paper, and even those who don't, I wish you the warmest of holiday blessings during this season of gratitude. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Editor’s note: Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and the host of The Pressbox, which airs from 4-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday on WRJB, 95.9 FM, Camden.