Thanks for everything

The wind was blowing strongly but invisibly when we arrived at the breakfast place. Later, our morning hunger sated, we exited the establishment into a wind speckled with seeds of the impending season.

Not enough to whiten the grass, but snow, nonetheless. For my part of the planet, four days before Thanksgiving is early, even for snow that does not stick.

The weather guessers have been guessing winter will be more, er, wintery than usual this year. Warm air northbound through California and Nevada has apparently pushed the Arctic vortex off its normal axis, causing it to drop huge fragments of winter into the northern U.S. In Gettysburg, far enough south that grits often are the preferred breakfast staple, there may even be snow – serious snow – this year.

This is not a region that records many huge snowfalls. In 1998, we got 14 inches one Sunday morning in early April. By Monday morning, there was no reason remaining for anyone to take off work.

Most of our snow has been like that. On the other hand, there was that three-day event in 2010 that had crews working nearly a week to open the roads to normal travel width.

“Here we go again,” granddaughter said one recent Thanksgiving as I was about to expound on what I was thankful for. Whether one believes in One God, many gods or no gods, it’s good to think, occasionally, of things that have turned out reasonably well.

I’m thankful for an email that led to a dinner date with a lady I didn’t then know, and who has become my best friend. I’m thankful for the kids and grandkids that she brought with her, who added to the ones I already had.

And I’m thankful for the other friends and acquaintances I’ve met along the way, who do not cross the street away from me when they see me coming.

I would be much more thankful to live in a place where exciting our kids’ imaginations were more than political pandering. A trip to Mars should be a national goal, the way a trip to the moon once was.

Or we can just stay here and shoot at each other. In the later scenario, a relatively small number of us get rich while the rest of us hang around waiting for the next extinction.

In July, a solar-powered airplane completed an around-the-world flight – for the sole purpose of proving it could be done. Such fantasies-turned-real have given us many of the devices with which we now content ourselves. Too many of us have, I submit, have traded our imagination for a virtual world of war games and SnapChat.

But I’m thankful I live in a nation where the majority of the people can decide what they want for a government. Most of them do not exercise that right, but they could, and that’s better than a lot of other places I have been— and even staying home is a choice, sort of.

I’m thankful, too, for the guys and gals around the world who are keeping this nation a fairly safe place to live. Not as safe as it could be, but that’s not the soldiers’ fault. I’ve been where they are. I’m glad I’m not. I wish they didn’t have to be – but I’m thankful they are.

I guess I’ll be a lot more thankful if we could stop being scared of each other and stop sending our kids off to kill or be killed by other people’s kids.

I’m thankful that there are people who think some of what I think is worth thinking.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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