Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bonanza Column 212 – Thanksgiving 2010

Living at Lake Tahoe ensures that with each Thanksgiving holiday we have plenty to be thankful for. While many of us grouse about the winter weather, most of us wouldn't trade it for the cold, wet weather back East or the foggy damp of the Bay Area (though if it would snow on the mountains and not on my driveway that would be OK with me).

Every year at this time I'm reminded of how fortunate we are to be able to give to the less fortunate among us, and how glad I am that we have organizations like Project Mana, Tahoe Family Services, Children's Cabinet, Tahoe Women's Foundation, and our religious institutions to ensure that the giving and the receiving are done with dignity and compassion.

We have a lot to be thankful for on the health and well-being front as well – we have a great little gem of a community hospital, thanks to whose efforts the IV Health Center will continue to operate, we have the efforts of Relay for Life, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and other groups of residents donating their time and their money for research and treatment.

While local businesses have been hit hard by the economic downturn, they are starting to bounce back, aided by the Local Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce, and we've even seen a few new businesses open up in the past year as well as a few locating to new spaces. The most important support we can give local business is to shop and buy locally as much as we can – in the end, it's going to be businesses that keep the community growing and vital.

Government at all levels has gotten a pretty bad rap for the past couple of years. Politics aside, we can be grateful that the government that affects our lives most directly is the government that is closest to those it governs. Whoever you supported in the recent election, our IVGID Trustees and the staff that runs IVGID operations are people we see every day and to whom we have direct access, and that's something to appreciate. And speaking of the elections, it would be easy to be flip and say I'm thankful they're over (which is true), but more importantly, despite the rancor and divisiveness, it's worth being grateful that we live in a society where we can have a difficult and rancorous election and afterward have government at all levels continue to function and move on with a faith that the values and the virtues we prize as Americans will survive even the worst election and the worst jobs of governing.

Relative to those virtues and values, there are those who said, when the draft was ended, that we would never find enough volunteers to defend them, but Thank God they were wrong. Our thanks this holiday and always should go all those who are serving and all those who have served, as well as those who serve those who have served – from IVGID to the VA to the USO. It's unfortunate, but one of the crucial tests of any set of values is the willingness of people to go in harm's way to protect them.

Finally, I'm grateful to live in a country where even a local weekly is willing to provide a forum for all political views and a forum for people who care about the community to come together regardless of their politics to tackle issues that affect us all.

So have a happy Thanksgiving holiday – enjoy the food, the football, and the launch of the December holiday season. I hope this column has been a reminder of what the holiday is really about; my list isn't exhaustive – I know I've left out people and organizations that deserve our thanks – so when you think "hey, what about ______?" give them a call or send them a note and thank them – for all of us.

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