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Take a step back, give thanks

Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving as an official holiday for the 155th year, ever since President Lincoln declared it a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens” in 1863.

Think about it. Thanksgiving, which had been celebrated informally for decades before that declaration, became official during a dark chapter in our nation’s history, its bloodiest conflict—the Civil War.

And yet—then, as now—there is so much for which to be thankful.

Today, as I write this at my home, I am snug beneath a beautiful hand-crocheted afghan, warm and cozy on a chilly day, protected from the elements.

We don’t live in a big, fancy house. It’s one of those manufactured homes that came in two parts on wheels. But there’s a roof over our heads, and over many of yours. We have heat, electricity, running water, food and drink.

Right now, there are people in the Florida Panhandle, in California, and in other places who don’t have all those things—who may not have them for a long while. For so many of the things we often take for granted, I give thanks.

I mentioned that afghan. I don’t know whose hands actually crafted it; I purchased it from a friend of the vendor at Old Time Farm Day this year. But I give thanks for the talent and creativity of its maker; the unexpected combination of colors that pleases my soul and the warmth it gives me.

I give thanks for all those creative souls in our community who enhance my life and yours, who warm my soul with their art, dance, music, poetry, drama. I give thanks for our Greenville Community Theater, for Johnna Pitts, Dent and Lori Neilson, Harriett Foshee and all cast members and crew, and to Nancy Idland, “Miss” Bobbie Gamble and the Ritz Players past and present; for our town’s dance mavens Sonya Rice and Susan Andrews, and for artists like Stacey Edwards and Priscilla Davis who have blessed legions of students then and now. And for so many more, too numerous to name them all, whose contributions as mentors, encouragers and “guiding lights” have truly enhanced my 58 years on this earth.

This Thanksgiving, in the midst of the political discord, natural disasters and civic disharmony of 2018, pause to consider all that is right, good and true in your life. And give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!