April 8, 2020

Giving Thanks

By Stephen Tuttle | Nov. 30, 2019

Thanksgiving is the best of holidays, except maybe for some cooks. It's a time when family, friends, and oftentimes stragglers with no place else to go are all welcome.  
It has the added advantages of outstanding food and no secular connections; most everybody celebrates the same holiday at the same time. We give thanks for the companionship of our loved ones, the meal, and whatever good things have come our way. And this year, perhaps more than most, we try to avoid politics.  
The only flaw is that our thanks never quite extends far enough. We all have someone to thank, but most of us have many. There are dozens if not hundreds of people who have done, are doing or will do jobs that help makes our lives easier and safer. They all deserve our thanks, too. 
Let's start with the obvious, the men and women at work while we feast.
Thanks to the police officers, sheriff's deputies, state troopers, fire fighters, and any and all first responders working today and every day. 
Plus the men and women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, too many of whom will enjoy their holiday dinner in harm's way, far from home. And a special thanks to everyone at Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, who save us from catastrophes natural and self-created. 
There are just so many ...
Teachers, teacher aides, custodians, food service workers, administrators, and boards of education. Not to mention the brave souls who drive or are aides on school buses — think carpool, with 60 kids, twice a day.
Speaking of drivers, there are truck drivers, BATA bus drivers, delivery van drivers, tax drivers, and the others who take us places and bring us our stuff, not to mention the folks who sort it all before it gets delivered. And mail carriers and other postal workers. 
Plus our intrepid snowplow drivers called into action way too soon this year. And thanks to the folks who build, maintain, and repair our streets and roads.
In a nice, warm place for Thanksgiving? Thank architects, engineers, masons, carpenters, framers, roofers, electricians, plumbers, heating/ventilation/air-conditioning installers, sheet metal workers, iron workers, painters, and the people who make everything they put together. Plus real estate agents, insurers, landscapers, and tree trimmers.
And car designers, autoworkers, and everyone else putting together our favorite mode of transportation.
Let's not forget doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, technologists, administrators, nutritionists, dietitians, physical and inhalation therapists, and everyone else who tries to keep us healthy, cure our ailments, and put us back together when we're broken. 
Then there are actors, directors, producers, singers, writers, publishers, editors, poets, artists, sculptors, musicians, and dancers who can inform, entertain, and delight us. Even tour guides. 
Dining out? Don't forget the cooks, servers, hosts and hostesses, busers, dishwashers, and managers making that happen. 
Thanks to inventors and the entrepreneurs who have created the gadgets we now take for granted.
And the growers, ranchers, and all those who harvest and process the bounty most of us enjoy on holidays and every day.
If you're traveling, give thanks to the pilots, flight attendants, ground crews, reservation clerks, and even the TSA employees who will help you get safely to your family and back. And hotel/motel/resort managers, desk clerks, and housekeeping staffs.
Let's give a special thanks to all the scientists and researchers, from archaeologists to zoologists, who continue to enlighten and inform us about the world in which we live. We should be paying better attention to many of them. 
Let's also thank community activists, non-violent protesters, organizers, trouble-makers and curmudgeons for highlighting needed changes and keeping us on our toes.
While we're at it, let's thank all elected officials, even those we hope lose in the next election, just because they had the commitment and courage to put their names on the ballot. Local elected officials, of whom we expect much but repay with little compensation and much criticism, are especially deserving of our gratitude.
 And so many other people working in relative obscurity but worthy of thanks anyway. Utility company workers trying to restore power. City, county, and state employees, community groups, charities and, to be sure, everyone who volunteers for anything. And everybody I've unintentionally omitted. 
Finally, thank you for reading Northern Express and this column. It is appreciated. 


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