On Being Thankful

Webster=s New World Dictionary does “Thanks’giv’ing” this way: “1. A formal public expression of thanks to God. 2. An annual U.S. holiday.” And “thank’ful” as “feeling or expressing gratitude.”

Given these fascinating and somewhat tumultuous times in which we are immersed, I cannot escape the thought that our present and future well-being boils down to how we as individuals and families and communities celebrate each moment. The coming week seems set aside for just such celebrations.

As you likely do, also, I take a moment or two each day to be grateful for my family, others who enrich my life, and the blessings of living in Paradise. I promised myself to think more about them through these next holiday seasons.

No doubt, you probably have been putting together a list of your own blessings. Here are a few from my list.

I am thankful that I get to play with the boys and girls of the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club. In 1919, a handful of movers and shakers decided our natural resources needed a voice and workers, and became both. Over the decades, countless club hours and dollars have gone into the support of habitat and birds and animals, as well as outdoor activities for kids and families. Huge numbers of chukars, huns and pheasants have been released in the valley. Every winter, tons of seed is made available to anyone who wants to feed birds, at no charge. I’m grateful for your support of the annual Chukar Run Banquet and Freeloader Hill rodeo parking, too.

I appreciate local support for Ducks Unlimited. That so many are willing to support wetland habitat for hundreds of species in the duck factory areas of the North and laugh so joyfully as they part with their hard-earned cash still boggles my mind.

I’m thankful for the natural bounty which sustains us and our families; what a blessing that we can hunt big game and fish for salmon, trout, halibut, rockfish, walleye, catfish, perch and bass (and net crabs, dig clams and catch our own calamari) within a couple hours of our home.

I am thankful for the peaceful glades, deep forests and open hilltops across Paradise.

I’m thankful for the snow (well, mostly, anyhow) we will have this winter, and the seasons with which we ebb and flow. As always, I am grateful to live in a place where gentle breezes bring us ever-changing fresh air.

I am thankful that my kids and grandkids all have a sense of belonging to the earth. I like that Tena takes time away from her commitment to cure cancer to chase fish and game with her family; that Anna finds time away from singing and modeling for fresh air and grounding; and that Edward plays outdoors as much as he teaches inside. I am grateful to Tim and Nicole and Michelle for their commitment to immerse my grandkids in fresh air and dirt; and to James for raising a bunch of wild outdoor nuts.

I’m thankful that Diane and I can find wildlife to enjoy most anytime of the year in our valley and nearby. And that will be evermore true through winter.

Somewhere in these days, I will count still-giving blessings from the past. I will no doubt replay the joy and pleasure of hanging out with Last-of-the-Hucklings Edward during the great moose caper of 2012. Among dozens of conversations, and abundant laughter, we talked a bit about Thanksgiving celebrations and traditions with family gone on. We may have talked again about my last Thanksgiving with Dad – Edward’s beloved grandpa Ray Fontes – and how Alzheimer’s stole him away from us at that turn of the Century holiday season.

His Alzheimer’s had reached the point that he needed more care than he could get at home, so my first job that Thanksgiving morning in Boise was to spring Dad from the nursing home. We had an unusually enjoyable day with my mother, my aunts and other family. Maybe we knew, somehow, that the elders would all have gone on within a few years. At any rate, the food and celebration of thanks were great, and I returned Dad to his new residence that evening. We talked and talked (I did, anyhow) and he chuckled as if he understood some of what I said. Nearly two decades later, I am still blessed by that Thanksgiving with Dad.

Surrounded by today’s blessings as we plan next week’s celebration, I occasionally wonder what might happen over this Thanksgiving holiday for which others may someday be ever thankful.

Oh, yes. It’s the beginning of that other season, too. So… Count blessings first. Then count your cash. Then go shopping and support the world’s economy (thus, blessing families across the planet).

Blessings to you and yours in this season of giving – and giving thanks.

Written by Jim Huckabay. Posted in Uncategorized