On Thanksgiving, remember why

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

Turkey Day. Football games. Family. For many, lots of food and drink.

It’s easy to forget what the day is really about in all the celebration, so we thought we’d come up with a short list of things we can all be thankful for this year.

– A City Council that looks like it can get along. Maybe you didn’t get everyone you voted for this year, but we’ve got a pretty promising City Council.

We’ve got a mixture of newcomers who are young and are likely to see things from a somewhat different perspective than the veterans on the council. But the veterans bring a backbone of stability to the council that we value as well.

Based on what we know of this group, we think they can get along. We shouldn’t take that for granted. We need only to look down the road to our neighbors in Lebanon, where squabbling has become an art form.

In one recent tiff, Councilmember Dan Thackaberry (who was running for the 17th District state House seat) was reportedly asked (and refused) to leave a closed session of the City Council during discussion of a lawsuit brought by another council member and three council candidates. Fun. We’re not saying that controversy isn’t part of city government, but we appreciate a council that can get things done without getting in each other’s faces. We hope this one will continue to do so.

– Fire season’s over. We’re thankful that, despite one of the larger forest fires in recent years, the Middle Fork Fire, we made it through a long dry summer and fall without any serious injuries or deaths to the firefighters who worked on that and other local blazes.

The local Oregon Department of Forestry staff, in particular, seemed to stay on top of things and were able to get people out to many fires before the flames started spreading appreciably.

– New faces in town. We’re thankful for business owners who have demonstrated the vision and guts necessary to take some local enterprises, which had been ailing, to the next level. Particularly, we think of Mollies Bakery and what is now Steelhead Strength and Fitness. These people put their money where their mouth was and have created something that we can all be proud of. And they’re not the only ones. Residents around town are fixing up old, beat-up houses, and other new businesses have been launched or are in the process of doing so. Sweet Home is definitely making progress.

– New homes, and more to come. Speaking of progress, there are over 1,000 lots out there that have been approved just in the last year for development in Sweet Home. This development will bring some costs and changes – more traffic, more demand for services that are already stretched thin. But we hope the folks who move into those homes, whenever they are built, will make positive contributions to this community in the spirit that many current residents have. We hope Sweet Home is better for their presence.

– Volunteers. We’re thankful for the people who step up, many of them over and over again, to help through organizations such as Sweet Home Emergency Ministries, the Elks Lodge, the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, through the schools, through local youth sports and others. This year’s Oregon Jamboree was the first sell-out ever and it was largely due to the efforts of the volunteers who made it happen.

– Health. You know, we’re remarkably privileged in the United States to have the health we do. In fact, it’s been so long since any serious epidemic of anything has swept through our land that we’ve got what is probably an unreasonable view that somehow we’re entitled to good health. Fact is, it could happen at any time. The latest threat is the bird flu epidemic that experts say could cut a swath through the U.S. Be thankful for health.

This Thanksgiving remember why we’re gathered around the table. Thank God for health, good food, the blessings named above and many others on a long list that we didn’t have space for here.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.