Hard to believe that another Thanksgiving season has rolled around again.
But now that it has, certainly we can think of so many things we have to be thankful for.
Thankful that we live in the United States, which truly is the "land of the free, and home of the brave." This is the nation that put men on the moon, and that unconquerable spirit is something it's good to think about as often as we can.
Thankful we have a strong nation, with a military force that is efficient in answering threats to our national survival, as it is working to do right now in Afghanistan.
Thankful that our nation is usually first in line to help other nations in trouble. Whether it's people in Nicaragua devastated by floods, for example, or people recovering from a terrible earthquake in Turkey, the United States is there to help. And even in often forgotten places such as Afghanistan, the United States -- before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 -- was the biggest provider of food and other humanitarian aid to the people there. (P.S.: What was "guest" Osama bin Laden spending his millions on?)
Closer to home, we can be thankful we have a wonderful school system for our children to go to. And thankful we live in a scenic paradise filled with opportunity.
Thankful for SDS Lumber Co., which provides a solid economic base for the community, and has been generous in supporting wonderful projects such as the new library in White Salmon.
Thankful we have a dedicated and generally well-equipped cadre of volunteer firefighters in our area.
Thankful we have the right to vote on our preferences for political offices, from the presidency all the way down to our local city councils -- even if only 35 percent choose to show up to do so.
Well, we sure can't be thankful that most of us are going to see a big increase in our water bills soon. That is an inexcusable oversight on the part of White Salmon's city planners. But we can be thankful that we have a clean, secure, and abundant water source.
Speaking of rate hikes, we can be thankful that the recent increase by the Public Utility District was one of the very lowest in the Northwest.
Thankful that in our small community, we have a variety of small businesses that provide us with a wealth of services and gift options. They make it easier to avoid that long trip into crowded Portland for a Christmas shopping spree.
Thankful for all the friendly people we run into at the post office or in local shops. It's nice that it is very uncommon to encounter angry, hurtful voices.
Thankful that, around here at least, drivers usually are diligent about stopping their cars for pedestrians in crosswalks.
Thankful for the community's outpouring of support for Henkle Middle School student Renee England, who is ill and undergoing medical treatment at Doernbecher Children's Hospital.
There is a lot to be thankful for. This is a good time to remember that we really do live in a slice of heaven here.