The world turned all too quickly and here we are back into the thick of the holiday season again. Thanksgiving comes in just a week, and there is much to be thankful for.
Here in White Salmon, for example, the world seems calm and peaceful. The leaves are beautifully golden and the weather has not been severe.
There is much more to give thanks for: Bingen's downtown renovations are mostly completed, and the city looks great. The Bingen-White Salmon Police Department is in line to finally get a new four-wheel drive vehicle in 2005, after what has turned into a 14-year wait.
We've just completed an election campaign that showed our residents are politically divided, yet overall there has been little nastiness. After the votes were counted, almost all of the political yard signs were respectfully removed, and not left to become roadside litter. Our local political races were mostly clean and issue-driven, and in the political advertising and debates there were no personal attacks. As we've all seen -- and especially on the national level -- that's not always the case, so it's something we can truly be thankful for here. After all, when the voting ends, we need to live together and work together in our communities and neighborhoods.
We need to find more common ground, because it is imperative that our citizens and leaders resolve the terrible problems facing the nation and the world, from war in the Middle East to global warming to an overwhelming national deficit. Progressive thinking is clearly required, and we won't accept passing the problems on for our children to deal with.
Thankful for our great local school system. Thankful the unemployment rate in the county has been dropping in recent months. Even the little things: We get to see the Detroit Lions play on Thanksgiving, our once-a-year glimpse of the old "hometown" team.
Then we can be thankful most of us get some holiday time off, and thankful at the same time that there are many who willingly work through the holidays for the greater good of our society: the police officers, the emergency medical personnel, the hospital workers, the soldiers who have been called away to battle in distant lands.
In issues large and small, we find much to be thankful for. As Thanksgiving 2004 arrives, it's a good time to take stock of our blessings. Chief among them: We live in a great community, in a wonderful region, in a proud land of endless promise and hope.