Jul 28, 2014

It's Almost Thanksgiving, But Just How Grateful Are We?

Oh, that wonderful time of the year once again to think about all we have.

It's Almost Thanksgiving, But Just How Grateful Are We?

It is that wonderful time of the year once again, that time when we start to be grateful, grateful for all that we have no matter how meager it may appear to some. And of course there is the old adage: ‘If you have your health, you have everything.’ I tried that line on a homeless person once. Can’t share her reply with you here but it was a substantial response, nothing spared in the translation.

Yet, it is true. Think of the people of renown and wealth who have left this life just in the last month – Jobs and Lauder, for two. So be thankful for your life. Be thankful that those you love are safe and sound especially in light of all that has come down in the last few weeks – killings galore on this continent and many others – natural disasters seemingly like never before – and the devastating cases of child molestation come to light.

We have a tendency in this country to show our gratefulness by giving, giving to charities especially. I can’t tell you how often I am drawn to donate to Saint Jude’s Hospital for Children when the spokesperson says: ‘Be grateful for the healthy children in your life’ – I’m there! Tell me some bad news and in a split second I can relate it to something good in my life. And, I am grateful.

So, with this thought in mind I’ve been thinkin’ that probably most people are like me and even when things are several points from 100 percent we can still give thanks for ‘something’. I watched the Penn State - Nebraska game last weekend at a bar in a restaurant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. My friend, Jim, told me when asked that the stadium at Penn State seats about 108,000. The place was packed.

Everyone at the stadium was aware of the situation unfolding. There were prayers; a solemn entrance by the players; and as announced at the end of the day – a collection was taken for the victims of molestation. The total raised by the end of the game was (re the TV announcer) $20,000. Apparently not that many people in attendance at this football game were grateful for the children in their lives that have remained unharmed. I figure at a buck a pop there should have been at least $100,000 in the kitty. Okay, just an observation.

Another observation periodically right here in our neck of the woods there will be fund raisers for a veteran who has returned from Iraq or Afghanistan minus an appendage or two, or three for that matter. The funds are usually raised to provide a handicapped home for the returning soldier and his/her family. You hear about these events all over the country. Who would not give to this cause? People also volunteer time and labor and expertise – what a gift they give. I think all of this is great and certainly as it should be.

Yet, I’ve been thinkin’, every elected politician from the president of this country to the council people in our local communities says at some point in their bid to be elected, “And let us never forget the sacrifices made by our young men and women who defend this country all over the world. We should be forever grateful.” YES!

Just how grateful are we? Grateful enough to see to it that there are tax dollars to setup each wounded hero with a home sufficient to meet the needs they now have because they were out there defending US! Mention of anything having to do with raising taxes is verboten I know but if my tax dollars have to go for something let it be this and not to lining the pockets of some sleazy politician who goes to his home state loaded with pork barrel goodies and in turn benefits monetarily in his next bid for re-election. Even so we should be willing to make some sacrifice, ya think?

And, lest there be those who will not part for any reason with their money, there are other options. Time, labor and expertise as listed above and (drum roll please) – BLOOD DONATIONS.

A sampling here of the excuses I have heard over the years I have run blood drives –‘My husband gives at the office so I don’t need to’; ‘I think I might get dizzy if I try to give blood’; ‘I was going to give but now I have to go into the city – there’s a sale at Saks’; ‘The kids have a soccer game’; ‘If I don’t wash the car Saturday morning, I just won’t get to it all weekend’; ‘Oh, was the blood drive last Saturday – I must have forgot all about it’;  ‘I was just about to come over when my cousin called from New Mexico, we hadn’t talked in months’; ‘Jeez, I meant to get over for that but I…I…I guess I didn’t get there’.  I’ve never met anyone who ever received a blood transfusion who was not (post transfusion) at the head of the line to donate if medically possible.  They are very grateful people.

Just how grateful are we? If there is something you can do this season to express how grateful you are, please, do it.  Give; share even if you just give a little dance, a little song – a smile.

Oh yeah, Happy Thanksgiving.

C.M. McLoughlin, a writer and editor from New Jersey and New York, can be reached at mcloughlin43@gmail.com.

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