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On This Particular Thanksgiving ...


In my line of work, there are surely too few occasions to write about the positive. While I genuinely believe it is of great importance to shine a light on the problems we face and remind people that we cannot just bury our heads in the Florida sand, it's also nice to point out the beauty and splendor that surrounds us, much of which can too easily go unnoticed in our hectic day-to-day lives. This Thanksgiving I'd like to recognize a few of the things for which I am grateful.

For starters, I'm thankful for the opportunity to write this column – to have a platform to share my thoughts and an opportunity to help inform the public opinion. I'm thankful to be in the employ of a great publisher and the sort of independent publication that has become too uncommon in today's media landscape. While many of my colleagues are continuously stifled by the tangled interests of corporate media, I have the freedom to call them like I see them, something that should go without saying, but nonetheless remains a precious rarity in modern journalism.

I am also thankful that I get to practice my craft in a deeply-engaged community that has given TBT one of one of the most diverse, informed and committed readerships one could ever hope for. The Manatee-Sarasota area is home to a veritable cornucopia of retired intellectuals of every imaginable career field and political stripe, as well as a population of locals who are hyper-passionate about the welfare of this wondrous community. The sense that every environmental, economic, social, cultural and quality of life issue is related to a place of such unimaginable splendor adds a sense significance that compounds my love for what I do immensely and surely blesses my work with an added degree of passion.

Though the challenges we face today – locally, nationally and globally – are among the most serious in mankind's history, there is rare privilege in having a voice in which to discuss possible solutions to such monumental problems. We do indeed live in interesting times and there is no better environment from which to construct work of true meaning. While it is often too easy to find despair amid such difficulties, it also makes evidence of hope all the more precious. I am grateful for the privilege of experiencing this critical era firsthand.

I am thankful for a diverse circle of close friends who I have been fortunate to share special bonds with, while comforting each other with the knowledge that each is there for the other – thick and thin, rich and poor, good times and bad. The material pleasures of this world have never drawn much of my interest, but having special people with whom to enjoy the laughter, take in the beauty, to taste the food, hear the song and drink the wine – that goes a long way toward a live worth living.

My family has lost many loved ones in recent times, but today I am immensely thankful for having two living parents who still manage to tolerate me after 38 years; that we visit and speak often and that there have been no kind words which have gone unsaid between us. I am thankful for my wonderful sisters and the relationships that we continue to share, the beautiful nieces and nephews they have given me and for a great, big extended family of siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins who I am fortunate to be spending this Thanksgiving Day with – all fine human beings who I am proud to claim as kin.

Most of all, I am thankful for the wonderful 9-year old son who is spending this day at my side; the most loving and kind-hearted child I have ever known and the greatest gift this world could have ever blessed me with. He has been my best friend and a true partner in this life, one that I will never feel as though I deserve, but always treat as though I wish to earn. There is no pleasure like his company and I am forever in his debt for the meaning he has conferred unto my existence.

These may not be the best of times as far as the Great American Story goes, but they are surely not the worst. There are undoubtedly many among us who are facing great challenges and hardships and will find it difficult to discover the joy that is supposed to accompany this special day. Let us offer them our compassion and whatever helping hand we might be able to extend. Let us connect with our fellow human beings in a meaningful way and if nothing else, let us give our collective thanks for just being here today with any and all of the things that give us comfort in this life. Happy Thanksgiving. 

Dennis Maley's column appears every Thursday and Sunday in The Bradenton Times. He can be reached at dennis.maley@thebradentontimes.com. Click here to visit his column archive. Click here to go to his bio page. You can also follow Dennis on Facebook.


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