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Thanksgiving 2018

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

There’s a lot for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

None of who I am would be possible without the strong support of family and friends. I don’t often write about them in public and that’s by design. They are there, rock solid, behind the twists and turns of my days while sustaining a life in a turbulent world.

There are other thanks to give.

I am thankful for Social Security. Fifty years ago, when I made my first contributions, I did not like the deductions from my paycheck. I rationalized them by saying when I reach retirement age the program would be there for me. It lived up to that long ago promise. Whether Social Security will continue is uncertain. The band of grifters currently leading us in Washington wants to cut the program. The more extreme among them and their supporters would eliminate it entirely. I thank Franklin Delano Roosevelt for creating the program and for the many who have stood up for it over the years. I’ve worked hard during my life and because of Social Security we’ll be able to subsist as we age.

I am thankful to be a member of the Democratic Party. In Johnson County, Iowa we have a diverse membership. When we gather, as we did on Tuesday, the conversations are meaningful and our shared history relevant to our daily lives. Set aside the polarizing depiction of liberals by right wing organizations and media and we are plain folk working to live decent lives. I admit I do like organically grown turnips out of my garden. That’s hardly political as a right wing commentator recently suggested. My friends in the Democratic Party know that.

I am thankful to have good health. A co-worker at the home, farm and auto supply store told me yesterday I looked well-preserved. By that I hope he meant I looked younger than my age and not already partly embalmed. My longevity is more likely due to not smoking, drinking only a couple ounces of alcohol per month, avoiding most animal meat in my diet, and staying engaged in society. We never know when our lives might end. I am thankful to have made it thus far.

I am thankful to live in Iowa. Despite recent changes in our governance, how we live is so much better than being a slave in the Thai seafood industry, being a war refugee in the Middle East, being a climate refugee as deserts grow in Sub-Saharan Africa, or being a person without means living on the draw in Southwestern Virginia where my father’s family came up.  On our worst days an Iowan can have hope and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for the farming community to which I belong. My life in rural Iowa creates a lens through which I see the world more clearly. It ties me to the weather, land use, water quality, food production, and skills and techniques that make me a better gardener. My work with our home owners association and as a township trustee familiarized me with public drinking water, sewer and sanitation, emergency services, managing cemeteries, tax levies, and how people get along with each other. I’m in pretty deep and expect to remain so. Life would be less if I weren’t.

There are more thanks to give and before closing I thank my readers. Your views, likes and comments mean a lot. They encourage me to continue. Without a readership, a writer is little more than a dog barking at the moon. I’m thankful to have seen the full moon setting this morning, behind trees I planted two decades ago. Soon the sun will rise on another day and I want to be part of it.

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