Every year, many folks take to Facebook every day during November to point out things for which they are thankful. Apparently observing the optimistic comments of one woman, a local curmudgeon retorted: "What's there to be thankful for?" Her sensible response: "You're alive, aren't you?"

That may not be enough for some, but for those who have lost loved ones due to COVID, cancer, car crashes or other tragedies, life itself is plenty to be thankful for. And some would add that the hope of a better tomorrow is also worth a note of gratitude. Americans would be far better off if they would remember that.

It's easy to fall victim to cynicism, as anyone who remembers the days in the wake of 9/11 can attest. And on the political scene of the past six years, the same observation applies. It's hard for people of goodwill to wrap their heads around an impulse that would cause others they love to put their trust in high-profile people who seeth with hate, and whose overt displays of bigotry, ignorance, faithlessness, cowardice are tilting society toward anarchy. It's fair to ask if the country will ever turn the corner - and with COVID wreaking havoc, the question takes on a more urgent tone.

British comedy troupe Monty Python advised in a quirky song: "Always look on the bright side of life." Those who do are happier: less stressed and depressed, more loving and open, honest, and less likely to inflict harm on other human beings, their community, state and their country. It's worth a try.

Area residents continue to be infected with COVID-19, but thanks to the vaccine and prudent behavior, those numbers are stabilizing, and there have been no reported deaths in Cherokee County in over two weeks.

Prices on goods and services are higher, but in some areas, wages are on the rise, too. Inflation is painful for consumers, but it's also a sign of economic recovery. After the doldrums many companies suffered in 2020, they're trying to make up the difference.

Medical care and prescription drugs seem to spiral upward in cost, but with every new poll comes a growing recognition by Americans that health care - at least of the basic kind - is a right rather than a privilege, especially for people of faith who hew to the philosophy of "Love thy neighbor."

Many families worry about going hungry this Thanksgiving, but local nonprofit groups and churches are doing their best to make sure that doesn't happen. There are several avenues of relief that have been reported.

Making a list of sources of gratitude helps. It should include health care workers, teachers, business owners, community leaders, and pastors. It should include those who serve in roles that continue upholding the U.S. Constitution, and those who undertook the mission to protect and serve the people around them. It should include those who provide uplifting, enjoyable ventures for those who need it most. It should include those who, despite the challenges and the onslaught of hate from others who oppose them, persevere in what they've been called to do to move things forward.

Tahlequah has a vibrant downtown community. There are attractive parks, and not far away are Lake Tenkiller and the Illinois River. The landscape is beautiful, especially with the changing seasons. A growing list of diversions are being brought in by leaders who really care about their hometown. The schools are good, and teachers care about the kids. Almost everything one would need can be found here, and if not, someone is willing to find it.

There are plenty of wellsprings of gratitude to focus on, embrace, and acknowledge. This Thanksgiving, it would behoove all of us to remember that.

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