Baxter Black: Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S.A. Canada had theirs in October. Good neighbors, we are. It is something both countries can be thankful for. Either one of us could have moved in, only to find North Korea or Syria lived next door.

Our countries are blessed. North America’s a pretty good neighborhood. We have big backyards full of timber, pasture, minerals and oil. We have flowerbeds with fertile soil growing corn and rice and peaches.

We’re good mechanics, electricians, cowboys, baseball players, teachers and students. Naysayers deride our education system, but look around. Who graduated all those dunces that are winning the Nobel prizes, leading the free world and feeding the starving from Somalia to Cuba?

Need something more to be thankful for? How ‘bout the Bill of Rights. It and subsequent amendments guarantee our rights to speak, preach, own guns, vote, have our privacy and be treated equally regardless if we’re rich or poor, immigrant or Indian, socialist or libertarian.

We have a Constitution that protects us from our government. A pretty profound concept. It’s as if the writers could predict the Stalins, Hitlers, Kim Jong Uns and penny ante politicians would get in office.

Closer to home, those of us who belong to the land can count our blessings daily. We turn the earth and raise our livestock knowing in the recesses of our brain that we are an essential cog in the wheel of life. Our daily battles often obscure the contribution we make to mankind.

When we have to replant our wheat or treat a sick calf we give no thought that what we produce might wind up in a refugee camp in Ethiopia or a lunchbox in the oilfields of the North Sea. We’re thankful we can pay the interest on the note, but somewhere, someone is thankful that their children got to eat.

And if we’re lucky we can sit down to this Thanksgiving meal surrounded by family and friends. We can look across the table brimming with turkey, dressing, ham, prime rib, gravy, sweet potatoes, creamed onions, punkin pie and cranberries. Bounty of our own making.

It is a quirk of fate that we live where we live and do what we do. It is true we can always find something to complain about that detracts from our blessings. But sometimes it is wise to look at our lives in the context of the whole world. That’s what Thanksgiving day is for. It comes once a year just to remind us how fortunate we really are.