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Tom Finneran: What I am Thankful For

Friday, November 23, 2012


Tom Finneran, GoLocalWorcester MINDSETTERâ„¢

The holiday approaches swiftly, never leaving enough time to reflect on many wondrous things. Our lives are cluttered with work, family, friends, colleagues, responsibilities, and obligations.

Pause for a moment and consider this very special national holiday, for it is, in my opinion, right at the top of the list of our “secular” holidays.  As a Catholic, I hold Christmas and Easter as the most special of all days, truly holy days rather than holidays. After Christmas and Easter, I hold Memorial Day and Thanksgiving as having the first and second rank.

Memorial Day needs no elaboration from me, not today anyway. It is serene, somber, and quite sad to think of the sacrifice made by so few for so many. Walk the Allied cemeteries at Normandy, talk to a Gold Star mother, read the letters written by lonely and frightened soldiers just hoping to come home from some God-forsaken hellhole of war. Perhaps most appalling, look at the dates on the headstones of their graves; so many were eighteen, nineteen, twenty year old boys, their lives given for others. Consider these things and Memorial Day will never again be just a three day weekend marking the beginning of summer.

Thanksgiving triggers other thoughts, all appreciative, of our freedom of opportunity and the blessed abundance of America. Notwithstanding our country’s many concerns, there is no other nation in the recorded history of the world which can compare to the United States. Our heritage, our history, our freedoms, our generosity, and our prosperity mark us as a very special people and a very special place. And Thanksgiving, that uniquely American holiday, provides a very special pause from the daily pace of our lives. So take a deep breath and give thanks for life’s blessings.
My list is long, so here goes:

•    A happy marriage and healthy children
•    The joys of grandchildren, the more the merrier
•    Good health
•    The stimulus and satisfaction of work
•    Friends—friends from the neighborhood and local teams, and friends from work
•    Servicemen and women everywhere
•    First responders, police, fire, EMTs, teachers
•    Doctors, nurses, researchers, unlocking mysteries and doing God’s work
•    God’s chosen ones—priests, nuns, rabbis, ministers, imams
•    Our Constitution, particularly our Bill of Rights
•    Our political leaders, local, state, and federal, whose choices are tough and whose tasks are thankless
•    A good sermon, a good eulogy, a good wedding
•    Public libraries
•    Clean water, clean air, clean soil
•    Anything that I can grow in my garden---particularly tomatoes
•    Italian cooking
•    The cities of Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Rome, Paris, Sydney, and Hong Kong
•    State and national parks
•    Places like the YMCA and Boys and Girls Clubs
•    Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and their leaders
•    The amazing inventions we enjoy every day
•    Sunrises and sunsets
•    Great authors---McCullough, Caro, Churchill, Tuchman, et. al.
•    Music—country, classical, gospel, rock, Broadway
•    Movies and television shows, although I’m very picky
•    A day at the beach, if possible with grandchildren, or a day on the slopes with plenty of snow
•    The service academies of West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force
•    Boston Latin School
•    The colleges and universities of Massachusetts—totally awesome and the best in the world
•    The hospitals of Massachusetts—totally awesome and the best in the world
•    Cape Cod
•    Our four seasons
•    Baseball, basketball, football, and hockey
•    A free press and good reporters 
•    Abundant food, fresh milk, and a variety of vodkas
•    Mince pie
•    Zoos and aquariums and museums
•    A sunny corner, a comfortable chair, and a good book
•    Seed catalogs arriving during the snows of December and January
•    Beautiful buildings
•    Travel anywhere
•    Good penmanship
•    Almost any golf course and early tee-times
•    Did I mention grandchildren? They are the most singular joy of all the joys the world provides.

Count your blessings and thank your Lord. Hope you enjoyed the day. Happy Thanksgiving.


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