Giving thanks for family and opportunities made possible

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family gathered around Thanksgiving table

On this day of Thanksgiving I am thankful for the opportunity to gather my family around a table of plenty. Not just of food, which is certainly more than ample, but of love, warmth and fellowship.

Giving thanks

As parents and grandparents Dianne and I look forward to the sharing this annual holiday more than any other day of the year. We hold our brood in our hearts as our most important accomplishment as a married couple and on this day each year we are sure to remind each one at our table that family is first.

Freedom

And that as Americans we are so blessed with abundance, freedom, and opportunity that it is actually hard to list things in any sensible order. Of course we are thankful for the freedom to worship, to be free, to express ourselves without fear and to go about our daily lives in relative safety. Indeed, we are so very fortunate to live in this country.

Yes, even with so many wrongs to complain harp about, our world is filled with so many more rights than wrongs. We are so very fortunate.

Health

We can be thankful for our health and when it fails us for the skills and depth of our medical community which helps us overcome ill health. And for the freedom to pray when even the most skilled professional can do no more. But it is the little things that need to be mentioned, the things most often taken for granted.

Privilege

The things which are often thought of as rights when in fact they are more a privilege than anything else. Things such as the ability to go anywhere in the country without question or concern.

The opportunity to visit great places, cities, museums, national monuments, national and state parks. To boat, canoe, fish and swim in nearly any body of water. To hike and camp in vast wilderness areas, to hunt on private land and many public areas as well.

Opportunities

We just have to be thankful for the opportunity to become educated, to attend a ball game, to watch a parade, to attend and add our voice at council or trustee meeting, to elect officials and to un-elect others, to belong to organizations and clubs, to bowl after work in the winter and shoot trap at a gun club in the summer, to have clean water to drink, to have firefighters on call and a police force ready to help and a place to volunteer one’s time and talent.

Sacrifice

And on every day, especially this day, we must be thankful for the sacrifice of so many in the military who serve and sacrifice to keep our world a better place.

So hold hands this fine autumn day and be thankful for all that we enjoy, including that big bird in the center of the table.

Remembering the past

And lastly, look to that empty chair at the table and remember out loud the wonderful Thanksgivings once shared with the elders who are now gone. They created these family and friend gatherings — the traditions we continue to enjoy.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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