Thanksgiving is here, and we in this area have so much to be thankful for. “We the People” have so much to be thankful for in our area.
Our communities have public employees who truly care about residents. We have parks and recreation facilities that are second to none. Our schools — public, parochial, private — are excellent. Our children have access to the best of the best in education and athletics, if they choose to get involved.
Our area two- and four-year colleges and universities are as good as good gets. Their graduates don’t have to worry about jobs because in our area we have more openings for both skilled and unskilled workers than we have people to fill them.
We have hospitals, other medical facilities and clinics that are as good as any in the nation. Yes, there may be some long waits from time to time in emergency rooms where people are in pain and uncomfortable. But when the symptoms are life-threatening, there is absolutely no waiting — the professionals hop on you like fleas attacking a dog to attack to diagnose and treat the problem.
You have an emergency at home? Wham, there is an ambulance at your door before you can even say “ouch”! My personal experience in the back of ambulances is that while they could use a better suspension system … but the folks who are caring for you are the best of the best.
Have a fire? Cat up a tree? The best firefighters are on hand to protect life and property. Well-trained and friendly, those firemen make young single ladies go gaga. (I was going to use the word “lust” instead of “go gaga,” but my wife put the brakes on that.)
We have the best professionally trained and qualified city and county law enforcement in the country. Response times are outstanding. Given the fact that no department in this area has sufficient personnel, their responsiveness is awesome.
You will note that police use of weapons in our area is rare, unlike some parts of the country. That is because of the excellent training of officers, as well as the great police chiefs and sheriffs in our area. It is also because, unlike some other parts of the country, we are somewhat color blind.
Do we have to work on and improve race relations? You bet we do! But, having said that, we’re pretty accepting in our communities.
Our streets are clean in the summer and cleared in the winter. That’s no accident. Our civic night riders may not be seen, but those late-night city & county employees make it easy for us to get around.
Want public transportation? We have an excellent bus system, cab companies, Uber, rental bikes and even horse-drawn carriages on occasion. It’s easy to get around.
Heck, do you want to fly anywhere in the country? We have a modern airport with connections anywhere you could want to go. Plenty of parking, decent food and services provided — you can’t beat that, plus little to no waiting time. We take it for granted: Just park, check in and goooooo.
Amtrak goes right through our cities. Hence, we have the luxury of comfortable rail transportation while you enjoy the scenery? Want to travel and sightsee by bus. We have those options, too.
We live within minutes of the lakes, horse riding country and major cities with all their amenities. Drive, fly, bus, take a train …you can go anywhere.
There are many ways to give thanksgiving, but so often we ignore those things right under our noses.
Sometimes, you hear someone complain there’s nothing to do socially in Fargo-Moorhead. Those who say that are either uninformed or, usually, just too lazy to seek out the fun. Movies, bars, dancing, the arts, athletic events, plays, concerts, bowling, shooting ranges, ice skating, fair events, auto racing, horse racing … the list goes on and on. For most, the costs are minimal.
Our parks didn’t get that way by osmosis. Dedicated people keep our communities beautiful with their hard work, and it has certainly paid off.
We have radio stations to suit any taste — conservative, liberal. Our TV stations provide the best in news and entertainment. Our newspapers provide both hard and soft news on so many, many events and issues. We can complain about the media until the moon stops shining, but we’d be uninformed and bored without them. For the past year, we’ve all wished we could make certain individuals and stories disappear, and we’ve complained about all of them … but the media were just doing their jobs when they told us about them. We need what they provide.
We have places of worship for every possible kind of faith, something that certainly helps to keep a lid on racism, bigotry and hatred — for the most part. Many offer food and shelter to the homeless, as well as food and other resources to the underprivileged. For example, the Salvation Army is always helping those in need.
I’m sure I’ve left out things in our communities that you readers are thankful for. So, by royal authority, I hereby incorporate your thanks into my story, too.
In our communities, we have so much to be thankful for … notwithstanding the hate generated by the recent national election. Let’s concentrate on the good and stand up against the bad. We’ll be OK.
On another subject … I wish I’d stop reading and hearing about the demise of print news. I get up every morning looking for my paper. I can’t envision a world without print news, even though I live on my computer (when the damned thing is working). But getting information from my computer doesn’t compare with print.
Another reason for my not wanting to hear about the demise of the newspaper industry is that it must happen until the Moorhead Extra becomes the number-one paper in the area. As a wise man said, though, “Do not hold your breath for that to happen.” I think that might have been my friend, Colburn Hvidston III, who was head photographer for that other paper, or my other friend, editorial page editor Jack Zaleski. Either way, competition is good for the ego.
Last but not least, I give thanks that my Creator did not destroy mankind for the way it has treated its members during the last year. Keep the faith. There is much more good in this country, and in this area, than there is bad. Amen.