Thanksgiving 2021: Be Grateful for the Refuse Workers – and Many Others

What is not to like about Thanksgiving? It’s really my favorite holiday. As those who know me well can attest, I love eating and drinking. Meal planning and cooking are great pleasures. Gathering family - and those virtual family members - sometimes requires a measure of diplomacy, but it’s almost always worth the effort. But what I like best about Thanksgiving is the clear message of the holiday: Gratitude.


Most of us have much for which to be grateful, but it’s easy to forget. There is always something to distract us from appreciation. We get so wrapped up in our own issues and concerns we can lose sight of how fortunate we are.


Recently, I’ve gotten a good example of expressing gratitude. My wife and I are in transition right now. We sold the house in which we lived for 23 years. We’ve bought another one, but right now we’re renting a house near our old one. Every Monday, the city picks up the trash. When I am walking the dog or going to work, I have noticed a funny phenomenon. As the garbage truck comes down the street, it honks its horn a couple of houses away from mine. Across the street is a family with three children, ages two to six. The mom and kids come out to greet the garbage men. The two-year-old boy is especially enthusiastic. The garbage men seem to like it too. Their response is reciprocal. There’s a moment of happy banter and then they go about their business.


If you think about it a minute, the people who pick up our garbage are ones for whom we should all be very grateful. Without them, we’d be in a real mess, literally. My neighbors seem to understand that and good for them.


This Thanksgiving, enjoy your turkey. Make sure, however, to think about and thank others, especially to those who go unnoticed or who we take for granted. So many do so much for all of us. We should be very thankful.

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