A few pre-Thanksgiving notes

I wanted to take a little space here today to express my gratitude and thanks to all of the people who have worked on Amazing Stories, contributed content, insight and advice and who have given their time to the site, if only to read an article or two.

Tomorrow is the US national holiday of Thanksgiving, a well-meaning holiday originally inspired by a selected and edited version of the country’s history that has now largely come to represent a day when we eat too much, drowse in front of the national blood sport (which really ought to be hockey, but that’s a different story) and presumably manage to squeeze in a few minutes with family and close friends to remember that we’re actually thankful for what life has brought us.

Being grateful for friends and family is something that I am fortunate enough to experience every single day of the week.  Every morning when I sit down to publish the day’s content, I am reminded that it is possible for disparate individuals to come together in the name of something beyond themselves, to work together for no recompense other than the satisfaction of doing so.  And every day I am reminded that it would not be possible for me to sit down to publish those articles if it were not for the unstinting and uncritical support of my family.

Which brings me to a brief aside:  if you’ve noticed a few more typos than usual, a day or two when we’re not publishing as much as we typically do, my apologies.  Since pretty much the last quarter of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I have been dealing with family matters that manifest themselves as unanticipated interruptions in life’s daily cycle.  This has, at times, greatly affected my ability to edit & publish the site in the manner I’ve come to expect from myself.  I’m often distracted and, as the contributors here can attest, I sometimes overlook an article intended for publication, miss scheduled dates and can frequently not give things as much attention as I’d like to.  There are no guarantees when it comes to things like this, but I do expect my involvement in those family matters to diminish to a manageable level by the end of December of this year.  Of course, it’s family, so the future is always uncertain – which keeps things interesting.  But at least I have family and, if now is my time to step up, so be it.  It’s not as if others haven’t done the same for me.

In light of recent events here at home and globally (there have been quite a few of both), I find it hard to express a general thanks “for the bounty I’ve received”.  I’m am thankful, but I am also troubled, and cognizant of the sad fact that many have little, if anything to be thankful for these days.  It seems that whatever side of the political divide you occupy, there’s plenty to be pissed about, and little to be thankful for – on the macro plane.  But down on the personal level…

Earlier this week I happened to leave home about 15 minutes early to take care of some extra errands.  As I approached my car, I happened to look down the street where I saw one of my neighbors standing in the street in front of her house.  Mountains of thick black smoke were curling up under her porch roof before leaping skyward.  I called 911 (and was extremely annoyed by the senior moment I experienced when they asked me for the street name that I could not remember) and then I raced down the street to see what else I might do before the fire engines arrived.  The house in question is residence to 4 dogs and at least 6 cats, not to mention several children.

The animals were still in the house and you could hear some of them barking and meowing (not in pain I hasten to add, more calling out for help).  I tried getting in the front door; black smoke filled the house down to about six inches above floor level, so I crawled in.  It was pitch black inside and the smoke was so toxic that it was hard to breath even outside the house.  I then tried some windows and the side door to no avail.  I’d have taken more of a risk if I had been able to tell where the fire actually was (turned out it was inside a wall).

The fire department arrived and I left, spending a good couple of hours hacking out that nasty black smoke;  only a small part of the home is damaged and all but one of the animals survived.  All were rescued, unfortunately one kitten succumbed to  smoke inhalation.

Over the next couple of days, members of the family who had the fire made a point of seeking me out and thanking me;  a couple of the members of the fire department did as well, with words like “we’re just glad that we had a neighbor that…”.

It was no big deal.  I’d really like to think that I only did what anyone else would have done.

So, tomorrow, on Thanksgiving day, when I will hopefully be with members of my extended family (unless the snow keeps us away) I will ask that we spend a moment remembering that we need one another, need to look out for one another, need to step up for each other when it’s “our turn” and remember, above all, that life is not about the big issues that divide us, it’s really all about the little things that bring us together.

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