Editorial: Feeling grateful

Forget the rest of the world for the next day or two and consider the bounty we have all around us.
Colleague and columnist Greg Dennis did just that in his column this week, focusing on the “shared things” we have to be grateful for. Among many, there’s our abundance of outdoor recreation, tested but determined downtowns, a vibrant arts scene and community, businesses that serve us well, high quality medical care, a safety network to care for those in need, a savvy farm community that is trying its best to be good stewards of the land, and citizens more than willing to be involved in one good initiative and endeavor after another. 
To his list I would add a few personal reflections:
• Living on the shores of Lake Dunmore, and sometimes in a cabin in Stowe’s Nebraska Valley, there’s not a morning I wake up that I’m not grateful for the beauty around me. It’s stunning yet welcoming, excites me yet quiets the soul, challenges me but is rarely defeating. When biking the roads through Addison County’s farmland or gaps, running the trails of the Moosalamoo, sailing on Lake Champlain or skiing in the Greens, the landscape and beauty is accessible and intimate in ways not found on a grander scale. Like pure maple syrup warmed in a rough-hewn sugar shack, Vermont has a rugged charm — an under-appreciated trait in a world too focused on adrenaline-infused majesty.
• Community is the bread of our social lives, and if you try, you’ll be overwhelmed with opportunities to do good by and for others. It’s unique to small towns that almost anyone can make a big difference if they want to. Among those who do are citizens serving as board members to our schools, towns, churches and community organizations — heroes all, because without them community doesn’t work.
• Having raised three daughters in the Middlebury area, we’re fortunate to have schools with activities that create well-rounded and educated young men and women. Everything can be improved upon and the community should always strive for higher achievement, but at the end of the day our area schools overcome a lot of obstacles and the students who try, do well. That’s no easy task, and there’s much for which to be grateful.
• Nothing is as important as a community’s hospital when you need it, and Porter Hospital has been tops in my limited (thankfully) experience. Two of my daughters were born there, and now two of three grandchildren — the most recent just last week, and the care and experience each time has been beyond all expectations. 
• Finally, three aspects of life outweigh most others: family, friends and work. As for family, my three daughters, a son-in-law and wife all work with me at the Addison Independent, our two magazines (Vermont Sportsand Vermont Ski + Ride) and our newspapers in Brandon and the Killington-based Mountain Times, (and a brother and I have co-owned two papers in Essex and Colchester for over 25 years.) We all work hard and play hard together when we can, which is so much to be thankful for words can’t express. When we’re not working, wonderful friends add much richness and fun to our lives.
As for colleagues at work, and with whom I spend the bulk of my days, they are, and have been, the best. They are dedicated, talented, professional and tirelessly committed to accurately telling the ongoing stories of the county and the statewide issues that affect us. It is a Herculean task that they do so very well, and I’m forever grateful to be here with them.
That’s my short list. What’s yours? Send them to me at [email protected],or via the Addy Indy’s Facebook page — and a happy Thanksgiving to all.

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