This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Wednesday, November 24, 1999

November 24, 1999 - Thanksgiving

Unlike most of America's holidays, which are driven by Hallmark cards and commercialism, Thanksgiving hits me where I live: give me a great dinner, the warmth of family and friends, and I'm a happy man.

Not only that, I like the IDEA of Thanksgiving. Many, perhaps most of us spend huge portions of our day whining. For instance (circle all that apply): Can you believe how that guy cut me off on the highway? My boss doesn't appreciate me. My children don't talk to me. Women: "after the age of 35, everything just DROPS." Men: "at least I have some hair and many of my teeth left."

After the death of my father a couple of years ago, I was particularly sensitive to what seemed to me deliberately negative energy. I have strong armor when I need it, but what got to me, what sapped my own strength, was pettiness, the unnecessary dig. I thought, "We all have troubles. Buck up! Be positive!"

But that period of my life has passed. And now I give about as much time to casual complaints as most of the folks I know. Whining is a kind of bitter humor, a way to keep ourselves entertained as the clock winds down.

Thanksgiving, though, gives us the opportunity to look around and realize just how good we've got it.

My family has shelter and clothing. And food.

My wife is a true companion -- our schedules permitting. Our children are healthy, happy, funny, and smart. I have at least some of my hair and teeth.

I have gathered up in my 45 years some deep, dear friendships that enrich my days and illuminate my insights.

I have the great fortune of working in a profession I care about passionately, whose premises -- of abiding respect for the dignity of individual inquiry, of confidentiality -- genuinely matter to me. Working in libraries has brought another great boon: the time to get to know at least some of the thoughtful, dedicated, and principled people who work with me. For instance, there's Cindy Murphy, who just left us last week, but is possibly the best schmoozer who ever lived.

I am thankful to have been involved these past six years or so with the local Rotary club, a group of service-minded men and women characterized by an utter lack of reverence for their leadership. I'd always heard that Rotary tended to be kind of stuffy. Not in Castle Rock. What impresses me most, though, is their continuing faith in our young people, both those brave souls we send out to act as our nation's ambassadors overseas, and those equally brave young "inbound" students we open our homes to FROM overseas. Rotary reinforces what remains for me a fundamental belief in humanity, that most of us are decent people with a ready handshake and smile.

I am thankful for books. I have been surrounded by them most of my life. Thanks to them, I have traveled to other places -- other worlds! -- and other times. I have conversed with some of the greatest minds of all human history. I have laughed at our foibles, wept over our tragedies, and tried, in the company of these beloved books, to glean a little wisdom.

The greatest wisdom of all just might be ... gratitude.

From all of us at the Douglas Public Library District, Happy Thanksgiving.

No comments:

Post a Comment