This is always the best week of the year to stop, take a deep breath and reflect on taking stock of all our many blessings.
Tomorrow (Nov. 24th) is Thanksgiving.
With the covid-19 virus or its variants still raging around the globe, it IS NOT, quite the time to have all the friends and family over for a big meal. But many will do so, with, hopefully only minimal risk of an outbreak or illness.
Still, many of us will continue to shelter in place with minimal persons, for the sake of our health and the health of others. We all should take some quiet time, some down time and some time for reflection about this year -- and the future.
I usually write this column just days before Thanksgiving, but I did it a week ago, perhaps, only to still hold its words at arms-length, ensuring just where we are today, the day before Thanksgiving.
There is more, I am not afraid to say, more unchartered local and national waters of our own health ahead for all of us.
Yet there is a lot we should all be thankful for in 2021 and certainly as 2022 and the MidTerm election -- which are a full-on local and state battle in Arkansas -- is hiding, just around the corner.
This is a time, before the election filings, to perhaps ever so Thankful. I mean to be truly Thankful for men and women who serve nobly, effectively and for the good of all the people.
After this pandemic, I know good health really is a blessing, a real blessing. If you have good health, cling to it as long as you can.
As 2021 draws to a close, more than 600,000 American deaths can be directly attributed to this virus, and of those almost 9,000 Arkansans have died since March of 2020.
We need to be Thankful that others, among us, doctors, nurses and others who worked on the front lines of this pandemic, most survived, tired, angry and scared, but they survive.
We need to be Thankful to be living in the United States of America. Where else on this planet would you have as many freedoms, including the right to complain, to criticize this great nation of ours, without threat of retribution or being jailed?
As always, we all need to be Thankful to be living in Arkansas.
We should be Thankful for the natural beauty that surrounds us, although none of us created this landscape, we need to be truly Thankful there are those who are tirelessly working to keep the natural beauty, ever present, in our state.
Be Thankful for a free press, especially one without the trappings of hidden agendas, unfairness and government control. In these days of a declining print press, I feel extremely thankful to come to you each week in this award-winning, community driven and well-read and regarded newspaper publication.
I am Thankful for the legion of civic clubs, non-profit organizations and tireless volunteers that exist to serve others in so many ways in our communities.
I am Thankful that such public facilities, many were once shuttered but now back open to continue to serve the public, such as libraries, senior citizen centers, boys and girls clubs.
And we cannot forget in these uncertain times, the important job our public school system does in educating our children, both in-person classes and on-line virtual learning.
Despite many being closed to group worship, I am ever so Thankful for the plethora of churches, temples, synagogues and meeting houses of almost every religion, who continue to minister by reaching out, comforting and feeding many.
We need to be oh, so Thankful in this state, despite this virus, to have a Governor and a State Health Department that has been out front this pandemic since day one, protecting its citizens.
Be thankful everyone. Wear your mask. Stay socially distanced and if you still have not taken the vaccine, consider doing so soon.
Hopefully, a better year, a transition year of 2022, is just around the corner.
I am Thankful for that -- yes, I am.
-- Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at [email protected] The opinions expressed are those of the author.