Now we are in that time between Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. A few days ago, we spent time offering thanks to those who served, or are serving, our country, and we here at the Branson Tri-Lakes News were honored to cover those events and stories. Now we turn to a more introspective time and give thanks for all we have in our own lives, whether that life is rich, modest or troubled.

    Most of us in the Tri-Lakes Area have so much to be thankful for. It’s a relatively peaceful, harmonious place with beautiful lakes, hills, forests and streams. If you like the outdoors, there’s a lot to do here, from hiking to biking to climbing, to the assortment of water-related activities.

    And golf, I suppose, but I don’t play golf, so I’ll let others be thankful for that.

    Are we perfect here in the Branson area? Of course not. Too many children grow up below the poverty level. Seasonal layoffs hit struggling families hard. Meth crimes are too common in our courts. Our politicians sometimes bicker in unproductive ways.

    But Branson, all things considered, is a very good place to live, and has been a great town in which to raise my children. I’m thankful for the relative peace of this area, for the relative safety, and for all the entertainment options.

    Something I often like to do this time of year is to reflect on the smaller items in life that add up to so much. We all know that we are thankful for our family, for our friendships, for our health, for being able to earn a living, for our freedoms. We know we are thankful for those things, and it’s good to express it.

    However, I like to point to the little things. The fun stuff. The spice that makes life complete. So here goes.

    I give thanks for:

•    The smell of coffee on a cold morning

•    Old black-and-white movies

•    Shoes that fit well

•    Being met at the front door by an enthusiastic dog.

•    Shade on a hot day

•    Corny jokes

•    Driving with the window down

•    Cotton fabric

•    Doughnuts (The food kind, not the driving kind)

•    I’m not sure this qualifies as a small thing, but I’m thankful for the 2015 Kansas City Royals. (The 2014 team, as well)

•    Cookies

•    Bruce Springsteen

•    The movies of Andrei Tarkovsky. (That’s my artsy, highfalutin listing)

•    Turkey with all the fixings

•    Hiking in the woods.

•    A good, dry red wine.

•    Warner Brothers cartoons (those would be the classic Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies)

•    Autumn

•    Books, and at the risk of sounding like an old fogey, I’m referring to books made of paper.

•    Lake Taneycomo blanketed with fog

•    Vincent Van Gogh

•    A conversation with a good friend over a meal with drinks

    I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

    So for the next few days, think about what you are thankful for, both big and small.  Don’t forget the small stuff. Many individuals like to post on Facebook a daily item to be thankful about. That’s OK, but it’s not really my thing.

    Until after Thanksgiving Day, Christmas can just wait. The Christmas season will have plenty of time after Thanksgiving. For now, concentrate on what makes you thankful. Maybe its the sound of a particular bird. The taste of a favorite candy bar from childhood. The sound of a specific person’s voice. The soft fur of a beloved pet.

    So everyone out there, have a happy Thanksgiving Day. And if you know someone who might need some help, or some company, I’m sure they’d be thankful if you could help them out. You might just thank yourself for it.

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