Talk Story


Thursday, November 22, 2001

Thanksgiving 2001
isn’t one that I will
take for granted

SINCE today is Talk Story's first Thanksgiving, readers will have to endure a list of things I'm thankful for -- every newspaper columnist gets to do one of these at least once, right? Thanks.

This has been an unusually tough year. There will be many empty chairs at American tables, including ours. A heart attack took my brother-in-law and a hit-and-run driver ran down my wife's aunt while she was vacationing in Florida. A neighbor passed away last Sunday and our dear friend and colleague Bud Smyser died in March.

Thousands will be missing in New York and New Jersey, but no one is spared, not even in paradise. I'm more thankful than ever for all the survivors who will make it to the table to celebrate this year.

I appreciate my Star-Bulletin coworkers, those who hung together for two years while the newspaper was on the verge of closing and those who have joined us since new ownership gave it a new lease on life. I'm thankful for their talents and spirit and for the fact that they voted unanimously for deeper pay cuts to avoid newsroom layoffs after Sept. 11's business downturn.

I'm thankful for this week's beautiful, calm Kona weather that gave my jaded eyes a fresh look at Hawaii's splendor.

I'll give thanks for Dr. Atkins' low-carbohydrate diet, which sends a smaller me to the table and which I intend to go off of totally this Turkey Day. Sorry, Doc. Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes just isn't Thanksgiving.

I'm grateful for the simple things that make my simple days: The chip shot that goes in the hole, the cat that rubs against my leg, the team that wins the big game, the improbably huge and gorgeous bloom on the hibiscus bush.

None of those things had to happen but they did. When the world seems to be upside-down they give me a glimpse of better days ahead.

I am thankful for the many kindnesses of strangers and for their competence.

For example, I'm thankful for the guys at the body shop who did such a great job fixing my car after I was rear-ended on Kalanianaole Highway, for the insurance company that paid for it without a hassle and the car rental company that upgraded me to a bigger car to drive while the work was done.

The whole experience was rife with opportunities for misery that never happened. Mahalo.

Yes, I'm grateful for those who have gone into harm's way on our country's behalf. My generation and my father's each took its turn and I'm thankful a new, better-trained and better-equipped generation is stepping up to the challenge.

Finally, I'm thankful for our new niece, Charlie, born Monday morning.

She'll enjoy her first Thanksgiving at the age of three days and forever associate a national holiday with her birthday.

With that, I give readers something to be thankful for -- a short column.

John Flanagan is the Star-Bulletin's contributing editor.
He can be reached at:

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