“Smile, things can always be worse.”
Those words, memorably uttered by my Roman history professor back in college, have come to be as close to a motto as anything for me in life.
It may not be the most effusive bit of optimism, but it’s optimism nonetheless. Where I go, whatever I do and whatever happens along the way, I know that there’s plenty going right for me at any given time — and that right there is reason to give thanks.
I give thanks for my wife, who has accumulated far too many reasons to mention as to why she is first and foremost on this list. It suffices to say she puts up with me on a daily basis — and that’s more than anyone should be asked to do.
I’m thankful for the monotony of most mornings — trudging downstairs, putting on the coffee and feeding the animals before moving on to reading the overnight news. More often than not, it’s fairly mundane: The usual problems in the Middle East, the usual rhetoric in Washington, D.C, and the usual blather out of Hollywood.
Some mornings, the problems are closer to home — like they were after the Aurora theater shooting, or the many wildfires that turned homes — and the hopes and dreams of hundreds of Colorado families — into tinderboxes. Those mornings
I give thanks for semi-trucks that stay in the right lane along Highway 85, a caravan of hulking, languid 18-wheelers for me to breeze past in my relatively tiny sedan en route to work. I also give thanks for our law enforcement in turning a blind eye toward my horrible case of lead foot that flares up, especially when I’m jockeying to beat the train at Bridge Street in Brighton.
I’m thankful to have one of the better jobs in this world — editor of a community newspaper. For all the doom and gloom proclaimed over the state of putting ink on paper, I’m reminded of Pulitzer-winning newspaper editor William Allen White’s words: “Of course as long as man lives someone will have to fill the herald’s place. Someone will have to do the bellringer’s work. Someone will have to tell the story of the day’s news and the year’s happenings.”
I’m even more thankful for the people who work alongside me to make this newspaper a reality each week. They spend their days calling sources, taking phone calls, working with clients, designing ads and putting a lot of effort into any given work week. Some of them get their name credited on big, front-page photos, others are relegated to a mere mention on our masthead — but all of them equally care about the position they have in serving the community in the way a newspaper does. I couldn’t do my job without them.
I give thanks for the readers and community members who have welcomed me in the past six months. Getting to know you and your stories is part of what I’m paid to do, but it’s a soul-enriching act. Too many people these days are content to just sit behind their desks or spew vitriol via anonymous comment boards or blogs. They don’t get a full sense for day-to-day life, nor do they gain an appreciation for the diversity of people and ideas that make a community.
I’m thankful for cool breezes in summertime, but I’m even more thankful for the snow in winter. I’m most thankful for the snow when it decides to fall when the Broncos are being watched by a national television audience, planting the seed in millions of potential vacationers’ minds to come and spend their money in Colorado.
I give thanks for that little sedan of mine, the odometer clicking further from 100,000 miles and closer to 200,000 each day. It has seen me through countless snowy, rainy and icy drives during Colorado’s winters. This winter may be the last before I trade it in for a newer model equipped with fewer headaches and hiccups to address.
The list goes on: Good Mexican food, low humidity, the irony of the “cool,” ex-brewery-owning governor having to disavow a ballot measure that decriminalizes marijuana — they all make life better in my book and all the easier to say that yes, things could be a lot worse.