Thanksgiving snuck up on me


Thanksgiving really snuck up on me this year. Before I knew it, I was searching for the electric knife to prepare it for the annual turkey carving.

It was the usual plan for Thanksgiving this year – that means my wife’s family comes down from Wisconsin on Thursday, and then we have friends over the next morning for “Friendsgiving.” Friday is bloody Mary’s, mimosas and frittatas.

There is also my wife’s trivia game, which has become an annual tradition. Although this is her busy season for work, she spends hours at the computer putting together a game with multiple categories like place, event and person. It is always a hit – especially after a few adult beverages.

Thanksgiving is a time we all traditionally give thanks, of course, and there is so much to be thankful for. Family always comes to mind first for me. My beautiful wife gives me joy daily. I am so happy to have her in my life. My daughter Julie and my son Nick are a constant source of love and pride. Two college graduates now in careers and out in the world – one in Minnesota and one in Arizona.

Let’s face it – that is great for me. I can visit my daughter in Minnesota in the summer, and my son in Arizona in the winter. And yes, I plan on living long enough to become a real burden on them.

I am also very thankful for our friends. I have spent my adult life moving from state to state. That has meant incredible experiences I wouldn’t have had otherwise. But it has also meant not making a lot of long-lasting friendships.

But here we have many wonderful, close friends. We laugh together, ride motorcycles together, go to concerts together and even take trips together. And the funny thing is, two of the couples we are very close with live within a mile of us. Crazy.

I am sure most of you reading this have close friends, and you know how important they are. Keep those friendships alive – they are worth the effort.

I am thankful that people are not dying from COVID-19 in such large numbers anymore, but we are still losing some. A friend of mine died from it last month. It was a shock to us, and it is still hard to process. But I am glad to see more and more people taking this virus seriously and getting vaccinated against it.

I want us all to be around for a long time to enjoy this holiday with our families.

I am thankful that I have made it through another year without eating any raisins or lima beans. I am also happy to say that I also haven’t eaten liver in about five decades. So, there’s that to be thankful for.

I am thankful for another year of creating and playing music. Music has been an incredibly important part of my life for most of my life. Without it, I feel like colors wouldn’t be as vibrant and my life would be like an old black and white movie … and not a good one. It wouldn’t be “Citizen Kane.”

I am thankful that I am an American. We have had a very rough few years, and things are nowhere near normal now. But we are all still here, hanging on and hopeful for the future. I think if we can get back to putting our differences aside and working for a greater good, we will be fine. Let’s try to do that, OK?

I am simply thankful for another trip around the sun. Another day with family, friends, a career I continue to love, a house I adore, a town that really feels like home. I am extremely fortunate. Even the bad stuff really isn’t that bad.

Brad Jennings is the editor of the Ogle County Life.

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