Press-Republican

November 24, 2013

Giving thanks for family, veterans

By GORDIE LITTLE, Small Talk
Press-Republican

---- — Once again, I extend my sincere thanks to all those who take time to read my Little column contribution. Your comments are heartwarming and appreciated.

As we approach Thanksgiving with a happy collection of our family members planning to gather for the feast and fellowship, Kaye and I reflect on the long list of things for which we are grateful.

Our family and friends are near the top of the list. Good health and happiness all around us are also right up there. We’re blessed in so many ways. Living in this part of God’s country is a huge plus. Waking up early each morning on the bank of “our” Saranac River adds a delightful dimension in all seasons.

Readers who spend time on Facebook are aware of a recent game involving followers who list a specific number of things for which they are grateful. It is a welcome change from others who seem to be obsessed with griping and complaining about everything from the neighbor’s dogs to the potholes.

Kaye and I have survived the hills and valleys of life by clinging to optimism. We are not so naïve as to think every story ends with “And they all lived happily ever after.” But we cling to the hope that each new day brings new hope. 

We don our cloaks of light and love and always allow others to share them with us. Of course we have our pet peeves, but rather than sitting and stewing, we concentrate on ways we can contribute toward change for the better in our home, our neighborhood, our country and our world.

When Kaye and I were married almost 40 years ago, an amazing new chapter began for us. Those who know us best are aware that our life together is not a façade. What you see is what you get. We love each other and begin each day with a lingering kiss and hug. We say “I love you” many times between morning and night and mean it. 

It’s rare that families and people can be blended in such a way, and Thanksgiving is a fine opportunity to affirm our gratitude for what we have and who we are. With news on Halloween day that our list of great-grandchildren had blossomed to three dozen, we offered up that familiar prayer of thanks.

It always pleases us when we see young people who respect and honor their elders. As we grow older ourselves, this takes on a whole new meaning. Kaye’s brother, Alfred Vaughan Jr. was killed in action during World War II. His photograph is on our living room wall, and seldom does a day go by that we don’t look at it with thanks to the memory of that beautiful young man who made the supreme sacrifice for his country.

That brings me to the North Country Honor Flight and its expressed goal of giving every surviving World War II veteran the opportunity of traveling to the nation’s capital to view the monument dedicated to what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation.” I’ve seen firsthand the impact the experience has on every one of them. It’s been a privilege to chronicle the flights from this area since they began and to truly honor the veterans and to thank all those connected with the program here and across our great nation.

As we wax our snow shovels and tune up our snow blowers for the winter onslaught, it’s difficult for some of us to show gratitude to Mother Nature. We see the so-called snow birds heading south every day to warmer climes. Kaye and I love to take little getaways now and then, but we choose to face the elements and keep our backs strong by clearing the driveway and sidewalks. We also thank all the road crews who work hard on our behalf between now and the season that follows in a few months.

We thank all of you for your good thoughts about us and our world. Have a terrific Thanksgiving every day and please, drive carefully.

Gordie Little was for many years a well-known radio personality in the North Country and now hosts the “Our Little Corner” television program for Home Town Cable. Anyone with comments for him may send them to the newspaper or email him at gordandk@aol.com.