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Guest column submitted by David Warren–
As an empty nester with family members either too distant to visit or who are now gone, it was difficult to find meaning for Thanksgiving. I awoke to view news that we seem to have forgotten the meaning of the holiday and civility.
After briefly watching the news, I turned to other television channels only to find a barrage of advertisements attempting to coerce us to shop as soon as possible. I turned to the cable music channel to listen to the sounds of the season, yearning for a Saturday Evening Post Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, knowing that such family times are likely long gone for too many of us.
My wife, for whom I am always grateful chose to marry me, asked me to go for groceries again, for the one thing “that I forgot” to purchase. As I drove to the store, even with the potholes that we have in our streets, I realized the streets are in better condition than those in the adjacent unincorporated areas and enjoyed the knowledge that our police department responds timely to requests for service.
I have observed ignorant individuals telling people speaking Spanish that if they do not speak English, they should go back to where they came from and leave Citrus Heights to real Americans. I remembered reading threatening mail addressed to a Hindu individual if they did not leave Citrus Heights, and having my Kippah knocked off my head by ignorant teenagers threatening me because they thought I was a Muslim.
As I sat brooding over a mug of tea, the rain clouds parted and the sun broke through. At that moment, I realized that my cup is half full, not half empty.
Our community for the first time in twenty years has elected a member to the City Council who was likely a teenager when the city was incorporated. Despite municipal political acrimony, the city staff, i.e., police, planning, municipal services, etc., continue to respond to each resident’s questions and requests, whether we like the answer(s) or not. I remembered the too many unnecessary gun deaths.
When I sat down to prepare this submission to The Sentinel, although there is a need for commentary over the city’s recent decision to obtain a multi-million-dollar line of credit, there was something much more important to say. So, to each of you, I share these paraphrased thoughts of others which are not repeated enough.
Be thankful for your tax bill, because it means that you have an income.
Be thankful for the clothing that fits a little too snugly because it means that you have enough to eat.
Be thankful for the sun in your eyes, causing you to squint and tear because that means that you can see.
Be thankful that your windows need cleaning because that means you have a home to live in.
Be thankful for the mess to clean after a holiday gathering because it means that you are surrounded by friends and family.
Be thankful for the complaining you hear about the government and the media because it means you have freedom of speech.
Be thankful for the space you find at the far end of the parking lot because it means that you are capable of walking and will get some exercise.
Be thankful for hearing the woman who sits behind you in worship singing off-key because it means that you can hear.
Be thankful for piles of laundry and ironing because it means that you have clothes to wear.
Be thankful for the stream messages arriving through multiple devices because it means that people are thinking of you and opportunities are coming your way.
Be thankful for what a friend, a Holocaust survivor, called “the magic of a boring evening at home,” because it means that you are blessed with security, rest, companions and choices.
Be thankful for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because they mean that you have been active and, hopefully, productive.
Be thankful that every morning when you awake, your spouse is by your side.
Be thankful for the alarm that goes off in the morning because it means that G-d has given you another day of life.
At the last council meeting, the plans for the municipal “holiday” celebration were discussed with gusto and joy. What was forgotten during that discussion is a reminder from our municipal leaders that our community is a tapestry of cultures and holiday celebrations, and that we should all respect and participate with those different celebrations with the same gusto and joy.
As we prepare for the end of the year celebrations, if you see mistreatment of any member of the community, do not remain silent. Instead, remember that “You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.”
David Warren is a Citrus Heights resident and legislative advocate at the State Capitol with Taxpayers for Public Safety. He can be reached at David@forpublicsafety.com.
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