As I take a deep breath and prepare for the last few weeks of 2020, and the holiday season, I realize many people may think we have little to be thankful for this year.
That would be easy to understand. The economy has been turned upside down. A lot of folks are out of work. Some businesses have closed for good. Florida’s unemployment compensation, as poor as it is, broke down at a critical time.
Many are still huddled together in their homes, afraid to go out except for essentials as the coronavirus continues to spread almost unabated in Florida. Some of you have likely lost a loved one to the disease or watched someone suffer through a recovery.
The pandemic has robbed us of opportunities to celebrate holidays and birthdays, kept us out of movie theaters, canceled live shows and, for a lot of us, canceled trips we had planned or visits to close friends and relatives.
Yes, no doubt 2020 will go down as not one of our best years. But I still find so much to be thankful for.
If you will, let me share, as I do every year, some of my reasons to be grateful:
• Of course, maybe the top reason to be grateful is I have not been infected with the coronavirus. Neither has any of my family. Every day we wake up with a cough or sniffles, it’s scary. But, so far, we’re all healthy.
• I’m thankful I live in a community that has so many people dedicated to helping others. During a tough year, people have stepped up financially and personally to try to help those less fortunate. We have two free clinics — Virginia B. Andes and Englewood Community Care Clinic — that have struggled with volunteers but have mostly managed to stay open and treat people who need medical care and who don’t have insurance.
• I’m thankful my car is still running good enough to get me to work despite its 389,000-plus miles. I can thank Boris Kaplan at Fast and Easy auto shop for that. He’s been my mechanic for 20 years.
• It’s great we have people like Dr. David Klein and his talented wife Stephanie who were the force behind the beautiful decorations at the Military Heritage Museum in Punta Gorda. That took some work.
• I am thankful to Liz, Dan, Robin and all the folks at Abbe’s Donuts — all three locations — for keeping me supplied.
• Also, thankful to my cardiologist, Dr. Bala Nandigam, who keeps me alive after eating all those doughnuts. I promise I am cutting down on the doughnuts. And exercising more.
• I have to give thanks to some special people who keep me spiritually grounded — and that has been more difficult in 2020. Credit for that goes to Garry Clark, pastor at Fellowship Church and Jessie Myers, a dear friend and man of faith who works at Teen Challenge in Fort Myers. And, even though he may not know it, to Phil Wilson who sets a great example for me.
• I must be grateful for a bunch of wonderful, dedicated people I work with at the Daily Sun. They get criticized seemingly every day, but they are committed to bringing you a fair account of what is going on in our community and they work hard at it.
• And, finally, as always I am grateful for my family who try to build me up after a tough day, who put up with my quirks and who give me reasons to want to hang around a few more years.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!