By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Yes We Can

That seems to be the theme for a lot of people this week. It certainly was for me.

I thought about that as the Missus and I prepared our Thanksgiving dinner. In light of all the spikes, visiting the family for a big dinner was understandably canceled, so we opted to cook a turducken at home. Have you ever tried a turducken? They’re essentially a “Frankenstein Bird” of various meats (turkey, duck, chicken) all combined together for one delicious meal that sends you straight for a nap from the sheer amount of tryptophan involved.

I have… no regrets.

All in all, Thanksgiving was nice, though simple. With my first real day off in a while, I had time to think about the last few days while cutting potatoes and frying sausages. Yes, I cook, but don’t tell anyone.

Thanksgiving week is always a little challenging for me. It’s the week my mother passed away back in 1996. Since moving back, I’ve made a point to go out to the cemetery each year and catch up with her on the anniversary. She passed when I was 21. It’s been 24 years now, and with it comes the realization she’s been out of my life longer than she’s been in it. It weighed heavier on my mind this year.

But it’s the memories that keep her around. I tend to focus on the good times we had, and those early years she gave me. I suppose in a week themed around “giving thanks,” the word “gratitude” takes on a deeper meaning.

It’s been hard year, and it’s easy to forget our current “present” wasn’t always a daily thing. We tend to take the things in front of us for granted, and not enough time to appreciate what we actually have.

Maybe it’s the nature of this year, but I intentionally stopped to focus on the “haves.” My small family is still all accounted for, and we’re all still healthy. For me, that’s good enough until the next step reveals itself. I am looking forward to the day we have more solutions to this inconvenient and frustrating situation.

But I admit that as the result of this year, my priorities have shifted. We all have some sort of “bucket list” that we keep, those “must do” plans we have for our lives. When we get our current situation under better control, and travel is deemed safe again, I plan to shift those “It would be nice to do that” moments into “I plan to do that by (this time).” This pandemic age won’t last forever, but it’s made me realize the value of concrete goals.

I am definitely looking towards the future, but I am grateful for what is presently my “now.” Stopping to remind myself of that (and taking a moment to breathe) has kept me going.

On a final note, can you believe the Gazette is nearing three months? I’ve been grateful for this experience. It’s kept me connected to the community I grew up in and am a part of once more.

For reader transparency, the site’s “Great Move” didn’t happen as planned. There were a handful of behind the scenes technical issues that prevented the “bigger, better” version from launching this week, but we’re already plotting out an alternate direction to get where we want to. I’d rather maintain what has been working than deal with a broken site for any number of days. I refuse to present a low quality product.

“Didn’t go as planned” indeed, but like the rest of this year, one step at a time.

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