Happy Thanksgiving!

By Randy Bradford

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I love this time of year; the fall colors and the crisp clear evening air. I love turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce too, especially the day after Thanksgiving when I get a leftover turkey sandwich; so in the spirit of the upcoming holiday, I’m feeling convinced to write about some of what I am thankful for, not just as a hotelier in Oak Harbor, but also as a man, humbled by the many and surprising gifts that God provides for me and for each and every one of us living here on Whidbey Island, in these United States of America.

My ancestor, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colony, declared in 1621, a day of Thanksgiving celebrated with a feast to which were invited the local Wampanoag Indians as guests; repaying, in part, the kindness they’d shown to the settlers during the long harsh winter. Abraham Lincoln (not an ancestor of mine), amidst the carnage of the Civil War and looking for a way to unite the country, declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, and lasting through some squabbles during the Roosevelt years, it remains unsurpassed as one of our purest, most family oriented holidays (if one disregards football and the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, which apparently now starts the day after Halloween), whereby we take time to simply say “thanks” for our many blessings.

I am thankful for:

My family that remains ever faithful and loving to me.

My recliner, especially during the Super bowl.

My job at the Coachman Inn that provides for my family and allows me to meet many new people.

Ice-cream with chocolate sauce.

The beautiful scenery that surrounds us in Oak Harbor and on Whidbey Island.

The Navy, providing security for our nation and economic vitality for our community.

Fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy.

Apple pie, pumpkin pie -- let’s make that any pie.

My church that freely gives me support and love.

My favorite warm coat.

My God that comforts me and accepts me, just as I am.

DVD players and stereo surround sound in-home theaters; I hate going to the movies.

Friends that remain loyal or at least act as if they care about me.

Oak Harbor; what a great place to live, work, and play.

Chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven.

King-size beds; I’m 6-feet, 5-inches tall.

Hydro-massage therapy tables; my chiropractor has one and it’s wonderful!

My mother’s smile of approval and her roast beef.

This great nation that we live in, others want to live in, that we criticize, love, and love to hate; she takes it all and takes us all in, yet remains strong.

Clean drinking water.

Automatic car washes.

Our dogs that keep us entertained.

The home that I live in.

Oh! And, peanut butter.

This year, as you push back from the dining room table at your house on Thursday, and un-zip your pants-fly just a little to make some more room for dessert, take a moment to think about what you are thankful for. We have so much in this “Land of Plenty” and we don’t always take time to pause and remember that. We should, like our pilgrim forefathers, be thankful to others for the kindnesses they have shown us. We shouldn’t need a national holiday to make us realize how thankful we should be, but since Honest Abe gave us one, we should do just that; be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and may God bless. I guess it’s not always, all about me.

Randy Bradford is general manager of The Coachman Inn in Oak Harbor.

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