Ransom Notes

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I don’t know when they decided to put
Thanksgiving on a Thursday. It seems
such an odd day, especially if you don’t
have the Friday off. You eat like a crazy
person, and then you have to go to work
the next day, noticeably sluggish and
l

I don’t know when they decided to put Thanksgiving on a Thursday. It seems such an odd day, especially if you don’t have the Friday off. You eat like a crazy person, and then you have to go to work the next day, noticeably sluggish and laden with leftovers. Turkey sammich, anyone? But the Thanksgiving holiday is traditionally the beginning of the Christmas holiday season (though some people already have their lights up). It is the beginning of more than a month of celebration and reflection, culminating in Christmas and New Year’s Day and Kwanzaa. This year, lots of people are having trouble finding things to give thanks for. The national unemployment rate has topped 10 percent, and the state unemployment rate is over 11 percent. Since the jobless rate for Black people is routinely double the overall rate, and the rate for Black teens even higher, we can be sure that there are a lot of people who cannot be thankful about a job. Recent news also doesn’t spur thoughts of thankfulness either. Children are being killed in the streets, and the ones who are in the schools are fearing for their lives. Worse yet, only half of the Black students who start school in ninth grade finish 12th grade. That means they are relegated to having Thanksgiving celebrations that are meager, because they won’t have the kind of jobs that will get them the best paychecks. Not to mention that too many of those kids who are no longer in school are out because they are pregnant. But I’m willing to help. Despite the dour news, and the grey weather, and the forecast of snow, there are plenty of things to be thankful for. There, there was one. You almost missed it because you rarely think of it, but that breath you took, that was a good reason to be thankful. Not everyone is doing that today, at least not on their own. Got kids? Yeah, even that knucklehead who dropped out and stands in your refrigerator wondering what to eat, even though he’s eaten everything already, he’s something to be thankful for. He probably loves you even though he thinks you were never cool and never smart and always dressed funny. Got a roof over your head? Now, just because the recent rain may have exposed that roof as less than waterproof, you can lie your head down somewhere where the elements don’t keep you awake. The residents of Lower Wacker Drive using the hotel exhaust vents as heat are probably thankful that they have a dry blanket, or heavy-gauge plastic. You however, have a lock on your door. I found myself giving thanks for CTA. Now, I know they are planning to raise fares and cut service, but you’d be amazed at how well CTA stacks up against public transit in other cities. The trains are warm (though fumigation could help), and the heated areas at the train stops are so hot, they burn the top of your head. Of course, the temperature has been moderate (another reason to be thankful), so we’ll see how they perform in truly inclement weather. Got a spouse, or a significant other (or both)? Yeah, he’s opinionated, lazy, and sloppy and spends too much time at his job. But he will do anything for you (he just doesn’t know what to do until you tell him). Give thanks for him. He needs the encouragement. Yes, if rolling the eyes were an Olympic sport she would have several gold medals, but she loves you. She just wants you to be a better you. She never met a shoe sale she could turn down and you are clueless as to what constitutes a “cute” shoe, but she’s getting cute for you. Suck it up and give thanks. Mostly, though, give thanks because that’s what you are here for. You really have only two jobs in this life – love one another and give praise and thanks. Some of us fail miserably at that first job, but we get a whole day set aside – a Thursday no less – to do the other one. It isn’t the turkey, it isn’t the cranberry sauce and it isn’t the stuffing or sweet potato pie. It isn’t the family gatherings or the football games. It is the thanks that makes the holiday. Lou Ransom is executive editor of the Chicago Defender.

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