StephenVance 270I'm not exactly sure where the time has gone, but here we are with another Thanksgiving long weekend upon us.

Everybody has their own favourite time of year, and for me, autumn, and particularly around Thanksgiving, is mine. There is something special about the autumn transition with the leaves changing colour and then falling to the ground before the snowy season starts.

This time last year we were in the midst of a municipal election campaign, and this year as we look toward a weekend filled with turkey, family, and friends, we are in the midst of a federal election campaign, which will no doubt provide for some interesting Thanksgiving dinner conversations around tables across the country.

I'm thankful that I live in a country in which we are allowed to vote, a country in which we can freely criticize our governments without fear – not every inhabitant of this planet has such luxuries. We call them rights here in Canada, but I have expressed my thoughts on rights before, and while I don't think we truly have any 'rights' as, if they are granted by man, they can be taken away by man, but we do have many privileges here in Canada that I treasure, and the privilege to vote is one of the most important that we have.

Our country aside, I am very thankful to live in this little corner of it. Having bounced around this beautiful blue ball that we call home quite a bit in years past, in spite of visiting dozens of other countries, and having tromped all around much of North America, I haven't found any place else that I would rather lay my head at night. Not that this, or any, community is perfect, but this community checks virtually all of the boxes on my list of what is important in a place to call home.

I am thankful that there are residents of this community who will mobilize and speak out when an issue is important to them. I am thankful for those active citizens even when I disagree with them, because without residents willing to raise alarm bells or to rally the community when they see a problem we'd risk being a community that allows itself to be walked over by those who wield power.

I am also thankful to readers of this paper. Next month we will celebrate our 10th anniversary since launching as an online newspaper in November of 2009. From the beginning our readers have been active and engaged, and we've published hundreds upon hundreds of letters to the editor over the past decade that show just how engaged our readers are.

Obviously there are many things for which to be thankful, and I like to take the opportunity provided by the Thanksgiving weekend to remind myself that the stuff we can be thankful for typically outweighs the stuff that frustrates us, and that can be a good reminder to receive because it is very easy to become wrapped up in the world's problems while forgetting all of the things that make life worth living.

Most of our readers will gather together with family and friends this coming weekend, and there will be storytelling and laughter, interesting conversations, and of course there will be copious amounts of food to share, and for that I think we can all be very thankful. We don't have to go far beyond our own bubbles to find people in our community that are suffering financially, physically, mentally, and Thanksgiving is perhaps a good time to think of those around us who do suffer as any one of us could be suffering tomorrow.

So this weekend, set aside your frustrations, set aside politics, and instead focus on the things that make this life fascinating and fun – the serious stuff can wait until Tuesday.

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