Taking Note of What We Have

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is next week. I’m Zulah Talmadge with The Shady Pines Gazette news. I don’t know about you, but I can’t seem to keep track of what day it is anymore. Because it has been such an unusual year, we’ve been kicking around ideas here in the news office about how to cover the holiday. We want to do something diferent this Thanksgiving.

We’ve been asking our neighbors to write a thank you note of sorts and let us know what they’re grateful for in 2020. They can send an actual note by mail, or just send an email to this address and you can do the same: https://shadypinesstorytown.com/contact

Our Neighbors Share Their Stories

Let me read some of the ones we’ve already received. This one really got to me. It’s from 7 year old, Ray Robinson. Here’s what he had to say. “This holiday I’m glad my dad was promoted. He’s a Lieutenant now. Best of all, he and his unit will be home in time for Christmas! Mom and I have had a really hard year with him being away. But now she’s happy and I’m glad. Plus, I got a lot of time to play with Boomer and Halley. I liked that, too. Signed, Ray.”

Zulah takes a tissue and dabs her eyes. “See what I mean? That young man is so kind. He’s like so many kids in town whose parents are serving our country and can’t be home for the holidays. We salute each and every one of them.”

Zulah pulls herself together and opens another email. “This one comes from our very own mayor, Beauregard P. Fibbs. Let’s see what ‘ole Beau has to say, shall we?”

Zulah opens the email with the official title, Mayor of Shady Pines, right there on top. Zulah thinks to herself, I can hear him clearing his throat before he wrote this. He does that before every speech.

“I believe I speak for many of the citizens of our wonderful town when I say this year we’ve had to pull together like never before. I have been so impressed and so grateful for the many acts of kindness I’ve seen. People have stepped up and stepped in to help individuals and families who have fallen sick because of the coronavirus. Our neighbors have pitched in to help local businesses struggling to survive this pandemic. Never before have I been so moved by the courage and selflessness I’ve witnessed first hand. In this time of Thanksgiving, let’s remember what we have, and what we still need to do, to make Shady Pines the very best place to live.”

Zulah takes a moment to collect her thoughts. She’s known Beau most of her life. They grew up together. She can’t remember when she’s heard him speak from the heart like that. “Wow. Good for you, Mr. Mayor,” she says softly.

Next, Zulah opens up an email from Harold and Edna Sanders. Harold’s Nuts ‘N Bolts hardware on Main Street is such a gathering spot with it’s soda fountain smack in the middle of the store. And Edna’s Kitchen off the back of their home is the place to stop in and see what new recipe she’s cooking up for the neighbors.

“Edna and I are so thankful for all the blessings we’ve experienced this year. We’ve been able to stay healthy, which is the most important thing. The store is still going strong despite the pandemic. Harold, we need to mention that Boomer and Halley are doing well, too. And by wearing a mask and staying socially distant, we’ve all been able to help out down at the Shady Pines Community Center with the food drives. Edna, you’re so right. This Thanksgiving we send our best wishes from our household to yours and hope all of us can be back together very soon!”

Zulah finds herself nodding her head as she reads the email from Harold and Edna. It’s so true. We all have had to alter our way of doing things this year, but that didn’t slow people down from doing good work. The food drives continue even as I write this article.

The Can-Do Attitude That Helps Us All

Next up is Kim Dunworthy. Our young postal worker had a challenging year, that’s for sure. With changes made to the U.S. Post Office system and a presidential election that had more people mailing in votes than ever before, Kim has had her hands full. I’ve seen her so tired some days she could barely wave to me. But still she keeps going knowing people depend on her. Their letters and packages are her highest priority.

“I am so very grateful for the faith and trust the folks in Shady Pines have placed in me. I may be fairly new but everyone here is so friendly and treats me like one of their own. This year has been tough on all of us. At the post office we had to overcome obstacles we never saw coming. Who knew at the first of the year we’d all be dealing with a pandemic? I am thankful this holiday for the friends I’ve met, the kind and caring people who go out of their way to help, and the ‘never give up’ attitude all of my co-workers have shown. My very best to you all!”

Zulah pushes her desk chair back, stand up and takes a deep breath. “I knew that I would probably read some sweet thank-filled notes from the wonderful people who live here. I wasn’t prepared for how emotional I would feel after hearing their thoughtful and heartfelt messages. I think I have to take a little break before I read the rest.”

But let me leave you, dear reader, with this thought. As tough as the blows of 2020 have been, the countless examples of the resiliece of the human spirit have been on display as well. Keep your loved ones close, celebrate the good when you can and give thanks for the front line workers doing all they can to battle this horrible virus on our behalf.

From Shady Pines Story Town,

Happy Thanksgiving!

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