COLUMN: Giving thanks for blessings

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I watched a woman last Monday night, who I guessed to be in her 70s, sit down before a meal of two small hamburgers and fries. Before she dug into her supper, she offered a silent prayer and made the sign of the cross.

Her simple gesture reminded me that we all too often forget to give thanks for what we enjoy every day, whether it’s our health, family, friends or the food that sustains us.

I was taught to pray before meals, but good habits developed at home have a way of falling by the wayside later in life. I very seldom give thanks to God or others for what I eat, or devote much thought for who grew, packaged, shipped or prepared it. Harvest is a good time to give credit to the farmers who grow our food. Someone, somewhere grew the wheat or corn that went into the tortilla-like burger wrap I was eating. Someone cared for the steer or heifer that provided the meat. Someone stooped over to harvest the head of lettuce and planted and tended to the tomato.

Most of us with more than enough to eat and clothes to wear don’t know what it’s like to go without. When the temperatures got a little too cold this week, I simply turned on the furnace. How many hundreds of millions – maybe billions of people – don’t have that luxury? How many of them have to gather firewood to not only stay warm but to cook the food they and their families need? How many go cold?

The little lady making the sign of the cross instilled in me a reminder of the need to give thanks regularly, not only to God who makes all things grow, but to those who give us what we have. We forget there are people, most of whom who work far harder than me and who make less, who ensure I have food and clothing. Maybe we all need to think about those folks and their everyday struggles.

I sometimes think Thanksgiving comes too late in the year for southern Indiana. Most years, the harvest has already wrapped up as November comes to an end.

The farm-harvest season came early this year, many fields are already gleaned and with the drought, it appears to be late fall. Perhaps we need reminding that rejoicing at the harvest means giving thanks for the gentle reminders, big and small, God sends us.

To the small-framed lady eating the two hamburgers in McDonald’s, thank you for the reminder.

Canine Award

Congratulations to Derrick Lawalin, the canine officer at the Tell City Police Department, for his award from the American Police Canine Association. The News reported last week that Derrick and his canine partner, Jago, earned an award for uncommon valor. The award singled out their actions for putting a safe end to a pursuit.

Arriving just after the man slid his car into a ditch with police in pursuit, the man kept hitting the accelerator in an attempt to get away. The dog took a bite or two at the suspect, who gave up right away.

I was johnny on the spot when all of this happened, so I can vouch for the actions of officer and dog.

The award reflects well on Derrick and Jago, the Tell City Police Department and local law enforcement.