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Column: Thankful for the simple joys

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opinion Worthington, 56187
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

For 10 years, the St. Paul Pioneer Press has published listings of things for which first-graders in that city are thankful. Appearing in conjunction with the Thanksgiving holiday, some of this year's samples are precious -- for example, more than one thanked a mom and dad for taking care of them. Some are a little heartbreaking; one boy was thankful for his mom because his dad wasn't around anymore. And many, of course, brought smiles and outright laughter, as kids offered their gratitude for everything from toys to favorite food to, in one case, the toilet.

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As Turkey Day -- the national holiday, and not simply Worthington's extravaganza -- approaches, I am mindful that I, too, have much for which to be thankful.

It's easy for me -- and, I imagine, for many -- to get so lost in the day-to-day busy-ness of life that taking stock of life's simple rewards is neglected. And it can be so easy to dwell on the negative -- work stresses, conflict with a family member or friend, you name it -- that the joys are forgotten or reduced to small anecdotal tidbits.

On Sunday afternoon, my second-grade daughter and I went to Chautauqua Park and played together for a few minutes before deciding to go for a walk along Lake Avenue. Her holding my hand on that walk, while talking all the while, was a very special highlight of the day, as was playing one-on-one with my son earlier that same morning (How can one not be touched by a child pausing in the middle of a role-playing game and saying, "I love you, Daddy"?). And, after the kids were in bed that same night, there was precious time to relax with my wife.

When it comes to giving thanks, family has to top the list.

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