When it comes to being thankful, my basket of gratitude is pretty near full.
I am thankful that for the third Thanksgiving in a row, we have a lake that is close to full. It wasn't but a few Thanksgivings ago that we were en route to one of the lowest levels on record.
I'm happy that there are leaves falling off the old maple tree in the front yard. That old girl has seen better days and I'm glad she produced a crop of leaves this year. I'm hoping she'll do it again next year.
I'm thankful for my step-dog, Buttons. In dog years, she is living on borrowed time. When it is my turn to take her outside, I'm happy to see her bound up the two steps leading to our front door. Sometimes, she has to think about it a little longer.
I'm thankful for neighbors who wave. Many times, I'm on my way somewhere and I see a hand go up. I like my neighbors and a good wave says a lot.
I'm thankful for people who return a smile. There are people who don't make eye contact and have a sour look on their face. Sometimes a friendly smile just makes you feel good.
I like people who are older than me. I work with a group of young people and sometimes I hear them describe me as "an older guy." Sometimes it feels good to see people who have a few years on me. I know I'll never catch them.
I'm thankful for the woman who asked for my driver's license when I cashed a check and blurted out "no way," suggesting that I could not have possibly passed the half-century mark.
I'm thankful for new and old friends who call just to see how I'm doing. I'm thankful for people who hug necks, place arms on your shoulders or have some other way of expressing their fondness for you.
Every year, I'm thankful for the foods we enjoy only at Thanksgiving, like sweet potato casseroles with pecans. I don't particularly like cranberry sauce, but seeing it is a sure sign of Thanksgiving.
I'm thankful for the words, "I love you." I get them from my wife, my daughter and even my sweet mother-in-law. I have a crusty old friend from Ohio who looks like the last guy who would say those words, but he does, and it feels good.
I'm thankful that people vote and we transfer power in our government without a military coup or a police action. I'm thankful for our new governor and am glad to call him a dear friend.
The list could go on and on, like starry nights when the stars in the sky seem to number in the millions, cold ice cream on a warm day or hot chocolate on a cold night. I'm thankful for hymns that make me cry and country songs that make me laugh.
I'm thankful for the memories of those who I miss at Thanksgiving, but equally thankful for the presence of those who will gather with us.
I hope it's a good one for you and that you have a basket full of gratitude of your own.
Harris Blackwood is a columnist for The Times. His column appears every week in Sunday Life.