love thanksgiving. I love gratitude. This is our 17th year of hosting dinner, and I look forward all year to this day, this meal. 

After preparing over a dozen side dishes, grilling a turkey (or three), making pies, cleaning under the refrigerator and making sure every room is ready for company, we come together with family and friends. I am in complete bliss when all the food is in the center of the table, and every plate sits as a blank canvas, then one at a time, we take turns sharing with one another what we are grateful for. 

Forest Park was known as Harlem in 1863, when the President Abraham Lincoln declared, “in the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity” the United States would observe thanksgiving “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.” Now 155 years later, we observe the national day of thanks. 

I have much to be grateful for and thought I should take a moment to share some thanks about our town. 

Starting with the garbage collectors, who are taking the last collection of yard waste this Friday, and the public works men who have been cleaning the streets every week. 

Next, our civil servants, postal carriers, police officers, firefighters, community center staff, who each give service to our community with kindness and humanity.

Thank you to our elected officials, from the school board, commissioners, Mayor and park district directors, who give of their time and energy to our community and our citizens. What good fortune Forest Park has, to have such caring and compassionate leaders. 

Thank you to our teachers, administrators and support staff at our schools. While I think it every day, it is not often that I share my heartfelt appreciation to you for creating a wonderful place for my children to grow. I am also grateful to our little beacon of public compassion and curiosity, the Forest Park Public Library. I appreciate you.

Thank you to Cub Scout Pack 109 for putting a pie in my face and the Girl Scouts for hosting a food drive in town. Thank you to all the youth group leaders in town, from soccer and Little League to church groups and spoken word. Thank you, Kiwanis Club and Lions Club, for being the foundation for so many good things in town. Thank you to our local businesses, and the Shop Small campaign I see all over town. Thank you to our servicemen and women who are serving our country.

Thank you to my neighbor who brought our dog, who is old and sick, back home after he wandered down the block. Thank you to all community members who work to build up our community, and for all of those who shared a letter to the editor in the past few months. I have so appreciated listening to you.

From my home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving, I hope to see you at the Holiday Walk a week from Friday.

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