You’d think that given the state of the situation – still mid-pandemic with more cases of COVID-19 exploding around us than ever and facing a Thanksgiving (and probably Hanukkah and Christmas) without family – that might be hard to find things to be thankful for in 2020.

But, that’s just not so.

While there has been plenty about 2020 to make us wish it disappear and consigned to oblivion, the pandemic also brought out, as Abe Lincoln might have said, “our better angels.”

In fact, so many people stepped up to respond in the face of crisis, that we’re sure to leave some out. But, we’ll take that risk, simply to remind everyone just how thankful we ought to be as a remarkable year draws to a close with the prospect of a new dawn approaching.

We’re thankful this year for …

Our small businesses which have been through the ringer but fight on through the pandemic. We’ve watched and admired small businesses which have actually found ways to give back to Forest Parkers in ways quiet and loud even as they struggled.

The local chamber of commerce which has been at the forefront of supporting local independent businesses even as its own revenue sources via events have been shut down. Not every business will survive this pain but the chamber gets credit for its determined efforts to support and cheerlead. Love those flower pots on Roosevelt and Madison.

Need evidence that governance matters? We see it across the board in our local taxing bodies which have been there in these endlessly difficult circumstances. There’s village hall which has made endless hard frontline choices. Our parks and library have been nimble in finding ways to serve even as month by month the rules of the road have shifted from being open to being closed to the public. And those two entities have somehow not lost a sense of positive energy and even fun. The elementary schools have been determined as they have invented and then improved remote learning even as parents and students have become Zoomed out.

We’re thankful for the impromptu birthday caravans that told kids and neighbors that caring doesn’t disappear when a virus arrives. The treasure hunts and arts walks and front porch concerts – safe and masked – are the very stuff of community. They’ll get us through this horror and make us better when we emerge.

Now as Thanksgiving arrives and the final batch of winter holidays comes up fast, we are thankful for the white lights and holiday decorations that are multiplying. If ever we need light in the darkness it is this next month.

We’re separated. We’re distanced. But we’re still one great community finding new ways to show it day by day.