By Joe DeGweck


Each day, as I watch the brightly colored green grass of summer being covered over by a blanket of autumn leaves, I can’t help but to wonder what the winter season has in store for us? But then I begin to realize that it really doesn’t matter.

The winter will be a season that is a corollary of the years and the seasons that have preceded us; and that there is a greater power than I, be it nature or God, that rules over its outcome. Perhaps I might be better off wondering about how I could learn to adapt to whatever weather Mother Nature begets upon our community.

This gets me to thinking. I enjoyed this past summer! Upon speaking to many others I would hear about “too much rain” or “too little sunshine.” I guess that it is all a matter of perspective. My grass never turned brown. The weeds continued to grow but so did the hosta and tomatoes.

It wasn’t all that bad and now I can have a greater appreciation of the wonderful fall we are experiencing. The unseasonably warm days of sunlight that allow the red and yellow hues of autumn leaves to glisten as they gently fall to the ground to cloak and swaddle the earthly treasures that are about to rest and enter into a domicile season of peace and tranquility. Oh how great a sense of life is invoked by nature as I watch and experience this cycle of exuberating energy bringing purpose and hope to all that has lived and to all that will continue to prosper. The nurturing quality of a family environment, as one generation of our panoramic landscape propagates another.

This brings us to our focus for this month’s article from After50 News. It is our hope that, as many of us might be beguiled by the events of the last month, we all might also use this eventful month of November to reflect on all that we have to be grateful for. Many perceive us to be in the autumn years of our life. So let our generation reflect the strength and endurance that our parents bestowed upon us; and let this be our gift to our children in order that they might be nurtured; in order that they might prosper.

November affords to us a true and wholesome array of national public holidays that genuinely articulate the ideals of America and the values of the American people. It all begins on November 4th, 2008, Election Day. This is our opportunity to appreciate the democratic principles set fourth by our forefathers; a government for the people, by the people. It is not only our right to vote but it is our responsibility.

We are given the freedom to select those that we concede appropriate to represent our values and to help guide this great nation on a path toward leadership throughout the world. Let us be diligent, attentive and educated in our choices. Let freedom and individual responsibility impel our decisions. Please vote, vote, vote!!!!

The following Tuesday in November provides us with the chance to honor and recognize all of those individuals that have so fervently given of themselves in order to preserve our freedom. It is Veterans Day. Small towns throughout the country will march down their Main streets in tribute to those men and women that served throughout our armed forces and secured our entitlement of freedom.

Flags will be placed on the graves of the soldiers that have passed but live on within the spirit of our generation and our children’s generation. Proudly display your support by joining them or by taking a moment to reflect on their dedication and commitment to America. Fly your flags outside your house and let the Red, White and Blue cloak our neighborhoods and communities as a symbol of the honor and respect these veterans so deserve.

Finally there is Thanksgiving Day. It all began almost 350 years ago when people just like us, seeking freedom and opportunity in a new environment, took a moment to reflect and give thanks for all that they had. It was a time following great despair, for the previous winter had taken the lives of so many that had started on this journey toward freedom with them.

Yet these pilgrims never wavered or gave up. They continued on with hope and conviction. They were grateful and strong and their spirit formed the foundation of this great nation. So as we gather together with our family and friends, let us take this moment to join in the spirit of generations past to reflect on the opportunity we have to preserve the pilgrims’ character of thanksgiving, fortitude, and determination toward freedom. A spirit we can lovingly give to our children. A gift founded and secured through the temperament of all Americans that have ever lived.

As I wrote this article, I also had to struggle through my thoughts about the current state of our nation. But it wasn’t hard, for I have much to be grateful for. My family, like all of yours, has experienced misfortune as well as prosperity. My younger brother probably will not be joining us at our thanksgiving dinner this year and he will be missed. We can only hope that he will be with us next year and many more years to come.

I do not want to suggest that this is due to anything tragic, it is just likely that he just can’t be there this year. This is my misfortune. But as I was writing this article I received a phone call from our nephew. He lives only 30 miles away and we talk 2-3 times a year, but we haven’t seen him for years. As Randy and I talked and reminisced over the evens of the past months, I invited him to Thanksgiving dinner and he accepted. At that moment I felt like a child who had just opened the Christmas gift he had wanted all year. It was a happy moment to reflect on and I am sure that this will make my wife and children happy also. And there is always much more to be grateful for.

So as you enter into this month of November and as you search for that blissful moment, I hope that you will find contentment and joy in the search. That you will remember that along with the “too much rain,” there are many sunny days to appreciate. That along with the leaves we need to rake, there is a blanket of nature’s beauty that adorns our yard and brings hope and nourishment for our spring gardens. That there is much to be grateful for in the autumn of our lives and that we now have an opportunity to share this gratefulness with all our friends and neighbors. November is a great month of the year. May God bless you and may you all have a thankful Thanksgiving!!!!