It appears that the weather man is going to smile on us with clear skies and warm temperatures for Thanksgiving this week. I'm a thinkin' that we in Southwestern Nebraska have much to be thankful this season.
The fall crops are mostly in the bin and reports are of a good harvest. Agriculture is the backbone of our local economy so when prices are good ag prospers and so do we all. As a result this area seems to have avoided most of the general malaise that is infecting the rest of the country. The Lord has truly smiled on us and we have much for which to be thankful. Life is good!
Grannie Annie's project of sending Christmas packages to troops in Afghanistan for Christmas is drawing to a close. Actually she sends year around but the big effort is for Christmas and she has sent 90 boxes to date with more to go to meet the Thanksgiving deadline. We are pleasantly surprised at how generous this community is to donate items for the soldiers and cash to mail the packages. It has been a delight to peek at Christmas cards addressed to "Any Soldier" from local school children, church kids as well as many adults, words of hope ( well one 4th grader enjoined his soldier "don't die"), but mostly thankfulness for their service in keeping this country free.
Precious notes were written and illustrated in the hand of innocent children. Past experience tells that all too many of the soldiers serving in that remote God forsaken place rarely if ever receive mail.
The chaplain notes same and makes sure that those warriors in particular do get one or two of those letters that Grannie sends so that they know that this community cares. That thought just makes me smile.
This week I want to share excerpts of a letter sent me from a local business man, and flying buddy whose name I withhold to protect the guilty. He comments: "It has been interesting to see all the TV ads Senator Nelson has been running the past couple of months. I believe he knows just how much trouble he is in and has started his re-election campaign over a year ahead of the election. His votes seem to indicate that he is trying to distance himself from (President) Obama.
I observed the news coverage of the airport coffee for the essential air service. Seems like we have a lot of projects and services that are deemed essential including federal funding for paving J Street, remodeling the Keystone Hotel, airport fence construction, Essential Air Service and others.
When I think that 41 cents out of every federal dollar is borrowed, I think back to my father talking about people who had a champagne appetite and a beer pocket book. All of these projects collectively across our beloved nation are financed by borrowing from future generations. Is this borrowing essential?
Don't think so. I would like to see most grants halted and when these projects become essential enough, local communities should finance them alone. However, I don't believe that the voters are ready for austerity to that degree. Don't expect much to change." So wrote my friend and I couldn't have said it better myself.
Well, they committed to do, and pay for, a year long (at least) "environmental study" on a new route for the Keystone XL pipeline but other than that the special session was a great and wonderful success.
Our Legislature came together for an extra session costing $136,000 and counting of our tax money and accomplished exactly nothing. Well actually the Senators managed to posture and show favor to the environmentalists and their "not in my backyard" voters at home and I'm sure they all will leave happy. It was our own President Obama who rescued them all by postponing any decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline until after the general election next year. File under dumb.
Even more depressing tonight is the news that the Super Committee in Congress couldn't get their act together and so the budget will again be balanced on the backs of the military. President Clinton did it that way and now it is President Obama's chance to gut our military, the best in the world, once again.
For the moment though let us forget all the bad news and pause to celebrate our many many blessings in the true American spirit of Thanksgiving. We are truly blessed to live in the most free and dynamic country in the history of mankind.
That is how I saw it.