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Not-your-usual-Thank-You List

 Across the nation newspapers will be printing "thank you" columns from writers like me, all of whom will probably mention some or all of the following: their family members and loved ones who will be thanked for their love and constant aid, support, and affection, employers for their generosity and support, neighbors, there to help, and even now-deceased but memorable mentors -- like school teachers who made a difference, health professionals who provided comfort and protected the gift of life, and, of course, members of the military, police and fire departments, all of whom work to keep us safe in a world where safety isn't easy to provide.

I want to thank those people too, but I realize that there are many others without whom my life would be a lot tougher than it is.

There are the midnight-8 a.m. cleaning crews in places where we seldom see them, but who allow us to arrive at work finding everything we need right where it should be. Then there are Emergency Rooms staff, ready to help and heal whether we show up at 2 pm or 3 a.m. with severe chest pain or a bad cut on our thumb. Firefighters always listen for the alarm that could go off at any time, their boots and hats at the ready after they slide down the brass pole to the truck.

I'm wondering how many Thanksgiving, "Thanks" go to the newspaper delivery folks awake at dawn so we can read the news over breakfast?

Soon we will have to thank the plow people who allow New Englanders to stay mobile  despite aggressive snow and ice.

I feel the need to thank those technical geniuses behind the web address who allow someone as PC-deficient as I am to move forward when my computer freezes in the middle of a column or when something I really need hides in cyber space.

I think some thanks should go to people who have assisted me — in shops or markets, at a garage, or in an office—who put up with my basically impatient nature as I fiddled, sighed, and looked at my watch every five minutes (and those were the times before the final stages of fidgeting which include not-very-quiet-mumbling, occasional cursing, and, basically, impatience in its most unpleasant forms.) I thank them for their grace, concern, and assistance, and apologize for my shrill impatience.

It seems important to thank other invisible angels who make Thanksgiving Day memorable. These  include bakers of holiday pies and cakes who labored all night until the dawn of our Thanksgiving meals. For those of us who pushed the preparation of a feast onto food professionals, huge gratitude for the cooked turkeys with all the fixings and assorted culinary treats of the holiday for which we cannot take personal credit. Thanks too for those who work on Thanksgiving so others don't have to. These include restaurant workers preparing and serving holiday feasts as we sit there and enjoy, as well as the kitchen staff we never see and the cleanup crews who show up after we leave so the table is ready for the next round of diners.

Special thanks as well to those who will be working on Thanksgiving day so that the rest of us have access to hospitals, fire stations, electricity and gas in our homes, and 24/7 media professionals to tell us what roads are safe on the holiday so we get to our destination in one piece.

The list of people we should thank is usually longer than we suspect. Reach into your memory bank and think of the folks who make your life a little (or a lot) easier every week, then think of a time and a way to say you appreciate them. A check is always good, but if you can't afford that now a short acknowledgment like, "Thank you very much for your work all year long..." as you take the mail, the newspaper or the package from the hands of the carrier who will greatly appreciate being recognized.

I promise you will feel better as well if you do this!


Mary Ann Sorrentino  is a freelance columnist who writes from Cranston, RI


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