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Try to think positive about the many things we have to be thankful for this year 

This week is Thanksgiving; the day represents a couple of things; one is that we give thanks for having a warm, dry place to sleep and food to eat. We are also thankful for the health and well-being of our families and wish that there hadn't been as many tragedies over the last 12 months. Maybe next year will be better.

Giving thanks includes "giving" too; as food banks, churches, and social clubs gear up for the holiday season, they could use a helping hand. There are several ways to give: cash, turkeys/hams, canned goods, and even helping when dinner is served at the shelters.

Two years ago, Thanksgiving was unlike any other in my 75 plus years. Normally it's a time for family gatherings, but the government had other ideas. In early spring of that year a very contagious disease arrived on our shores that transformed what is "normal" into something no one could have ever imagined.

Suppose that someone told you that you would be prohibited from attending Disneyland and that the iconic Pasadena Rose Parade would be canceled, would you have believed them? Probably not. But in 2020, the government ordered all entertainment venues and many other commercial businesses closed until further notice; they also placed a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew on almost all of California.

Would you have believed that faraway family members coming to join you for the festivities would have to be quarantined for 14 days before the visit could begin? Once again, your friends and family would have questioned your sanity.

But that and much more is exactly what happened; government overreach had a whole new meaning. The impacts of these decisions will resonate for decades.

But try to think positive. What do we have to be thankful for this year? First, those of us who didn't catch the bug should be grateful; for the more than 98 percent of those who have caught it and have recovered, you should be doubly grateful. And most of all, it appears that preventive inoculations seemed to blunt the impact of the disease if you did catch it.

Those who didn't lose their job along with the income that goes with it and businesses that were somehow able to weather the storm should be happy.

After Thanksgiving this year, many will eat turkey or ham sandwiches and leftover pumpkin pie. That is, except for the homeless and those who didn't or couldn't cook a big feed. Vagabonds from the homeless population will be fed hearty meals and perhaps receive small gifts of fresh socks or clean clothing. Then they will wander off seeking shelter wherever they can find it.

I wish that the Christmas season that will soon follow will be a game changer for all those who are in need. Even though the homeless are sometimes a nuisance, they are our fellow human beings and deserve some compassion.

There seem to be many more homeless people visible on our streets lately, but it is the invisible poor that are the most forgotten. Many families are struggling to make ends meet, many are working multiple jobs just to provide the bare necessities for their families.

The Central Coast is full of a caring communities, but in so many, the median income is barely enough to pay the rent. No matter what the minimum wage is, it is never enough to have any extras. It's been that way all my adult life; as wages increase so does the cost of living, including the rent. It almost seems like an endless "do loop" to keep people from reaping the benefits of the increased income.

Instead of dwelling on the negatives we suffered this year, think about what may happen in the year to come. Will politicians solve the homeless issue or will they finally put global warming to rest? Probably not, but at least they'll have something to talk about, because in their world "talking about it" and issuing mandates that don't seem to work seems to equal a solution. Δ

Ron Fink wrote to New Times from Lompoc. Send a response for publication to [email protected].

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