Wharton: A day to give thanks
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

We live in a cynical time, something that too often becomes abundantly clear each year when Thanksgiving shows up on the calendar.

Having just survived a dismal election campaign where candidates spent way too much time tearing each other apart with half-truths and lies, it would be easy to get the impression that our great country is in a downhill slide.

It seems as though every year, Black Friday shopping seems more important to many than stopping to give thanks. Too many stores seem to be opening on Thanksgiving, forcing their employees to work rather than to spend time expressing gratitude with their families.

We Americans complain a lot. Gas and food prices and taxes are too high. Our politicians don't represent us. Corporate America screws us over every chance it gets. We and those we support are always right and those who disagree with us are uninformed idiots.

So, this Thanksgiving, I would like to be, well, thankful.

I'm grateful for a loving wife who tolerates all my foibles, great parents, wonderful kids and grandchildren and a brother and sister who are not only my siblings but my best friends.

I love living in Utah. For all this place's quirks, and there are many of them, I've traveled the world and never been to a more beautiful place. There are more times than I can count when simply viewing the snow-capped Wasatch mountains or a sunset over the Great Salt Lake turned an ordinary commute into something inspiring.

I am thankful to The Tribune for employing me for more than 42 years, allowing me to experience our city, county, state, nation and the world in ways I never could have imagined. Even more important, my co-workers' passion for ethics and digging out the truth remain a daily inspiration.

I also thank readers who make some of my days with kind comments about something I have written and who, at other times, challenge me to think with their criticism. And what would any reporter or columnist be without sources willing to take the time to tell us their stories?

When I sit in the back of St. Ann's Church most Sundays trying in my own way to at least think about being a better person, I should give more thanks for living in a country where I can choose where and when to worship, or not go to services at all.

As a Catholic in predominantly Mormon Utah, I also am grateful for the many wonderful friends and neighbors I have met over the years who have accepted and respected me. I can only hope I've returned the favor to them.

My pets — a crazy Labradoodle, a male cat, a shy female kitty and a noisy cockatiel — brighten my day in untold ways.

On Thanksgiving Day in particular, I am thankful for the people who produce our food, be it the migrants who often work for pennies harvesting fruits and vegetables or the turkey growers or the farmers who labor long hours or the grocery store workers who always seem to have a smile and a kind word when I go through a checkout stand.

As flawed as our system of government can sometimes seem, it remains something for which to be thankful. That said, I would be a whole lot happier if those from opposing parties would try to work together occasionally for the good of the country instead of trying to win one for their party.

I'm grateful for good health, something I probably don't deserve and always take too much for granted. The ability to wake up each morning, grab a cup of coffee, read the paper and face a new, interesting challenge is certainly something to be celebrated.

While it might be easier to be a grumpy cynic, there is much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton