I'm back up at Rancho del Cielo, my parents'
idyllic homestead in the Paso Robles wine country,
to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with my
family. I never grow tired of coming up here.
There's no better place to escape the noise and
stress of city life.
This morning, I took a morning constitutional,
walking a couple of miles along the winding roads
of the Santa Rita Ranchos, the hamlet in which my
parents' ranch sits. All around me, the sights,
sounds and smells of the country reminded me what
real life is all about. A young buck and his
doe warily marched across a hillside. The earthy
smell of horse manure wafted on the breeze. The
lazy creak of a windmill broke the otherwise
perfect silence. No brake lights, no smog, no
sirens. Life, uninterrupted.
Today, more than ever, I contemplate how
thankful I am to have such a refugeand to
have so much in general. When I look back on my
life of the past year, it can be easy to feel
bitter about my financial struggles, career
stagnation and relative instability. But I am a
wealthy man in so many other, more important ways.
I have a wonderful family, with whom it is a
pleasure to spend time on holidays and vacations.
I've made some special friends this year, and have
shared some great times with them in some exciting
places. My daily work schedule has included
swimming with dolphins and penguins. Indeed, I have
much to be thankful for.
We should all be similarly thankful. Our country
has weathered some tough times this year, from
terrorist threats to continuing layoffs, a foreign
war to a struggling economy. But we are a wealthy
country. Even with the problems we've faced as a
whole, we enjoy a stable society, stores chock-full
of groceries and other goods, a land full of
opportunity: the fruits of freedom. The world is
still a harsh place, and things could certainly be
better. But we have so much to be thankful for.
Strickland ALL RIGHTS