Thanks for Thanksgiving: This editor has a lot of blessings to count

Phil Castle

There are a lot of reasons to give thanks for Thanksgiving.

Despite the stereotypes of political disagreements escalating into hockey brawls, I look forward to spending time with family. And then, of course, there’s all that food. Turkey and stuffing. Pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. I even savor the green bean casserole — so long as its topped with those crispy fried onion thingies.

I’d add football to the list if this season wasn’t so disappointing for Broncos fans. Perhaps I should be thankful the Broncos aren’t playing on Thanksgiving. On the other hand, I’m quite thankful the high school football team from the tiny town in which I grew up in Eastern Colorado remains in contention for yet another state championship. It’s enough to make me wonder who’d win a game between the Denver Broncos and Strasburg Indians. I’m thankful no such contest would divide my loyalties.

All kidding aside, the best thing about Thanksgiving is the opportunity the holiday affords to count blessings. I’ve got lots of them, professional and personal. Not the least of which is a topic for a column given the fact my muse repellent has worked especially well lately.

Where to start? How about the most obvious place?

I’m thankful for the opportunity to work in print journalism at a time when fewer and fewer editors and reporters enjoy the privilege. I get paid to talk to interesting people, to learn interesting things and then write about them. As the editor of a business journal, I get to work with some of the most fascinating subjects of all in entrepreneurs. It’s been my experience there are no more compelling stories than those about people willing to work so hard and risk so much to turn their dreams into reality.

That makes me thankful for the advertisers who make it possible for me to do my job and especially the readers who constitute the reason I do my job. I’m also thankful, by the way, for a boss who gives me considerable freedom to pursue those stories I deem most newsworthy.

Yet another thing I’m thankful for as a journalist is the internet and the speed and ease of research. I’m old enough to remember when research involved tedious hours spent hunched over dusty books in government offices or staring through bleary eyes at microfilm readers in libraries. The good old days were anything but.

I’m thankful, too, for the businesses that submit their press releases. I’m eager to publish information about new employees, products and services. For those who haven’t noticed, some of those brief press releases lead to long stories. And some of those stories are featured on the cover. I’d be thankful to receive even more press releases and really thankful to receive them in a timely manner. Don’t think a day ahead of time. Think two weeks ahead of time. Better yet, think a month ahead of time.

I’m thankful as well to have so many columnists willing to share their time and talents with readers. The Business Times is far better for offering more voices than my own.

Moreover, I’m thankful for the hard-working folks who make the Business Times appear on newsprint and the website. That includes you, Dan, Alowetta and Marc. You guys rock.

That’s a few of the big blessings. I’ve got lots of little ones to count as well.

As someone who loves words, who loves to luxuriate in them, I’m thankful there are so many in the English lexicon — about 170,000 or so in current use, in fact. Given the selection, there’s little excuse for not choosing the right one. Mark Twain once compared the difference between the almost right word and the right word to the difference between lightning bug and lightning.

I’m thankful, too, for the punctuation that herds those words into well-turned phrases. I’m especially fond of commas and colons, although less so of exclamation points and semicolons.

That’s the thing about thankfulness, isn’t it? You no sooner start thinking about it than you realize there’s so much for which to be grateful — great and small. Freedom and security. Natural beauty. The support of friends and kindness of strangers we experience every day.

I’m not naive enough to believe life is only rainbows and unicorns. The world is chock full of the most godawful, horrible stuff. It can be a miserable place, too. But I also believe the way we think affects the way we perceive. What we look for, we’re more likely to find. So I keep looking for good in the hope I’ll find it. Most of the time, I do. I’m thankful for that.

In this season of gratitude, allow me to give thanks once again to the readers, advertisers, columnists and so many others who make possible the publication you’re holding in your hands or reading on your computer screen at this very moment.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Phil Castle is editor of the Business Times. Reach him at phil@thebusinesstimes.com or 424-5133.