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(HOST)It’s time to count our blessings. And commentator Ruth Page has quite a long list of things – and people – she’s grateful for this year.

(PAGE) We have much to be thankful for tomorrow, despite the terrible war in Iraq. The recent election assured us of a return to “checks and balance” in our government, with a Republican President and a Democratic Congress. That fits the plan for managing this country devised by those who so carefully crafted our Constitution in the 18th century.

Second, it seems clear that a logical plan for bringing home our service men and women will be devised, with advice from current military leaders on the ground and consultation with retired military leaders here at home: in short, we’ll be listening to ALL the experts, as well as to our own hearts. That should help alleviate the feelings of pain and guilt we’ve been suffering, both for our country and for thousands of innocent children and others in Iraq who have endured untold misery.

Here at home, there are promises to work seriously to reduce our reliance on carbon-based power sources so we can start cleaning up the air. There will be less casual approval of putting oil wells into theoretically protected areas such as pristine waters, and treasured wilderness.

Despite all the afflictions currently affecting the world, we can take time to cuddle in with our own families and friends, sharing prayers, luscious eats, music, and humor, the four essentials of any celebration.

Among my own family and close friends who will join us, we’ve a mix of vegetarians and those who think it isn’t Thanksgiving without a turkey. We’ll all be happy. The vegetarians will bring ambrosial casseroles and veggie mixes none of us can resist, and all the best pies will be produced by those who create the most luscious, flaky crusts and toothsome fillings. Hey, it’s Thanksgiving, and it’s good to count our blessings, but it’s no time to count calories.

After a sometimes hilarious dinner, those of us not too bloated to stand up, usually take a walk (and that’s all of us, because it would be too embarrassing to have to beg off.)

My own plan is to “sleep in” on Thanksgiving morning. That’s a treat of the first order for me, since I normally consider staying in bed until 7 “sleeping in.” I may even stay in bed to read the paper – I think that would be a first.

Let me wish you a very Happy and Hopeful Thanksgiving this week, especially all those who have to suffer through airports and take off their shoes and good deal else of what is theirs.

Let’s call it a small sacrifice for a great Thanksgiving Holiday.

Ruth Page has been following environmental issues for twenty years. She is a long time Vermont resident and currently lives in Shelburne.

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