It’s the little things isn’t it, that make up every day? And we so blithely cruise through with little heed though so many give us immeasurable pleasure. It’s possible that even the thought of being grateful for things can bring even more of the things we like and want into our life. Having a positive outlook and thinking positively are known to be good for us. I’m not talking about some Polyannaish denial of reality. It’s a fact that just changing the way we think about something has benefit to our health. Recognition of the things that make us happy keeps us in that sunny frame of mind and that’s good for overall health. So permit me a bit of self-indulgence in my desire to keep myself happy by reflecting on some things I notice that inspire gratitude in me. There’s no deep, thought-out purpose here other than a real feeling. And it’s important to note that although in some cases I may mention a specific person or example, the gratitude extends to many, many people and places that inspire the same feeling. Carbon cycle This observation started the ball rolling on the idea for this column. I’m grateful for my neighbor Randall Bradley. Every time I look out from my corner office and notice him bicycling to work I’m grateful for him and all the countless thousands who mount their two-wheeled eco-saving transportation. They are benefiting all of us. (Now, if they all would just stop for stop signs, keep from blocking traffic and observe the responsibilities that come with the rights of using public roadways, I would be even more grateful.) Give thanks for real farmers. Farmers who remember how to grow food without chemicals or laboratory genetics, farmers who know how to grow crops and raise animals in accord with Nature, not in defiance of Her. I’m grateful for animals. Simple, but after all, they are to me the single most powerful reminder that we are part of Nature not apart from it. Gobble, gobble Many, many times I tell myself and others how grateful we should be for stores like No Name Nutrition and Whole Foods — and, again, all the others of their ilk. What a joy to be able to find real products that are wholesome and natural and in the case of No Name, people who have been following the path of natural health for decades and have vital information to share. Add to the mix the people at McFoster’s Natural Kind Café, leaders in healthful choices in dining out for going on 20 years. And I don’t forget even the customers who always know more about real food than the average person. I’m happy and grateful that I have a turkey to eat on Thanksgiving that doesn’t need flavoring injections, didn’t come from some industrial complex hundreds of miles away and has a pedigree I can trace. Our friends at Pawnee Pride Meats raise them in pasture and on prairie and there is naught that tastes better. It tastes like a turkey, not a concoction. While I’m at it, let’s be grateful for Jim. He provides our household with pasture-raised buffalo meat from his herd of 80 or so that graze virgin prairie about 90 miles south of Omaha, on his family’s 110-year-old homestead. I’m not being more specific because I’m not willing to share. If you want to know more about his grass-fed buffalo, come visit at Village Pointe Farmers Market. I still love the printed word. We should all be grateful for it. I like the feel of holding my reading material in my hands and reading from reflected light, not generated light (it’s easier on the eyes, too.) So I’m grateful for the people who get my daily newspaper to the door and the folks who put it together and to The Reader , it should go without saying. Those who practice the traditional healing arts are a godsend and gratitude goes out to them. How fortunate we are to be living in a time when society is rediscovering healing modalities like traditional Chinese medicine, herbs, chiropractic, massage therapy, energy work — on and on. When new reports continue to emerge recording the vast numbers of people who die at the hands of conventional medicine, it’s comforting to know there are other places to go to get help with health issues. “Don’t touch my junk.” I’m grateful for John Tyner, the refusenik who passed on both radioactive scanning and security groping required for flying from San Diego to South Dakota. If not stemming a tide, he at least called attention to the wave of Big Brother intrusions foisted on our citizenry in the name of “security.” Plus, he coined what must be the memorable phrase of 2010, on a par with “pants on the ground” — “Don’t touch my junk.” Thank you, Ted Turner, for the TCM channel. I mean, hey, no commercials? Black and white films and celluloid heirlooms on basic cable? Ted, you’re a hero. How did Barbarella ever let you go? I’m grateful to live in Omaha and Nebraska in general. Real people live here. Sure, there are real people everywhere. We know that. There is just something so unassuming about the folks in small towns in the Midwest and that sensibility doesn’t ever get too far off-base even in the metropolitan areas. It’s even cute to watch people in Omaha pretend to be jetsetters. What a hoot. I love technology and am grateful for it. It’s so entertaining and such a reminder of the transitory nature of life. I mean, do you remember the Zune? Or Zip drives? MySpace? VCRs, cassettes? Ha! The deepest gratitude is kept close to the heart, for the person and people closest. The friends and family who are the perfect reflection of thoughts and the lessons we are here to learn. With gratitude in mind, there is no room for anger or sorrow. It’s a reasonable choice for Thanksgiving. Be well.