Happy Thanksgiving from the Gratitude Nazi

My children call me the “gratitude Nazi” because each Thanksgiving, I insist we take some time–before tucking into the turkey–to consider how fortunate we are.

In this blog, I tend to focus on things that distress me, or make me angry (or–increasingly–despondent). On Thanksgiving, however, it’s appropriate to reflect on how much I have to be grateful for.

I’m an incredibly lucky person. I have an intellectually-stimulating job I thoroughly enjoy, a loving and supportive (okay, forbearing!) husband, wonderful children (both biological and acquired), perfect grandchildren and longtime good friends. I’m also not ALICE, for which I am deeply grateful.

I’m privileged, and I know it.

I’m conscious of all my good fortune, but today, I especially want to acknowledge the gratitude I feel for the little community that has developed in the comments section of this blog. It has been a totally unexpected benefit of my foray into cyber “venting,” and one that I have come to value very highly.

I know only two or three of you from the “real world.” The rest of you I know only from our interactions here. I have learned so much from your thoughtful comments, suggestions and reactions, from the sharing of different perspectives, and most of all from the evidence your presence has provided that civil, constructive discussion of even very difficult and sensitive issues is both possible and enlightening.

I am very grateful for all of you who visit and help me make sense of the tumultuous world within which we must all make our ways.

Happy Turkey Day!


  1. Sheila, you are to be thanked. Your words remind us that we are not alone, often placed in communities where fear and the ‘herd mentality’ overcome normal Hoosier common sense.

  2. Right back at you Professor. I don’t get your daily reminder. I love your column and make a point of visiting every day and read all of the comments. Hello Jo Ann, Nancy, Pete and Red and the rest of you without naming you all – Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving to you. Peace!!!

  3. It is refreshing to read a blog from an educated, intelligent human being who knows that she is privileged and yet is completely aware of the struggles of those less fortunate. Most people in your circumstances ignorantly shield themselves from the ugly realities that people less fortunate have to face on a daily basis and instead they choose to pass judgement on them as if they are lazy or just losers.

  4. Miss you, Sheila! I “keep up” by reading your column, but would love to see you in person! Stay well.

  5. This is only the second time I have commented, but I read your blog and all the comments daily. I think like you! Sheila, you and those who comment regularly give me hope for a troubled world. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I’m thankful for you Sheila. You’re a wonderful teacher in the enlightening freedom of expression you share daily and in the humanitarian example you set for all of us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your followers.

  7. My thanks to you, Sheila, for teaching me so much about our political system, our community, and myself. You and others like you will always be an example of what we can be as we strive to live up to the ideals of our Constitution.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and friends, as well as all the people who post on this blog.

  8. When we think of all of the humans who have ever lived (6.5% of which are alive today) we all are in the most fortunate .0001% I believe. What glorious times we chose to be borne in. What a glorious place as well.

    At my age there is only one thing to worry about given all that good fortune to be thankful for.

    Will those that follow have as much to be thankful for?

    How can we strive for any less for them than was passed on to us?

    I can see clearly the possibilities for continued glory but like those before us we have to earn it. Deserve it.

    This place and you people are a small but significant start. A seed of hope. A glimpse of possible.

    Thank you.

  9. I too am thankful for all of you. I rarely comment here because others usually have already spoken my thoughts – as they have today. I watch for your posts daily. Thank you for taking the risk.

  10. Thanks, Sheila for sharing. Also, I’m thankful for your wonderful sister and brother-in-law. bk

  11. “Dear God, we paid for all of this ourselves so thanks for nothing”.
    – Bart Simpson

    Too irreverent? I hope you’ll agree that it’s not but bear with me. For me to post Bart’s quip is delicious irony seved up with a side of dressing and smothered in gravy, for I am so thankful for every day I have on this earth, including the incredible invention called the internet and its ability to bring together very special communities like this one.

    Secondly, I think the quote encapsulates (also ironically) the very THING that Ms Kennedy and the rest of us lean against every day: unvarnished, narcicisstic, “I-got-mine” CONTEMPT for the human condition and the utter REJECTION by TOO MANY to take any personal responsibility to leave the world in a better place than they found it.

    May you all all have a warm and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend.


  12. But Sheila. You don’t remember me? We came over on the same ship. ( I was down below rowing!)☺ Happy T Day!

  13. Happy Thanksgiving to Sheila and to all reading today. Each time I read one of Sheila’s blog posts, I’m reminded of the most awesome and simultaneously the most feared Professor of Political Science/Dept Chair, Dr Lowry, a PhD from Harvard, who taught the required 3 hour course in Political Science that no student escaped before fulfilling the requirements for an undergrad degree in any major.

    Students with a lick of sense knew not to arrive in his class without a working knowledge of current events, and because this was during the Civil Rights Era, there certainly was no shortage of current events. The day forever etched in my memory is in March of 1965, the classroom was packed, and Dr Lowry began with calling out a clueless female student, Jean, and asked, “Miss Gross, what are your thoughts about Selma?”

    Jean replied, “Who’s Selma?” I could never make this up, and I will never forget the browbeating she received, deservedly so. I still laugh whenever I see her on FB setting her gracious table for another dinner party.

    As you know, there’s a Miss Gross in every class. Keep it up!

  14. SK: I always enjoyed your thought provoking op-eds in the Star. However I believe that your blog is an even better forum. Thank you for carrying us.

  15. A day late, but, just as much as I appreciate your blog, the commenters are thoughtful, intelligent, and civil. Can’t say the same about any other cyber communication. Some really abuse the anonymity of the internet.

  16. Ha! I read and share regularly, but rarely post since Pete has usually beaten me to an even better summary of my thoughts than I would have written!

    I feel thankful to know so many who persist in their intellectual curiosity despite the sad state of contemporary “journalism” and politics.

    There are truly many wonderful people on here that I look forward to reading each day. Thank you for creating such a fantastic space to connect with them.

  17. As one of the few folks you know in the real world, I’m always grateful for your blog posts. You have a gift of connecting dots and explaining why something is correct or incorrect in a way that people can grasp. While I like to think of myself as reasonably intelligent, I don’t have that gift. That’s why I’m grateful for your blog posts and writings: they give me material I can steal to explain things to people when I can’t come up with the words myself!

    Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Comments are closed.