Personal Best: Thankful for the simple things

In the North Okanagan, it's easy to find reasons to be thankful, especially when other parts of the world experience such suffering

Thanksgiving Day is upon us, a day to be grateful for the many gifts we have in life. But it is all relative, isn’t it? Would the Kurds fleeing for their lives into Turkey, carrying the clothes on their backs and their babies, feel thankful? Or would the Liberian mom holding her dying husband and nursing her Ebola-stricken children feel much gratitude for her plight in life? We must be appreciative for all the good things in life even if there are few good things. We forget the simple things like breathing well, walking without a cane, talking to our friends and relatives and being glad we have friends and relatives.

I like to think of clean sheets when I am feeling down and looking for simple, good things to be happy about. I wonder if those Kurdish refugees have ever had the opportunity to feel the absolute comfort of fresh, clean, cool, sheets or if they ever will. It sure makes me feel grateful for my place in life. And is there anyone in this blessed Okanagan feeling the sun shining today and breathing in the cool, fresh-smelling air that doesn’t appreciate these gifts? Well if you don’t it is time to stop and look around you and feel the physical beauty and to know, compared to others, how infinitely lucky we are.

Well, we are getting revved up for municipal elections with a host of new and old candidates all vying for the jobs of mayors and councillors with a large pool to choose from. I hope you will take the time to attend all-candidates meetings or just go meet the candidates yourself and ask them what their priorities are.

I just want to say thank you to all the former mayors and councillors in the North Okanagan for their past years of service. In municipal politics you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There are those bean counters that wouldn’t spend a cent on anything that smells of art or culture and there are those who forget that for every new sidewalk or road we scream for, it potentially raises our taxes and we will have to come to the front if we want improvements. It is hard for any council to walk a fine line between the various factions.

One thing that really bothers me is to hear so many complaints about a lack of communication with council and citizens and yet this past term, especially in Vernon, has had information session after information session about parks, culture, budgets, etc. etc., all well-publicized. Also the information gathered has been heard and used to finalize a host of plans. Anyone who says we don’t have enough communication obviously hasn’t been paying attention.

In addition, Vernon has recently been recognized by the provincial government as a great place to do business by receiving an Open for Business Award. This award, a $10,000 grant is to fund more business-friendly developments in the city. Guess our old council did something right. Most of all don’t forget to vote Nov. 15.

An Older Driver Re-assessment Workshop is coming up and it is a great opportunity to refresh your driving knowledge, especially if you have a reassessment of your driving skills coming up. ICBC and NexusBC Seniors Services are hosting this comprehensive event at the Okanagan Regional Library, Nov. 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Seating is limited so register by phoning 250-545-0585, and donations are appreciated.

If you have any comments or questions e-mail: or phone 250-542-7928.

Pat Black writes about issues of concern to seniors in the North Okanagan, appearing every other Sunday.