We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

It is when times are most difficult that it is of greatest importance to recognize the existence of what keeps us going, what truly is of the greatest importance, with gratitude and humility.

It is only by recognizing the blessings of the present that we may surely be guaranteed continued blessings in the future. And here in the Bayou Region we have much to be thankful for.

First and foremost is the resilience and strength of our region’s people. In Houma and Thibodaux, Larose and Labadieville, Grand Isle and Isle de Jean Charles, it is strength of human spirit that has allowed us to persevere through times that were tough and to thus better recognize and appreciate times of prosperity.

It is ingrained within the cultural DNA of our region to focus on rebuilding after destruction, whether that destruction be economic, like the oil bust of the 1980s, the shrimp crash of 2002, or due to natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. That strength is evident in the deeds of our ancestors. Whether rising up from slavery or forward from a devastating 19th century Reconstruction, coping on an individual basis with losses from wars waged through decades, or even, in the case of those with Cajun roots, survival and relocation to Louisiana after the Grand Derangement, those who came before us rejected the temptation to give up.

No matter our individual cultural or ethnic affiliations, we all have ancestors in whom we can take pride, and from whom we may still draw example.

Those examples led to continued ingenuity, and as a result we have levee systems which, although neither perfect nor complete, have significantly enhanced the safety margin against rising tides. We still have a long way to go in our battle against coastal erosion and subsidence, but we are well-placed to continue the fight.

Our natural resources, abundant and in many cases unique, are another benefit for which we give thanks. Egrets, bald eagles, hawks and even the occasional roseate spoonbill provide boosts for us on days when we need them most, if we take a moment to regard these gifts of nature, and, with the exception of the latter, we have these in abundance.

Another gift we have – though mention of it might draw some scoffing – is public service talent. At election time, of course, the politics can be contentious, but that is the nature of democracy. Our parish and city council members, state legislators and parish presidents may sometimes give cause for concern. But overall these people are doing jobs that most of us wouldn’t begin to know how to perform, with the requisite dedication and energy. We may disagree with positions some take from time to time, but there is little doubt that these individuals make great sacrifices in fulfilment of their official oaths.

There is a note that must be included here, as well, concerning our law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders. In some communities there is trouble because of an “us versus them” mentality within police ranks. That is not the case here. With few exceptions, those behind the badge demonstrate on a daily basis commitment not just to upholding the law and preserving the peace, but doing so fairly and honorably, fulfilling the trust we have placed in them.

We are blessed with a medical infrastructure that most might not think about until the need arises. But there can be no doubt that the cluster of dedicated professionals get and keep us healthy, or gently help us to cope and prepare when they cannot, is a community resource that is unparalleled with what is available in many other places.

Here at The Times we are also grateful for all of you. Our readers. Without you there would be no reason for us to write these words, to take the time to reflect on these matters, to have someone we can tell the story to. For you we are grateful because you have chosen us to deliver the stories, pictures and features that you help us deem important.

So hearty thanks are due to each and every one of you, and if you have gotten this far in your reading, please accept our heartfelt appreciation. •