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Plenty to be thankful for in simple things

With all eyes this week focused on either Thanksgiving time with family or the best deals Black Friday has to offer, perhaps no better time exists to pause and give thanks.

As the years pass by ever more quickly, the big things of yesteryear give way to the smaller things of today.

What am I thankful for this year?

Obviously, I’m thankful for being alive and otherwise blessed in so many ways by God.

But I’m also thankful for things easy to miss, too, particularly when we’re rushing around in our lives.

A biggie for me is living in a community filled with people who give to one another and help out when others are in need. Take a look at the approximately 2,000 — possibly more before it’s over — small boxes of love and hope collected by local churches and shipped across the globe.

Operation Christmas Child aims to send some Christmas cheer along with the message of Christ to unreached children around the world. Our community always gives greatly to the cause. Shoeboxes are still being collected today at Parkway Baptist Church in Natchez.

My hope for this holiday season is that the Natchez area pauses briefly to see just how special our community is.

How cool is it we live in an area so diverse and so richly preserved that Hollywood can find enough locations to film the bulk of a major production here?

Last week, international rock superstar Mick Jagger was walking our streets, eating in local restaurants as he worked on the James Brown movie, “Get On Up!”

Through the years, our community has hosted a pile of famous people from Andrew Jackson to Henry Ford long ago to more modern stars — Jagger being the latest.

But all of those famous people who come and go pale in comparison to the “stars” of our community — the regular folks who make the place tick, the ones who wave when they see you and always ask, “How’s the baby?” or “How are your parents?”

Those people matter to me — deeply. Natchez, despite its sometimes glamorous, even a bit pretentious shell, is really made of some great, down-to-earth folks. That’s pretty special.

Beyond the community, I’m thankful to have such an amazing wife and baby. My favorite pastime now is to spend time with Julie and Anna, with Julie and I loving every minute of seeing Anna explore the world around her.

Seeing the amazed look on her tiny face as she experiences simple things most of us take for granted is truly the best stuff in the world.

At the moment, things like wind blowing in the trees or a dog running and jumping delight her beyond belief.

That innocent smile and the appreciation she has for the discovery of the world around her makes me thankful for so much more this year.

Through her 9-month-old eyes, she’s showing me how much of the world I’ve been missing previously.

For that, I am thankful this year.

What about you, what are you thankful for this holiday season?


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.