Plenty to be thankful for this holiday

Published 12:05 am Sunday, November 23, 2014

My emotional connections to heavy machinery pretty much ended at the ripe old age of 6 or 7 when my 1970s toy truck, the Mighty Mo, lost its flair — at least until last week.

For a brief moment, that 6-year-old boy hurtled across the time-space continuum and was driving down Main Street in Natchez. The sight of the city’s public works bucket truck parked in the middle of the street meant Christmas was here.

By the next day the city’s enormous and slightly quirky holiday tradition was front and center and at its seasonal perch — slap dab in the middle of Main Street.

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More than 20 years ago when I first came to Natchez, putting a Christmas tree in the middle of a public street just didn’t seem smart to me. In fact, it seemed like a bad idea and a huge traffic hazard.

But the tree — and Natchez — has grown on me. Now, spotting the tree going up, signals the start of the holiday season and the many wonderful things in Natchez.

As the holiday season kicks off this week with the celebration of Thanksgiving, the simple sight of a metal Christmas tree going up last week conjured up a number of things for which I’m thankful.

First and foremost, I’m thankful to live in a country in which I have a vote in government and the freedom to say (and write) what I want and worship God how and when I want. Many people across the world don’t enjoy those freedoms that we often take for granted.

I’m thankful to call Natchez home. Natchez isn’t perfect — no place is — but it’s an excellent place to live for a number of reasons.

Natchez has something many other places lack — both the city and its people have character. I love that Natchez people get fired up over things like historic buildings and will fight hard to prevent someone from messing up the beauty of the city.

But those same people who may fight on one issue will drop their differences in a split second to help someone in trouble. I’ve often told people that Natchez is so hospitable if a person’s car were to break down in Natchez, chances are good that someone would stop to help within 10 minutes of the breakdown. Beyond that, the Good Samaritan, more likely than not, could make a familiar connection to the person in need.

In a world that’s increasingly boring and homogenized, Natchez stands out in its uniqueness.

The city is just cool, steeped in history and filled with interesting people who are passionate about their city.

Natchez is also blessed by simply being in a beautiful part of the world, perched above one of the great wonders of our continent, the Mississippi River.

Professionally, I’m blessed to work with an amazingly talented and dedicated group of people who work hard to serve the community and the newspapers’ customers. Of course, the entire staff is also blessed to work for each of you.

Personally, I’m blessed and thankful to be in good health, married to my soul mate and father to a cute little redheaded toddler who stole my heart on the day of her arrival.

In short, I’m blessed beyond belief and am thankful to God for everything he’s provided.

I hope each of you has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving this week.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or