Being Thankful, and Not So Thankful


It’s November. Thanksgiving month. We know this is the month of Thanksgiving. But should it also be the month when we think about what we don’t want to give thanks for?

I’m thankful for many things: Family still alive. Health. My wife, Veronica, who is the person who keeps me sane. My dogs. All of them.

I’m thankful for them, and others. My close friends—they know who they are.

I’m thankful for Joe O’Donnell and others at this magazine. They’ve taken me in and made me feel accepted in a way that is awesome.

I’m thankful for Bill and Susan Britt at Alabama Political Reporter for making me feel the same way.

But I’m not thankful for some stuff. Like the last two years I was at Alabama Media Group, where they made me a click hound. Journalism didn’t matter nearly as much as how many clicks my stories got. I’m not thankful for that.

I’m thankful for Peerey and Ralph and Casey and all of our dogs. I’m not thankful that many more are put down in shelters across Alabama because of space, or boredom, or disregard. I’m not thankful for that.

I’m thankful for people who care about the welfare of animals. I’m not thankful for those who discard animals at a whim.

Peerey, one of our wonderful black pugs, was taken to a veterinarian by his owners who asked to have him put down. The veterinarian said no way, he’s good. And a vet tech there got Peerey turned over to her. After three or four people, Peerey (who was named inappropriately Spike) came to us. I’m thankful we have Peerey, who is named after one of my greatest friends.

I am thankful that Bridget, a big dog that is a German shepherd and husky mix, is doing well. I spent the whole summer walking Bridget for a friend who had major foot surgery that wouldn’t allow him to take the gentle giant on her daily rounds. So I spent many days, over five months, walking Bridget so she could stay with her human. My friend has now been cleared to walk Bridget, as it should be, and now I don’t have to worry whether Bridget will be walked. Or discarded. I’m thankful for that.

I’m not thankful for all the companion animals who are left alone, without food or water, who are left chained to trees or posts in their yards, who wonder where their people are, who howl for help, who suffer and hurt and get no relief.

I’m not thankful for that.

I am thankful for people like Jimmy Johnson and Abigail Witthauer and Margaret Jones Davis and Merritt Milam. They take care of dogs, all the time.

I’m not thankful for those rescues and others who make it difficult for good owners to have and save animals. They want the money their rescues bring in, but don’t really care if their rescues go out.

I am thankful the presidential campaign is over. I am not thankful for what it did to
our country.

I am thankful I can write freely today, about what matters and what doesn’t. I am not thankful that some people don’t bother to value that freedom.

I am thankful for my Latino and Muslim and gay friends, who have shown me the rich tapestry of life. I am not thankful for the misery they endure every day from those who don’t value that rich tapestry.

I am thankful for the colorful leaves in autumn. I am not thankful that they fall.

I am thankful for grace and what it offers me. I am thankful for wonderful people who surround me. I am thankful for new ideas and new ways to achieve old ideas.

I am not thankful for negative people who say those ideas are dead.

I am thankful for a clear sky. For a bright moon. For the stars above. I am thankful to be reminded we are not alone. I am thankful for trees and chipmunks and spiders and baby pugs.

Mostly I’m thankful. Thank you.


8 Responses to “Being Thankful, and Not So Thankful”

  1. Kathy Stiles Freeland says:

    Love this and I am VERY thankful for you, Joey Kennedy!

  2. Jim Franklin says:

    Thank YOU, Joey. for being a voice in the wilderness that is this state. Thanks for calling out our better angels and calling down those who would drag us further into the muck that some have made of our state.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, your family, the pack of dogs that runs through your house and such fine writing for those of us who wish we could do it as well as you.

    Many thanks.

  3. Joey Kennedy says:

    Thanks so much for the people who continue to support my writing and efforts. I love you.

  4. Sue Cronkite says:

    I’m thankful for those who remember when the Fourth Estate was respected and valued good journalism. Keep writing. It helps.

  5. Sue Torre says:

    And I’m thankful that somewhere, somehow my eyes found Joey (and thereby Veronica) at a time when I needed to know that someone felt the same way I did after this move. MaryWoo, and you, are thought of every time I think of Mom… Many, many thanks.

  6. Jill Peerey says:

    Thank you, Joey for reminding us to slow down and think about thankfulness. In retirement, I am realizing how fast paced I lived, forgetting to enjoy the now. I am so thankful for your wisdom and your humor. Both are so needed in our world today. You always make me smile and think!

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