Sometimes the feeling of hope is enough to get by

Today we're grateful for the many good things that happen and the hope of good things that might happen.

We're grateful for selflessness and generosity. We're grateful for individuality and unity. We're grateful for the Mid-Columbia.

Hospital wars

When parents fight, kids are often caught in the crossfire. With the obvious ill feelings between Kadlec Regional Medical Center and Kennewick General Hospital, the community suffers.

So we feel some relief at the hope of the two groups burying the proverbial hatchet -- even if it is only hope at this point.

If we have to take sides in the "hospital wars," we are going to come down on the side of the community -- not either of the medical providers.

Of course, even if both parties accept the state's recommendation to drop their complaints against the other, nothing prevents more haggling down the road.

But like we said, at this point it's about hope ... and we can still hope.

Pumpkin power

Food drives amaze us. Or pumpkin patch replenishing. The success of these events hinges on the fact that even if it's hard for most of us to give very much, when lots of people give a little it quickly adds up.

We're disappointed that someone broke into Eastgate Elementary's community garden and stole the pumpkins right off the vine.

It makes us feel better to think the supersized fruit were taken by someone in a desperate act to feed some hungry children (even though we doubt that's the case).

But, on the bright side, regardless of why someone stole the pumpkins, that mysterious act allowed for others to bolster our hope in the community at large.

Fourteen pumpkins were stolen, and the day the story ran in the Tri-City Herald, more than 300 were donated in their place.

That's some good-hearted people.

What does all that have to do with a food drive? Nothing. Except that this time of year, food drives seem to be almost as popular as Mr. Jack-O-Lantern.

And although most food drives are not as spontaneous as the drive to replace kindergartners' stolen pumpkins, there will be plenty of opportunity for all of us to give a little as the mood strikes us in the coming months. And that adds up to a lot.

Remembering the fallen

All of us have lost someone, and we each choose to honor that memory in a personal way. Some will visit the cemetery on birthdays and holidays. Some will hold a private vigil. We do whatever has meaning for us.

Connecting with those who have died is one way of keeping them (and us) alive.

Kennewick resident Albert Allen has erected a memorial to men he has known and served alongside. It's a nice commemoration. Even more important than the monument he placed in his yard, however, is the place that his friends hold in his heart.

Experience tells us that those who remain behind don't need a plaque to remember those who have gone ahead. Those memories are there ... always.

But the plaque is nice.

Next month is Veterans Day. Vets -- and our gratitude for them -- are on our mind this week.

Banned Books Week

We suspect usual readers of this page are also frequent readers of banned books. (Gasp!)

That statement is not so much a reflection of our readers (although many of them are a little on the edgy side -- and proud of it) as it is about the wide variety of banned books, which at one time included the Bible.

We're grateful that communities of various kinds care enough to make a stink about what is presented to the citizenry -- even though misguided.

And although we've yet to find ourselves agreeing with the any book protesters' conclusions, the fact they're united enough to challenge a book shows a certain amount of camaraderie, and they remind us that we're free to speak our minds.

We're even more grateful to the people who challenge those who challenge books.

We don't want everyone thinking the same things. But do like the idea of everyone thinking.

It's true that the printed word is powerful. And perhaps that power is sometimes misused. Some ideas may not be age-appropriate, and some ideas are abhorrent for any age. But we live in a society where the First Amendment grants each of us the freedom to judge ideas for ourselves.

And we're glad for it.