Despite our differences - in many ways, we are one

Today, we're grateful for helpers near and far -- and for the things that bring us together.

There are lots of things that drive us apart and separate us from each other -- physically and philosophically. Plenty of discussion on alienating topics will appear on this page on other days. The name-calling can resume tomorrow.

But today -- just for today -- it's Thankful Thursday, and we are grateful.

Elections that didn't go our way (or road construction or weather phenomenon) will not take that away from us.

Building bridges

Most of us probably take for granted our roads and bridges in the Mid-Columbia. That is until one of them is closed ... even temporarily.

Tri-Citians get around. And for the most part, we do it very efficiently.

You may live in one city. But you work, shop, play and drive in the others. And unless you're one of the few people who commute by kayak, you're driving over one of our bridges several times a week, if not every day.

Because the northbound lanes of the blue bridge have been closed for most of the past week and the southbound lanes will be out of commission starting today, we are very grateful for that iconic piece of metal that connects us to each other -- literally. And we remind ourselves of this gratitude at the gas pump where we pay a transportation tax.

We also are grateful for drivers who are patient and kind to each other. Unfortunately, not everyone fits into that category, which makes us all the more grateful for those who do.

Food for fines

Some people hunger for the written word, some are just hungry. Mid-Columbia Libraries' Food for Fines program seems like a winning situation for both groups and the community at large.

It's only a guess, but we suppose that most patrons of any library sometimes find themselves owing a little money on their account. The convenience of keeping an unread book for a few more days is worth the price of a fine.

Put us on the record here as saying libraries are still a tremendous value, even if you end up with an overdue book from time to time.

We're also on record as encouraging donations to our local food banks.

If you have outstanding library fines, you can eliminate or reduce your debt by donating nonperishable food. You can also drop off food when you go to the library, even if you don't owe fines.

We're grateful for libraries and for people who are generous with their bounties (however much or little that may be) -- in November and at other times of the year.

Hurricane help

And while we're thinking of people who need help, our hearts (and wallets) also go out to those on the East Coast.

Hurricane Sandy was the news event of last week. We're not seeing much coverage of it this week, but for those who live in the hardest-hit areas, the effects last much longer than the national news coverage does.

When we see the aftermath of Mother Nature unleashed, it makes us thankful for a warm house, electricity and clean water.

When we see people donating their time, talents and resources to others, it makes us thankful to be part of the human family.

We have much to be grateful for.