A Thanksgiving reminder of the abundance of good in the news
A common contemporary cliché describes Thanksgiving Dinner as a homespun Rockwellian tableau trembling to mask the promise of political eruptions over events in the news.
There is, of course, no shortage of opportunities to pull families apart -- on Thanksgiving or any other day. But the clamor of sensational headlines can itself be a mask, averting our attention away from the abundance of news stories that lift the spirit.
With a variety of routine projects highlighting the work of volunteers, do-gooders and even today's "People To Be Thankful For," we regularly strive to assure that positive suburban stories get attention. And, every Thanksgiving, I like also to pluck out just a few of from the previous week to remind us that, in Max Ehrmann's famous phrase, "with all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."
• Jake Griffin's front-page story Sunday about medical professionals who set up a two-day clinic at Judson University to help people without adequate insurance get medical and dental care.
• Burt Constable's front-page story Sunday about a group of DuPage County nurses attending a professional conference in Atlanta who spontaneously jumped to the aid of harried servers at a crowded Wahlburger's, helping get food and drinks to tables for three hours.
• Dave Heun's Neighbor front-page story Sunday about Batavia barber Craig Foltos' winter drives to collect and distribute coats and other winter clothes to needy families.
Those, by the way, are stories collected not over the course of the past week but from a single day -- and they don't include people and events highlighted in Susan Klovstad's "Good News Sunday" column that same day. Elsewhere during the week, you could also have seen:
• Chuck Keeshan and Susan Sarkauskas' front-page "Cops and Crime" story on Friday describing a "Day of Support" (scheduled for this Saturday) to give thanks and raise funds to help a Bensenville police officer recovering from bullet wounds he suffered responding to a domestic disturbance.
• Eric Peterson's Saturday story about a Hanover Township pilot program to provide in-home care that may prevent some older adults from moving into institutions for the meals, shelter and companionship they need.
• Madhu Krishnamurthy's Sunday "Suburban Mosaic" column featuring an award-winning memoir in which Pascuala Herrera, of Franklin Park, describes her victory over a range of hardships, including poverty, polio and immigration, on the way to a 30-year career as a professor at Harper College in Palatine.
And, there's more. Much more. Even simple things like a host of stories about volunteers and agencies gearing up to help needy families enjoy the holidays, programs at local schools and community colleges to provide positive experiences for students or a drone picture of a solitary fisherman casting a line at a forest preserve near Bartlett all add up to remind us of the truth that the news is not just not all bad, it contains an abundance of good.
Remember that around your dinner table today, and if someone does darken the mood with a subject sure to leave everyone wondering, "What is this world coming to?", be thankful that one true answer is "much that's wonderful."