NORMAN — At the dinner table of a family we know there is one more tradition after the blessing but before the forks and knives slice into the turkey and ham piled onto the plates.
Each guest at the table is asked to share aloud what they are thankful for this year: It might be better health, a new home, steady jobs, a good crop, the price of oil or just a visit from a distant relative.
We share in that tradition and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Some in the neighborhood. Some far away. We are thankful for:
— The end of an election season that emphasized just how divided the country remains. The debate overlapped into family, work and church. Billions were spent to achieve the status quo. There are signs of compromise ahead as both sides say they want to put aside differences to do what’s best for the nation.
— The end of the war in Iraq and the drawdown of forces in Afghanistan. Like all conflicts, there are grieving families that have paid the ultimate price for freedom.
— Relatively low unemployment and an inexpensive place to live. Cleveland County boasts an unemployment rate near 4 percent, lower than the state and about half the rate nationally. Norman’s cost of living was recently ranked second lowest in the nation.
— The completion of the Robinson Street railroad underpass. It is the largest, single capital improvement in the city’s history. Next up are the I-35 overpasses and work on eight city projects approved by voters in August.
— Public school buildings that have been built or renewed thanks to the generosity of Norman district residents. Save for work on the administration building, nearly all of the approximately $110 million bond issue work has been completed.
— Some rain. Even though the fall included a few good showers, the entire Southwest is parched and could always use more. The ongoing drought is believed to be the worst in 56 years. We appreciate the work of firefighters, law enforcement, utility workers and volunteers during the wildfires that destroyed many homes this year.