I'm thankful for the downtown in which I work, on a bustling, tree-lined street. Our office is less than a 10-minute walk to many of the components of our vibrant community -- art galleries and bakeries, eclectic shops and restaurants, schools and a park, churches and coffeeshops, the library and an independent theater.
Not to mention that crazy museum with free fudge and a big stuffed bear in the basement of the Christian bookstore.
Virtually all the businesses are locally owned, and civic pride is evident in the well-maintained buildings, ubiquitous flower boxes and litter-free sidewalks. Drivers are (usually) courteous to pedestrians.
I'm thankful for downtown's abundance of gorgeous restored old houses, and for the small but good bookstore, with its emphasis on regional authors. I like that lunch at the ice cream parlor often is accompanied by the sound of ballet students dancing overhead.
I'm thankful for that ancient little woman, always in a sweatshirt and with an umbrella by her side, who camps out on the post office steps selling newspapers. And for the preschool class that walks around our block most mornings. And that, when it stays light later, downtown is the perfect setting for after-work runs.
I like that a railroad track runs through downtown, except when the train comes and I'm on the phone and I can't hear myself think.
I'm thankful that we know people who work all around us and they frequently pop in to say hi as they're walking to or from their own office. I like that people held a vigil for the 80-year-old cedar tree that was cut down last week; I think the protesters took the whole thing too far, but I'm thankful to live among people who care and who practice community activism.
I'm thankful for talks of a downtown farmers market. I'm thankful for all the sidewalk benches, which encourage conversation and procrastination. I'm thankful there are no parking meters.
And I'm thankful that part of my job is to help newcomers explore this charming, unpretentious gem of a town.
(Thank you, Lib, for the inspiration.)