Straight Talk with Sam

Suggesting we have much to be thankful for this year might sound a bit disingenuous, at first. After all, 2020 has been a year unlike many of us have ever seen. In many cases, it’s been a year of loss. Loved ones, jobs, milestones, school years…let’s be honest, many are just looking towards 2021 and hoping it gets here sooner rather than later. Yet, this pandemic has made it clear that we also have many things to be thankful for. 

I’m thankful for our healthcare workers, who are currently putting in the longest hours they ever have to get folks healthy again. I’m also thankful for the leaders of these healthcare facilities, who have difficult decisions to make and balance sheets and staffing levels that don’t necessarily work with the job they are tasked with getting done. With limited resources to begin with, our healthcare providers are doing everything they can to get the job done…and I know that they will.

Likewise, I’m thankful for our school personnel, all of whom have faced unbelievable odds this year to educate our children. Like our rural hospitals, education was a challenge before, and it is even more so now.

I’m thankful for our businesses. For any small business, this has been the most difficult year in their history. This Saturday is Small Business Saturday. It happens every year, but this year might be the one that keeps the doors open. The best way to say thanks to our small businesses is to shop locally.

Finally, I’m thankful for our local community leaders. From Parkville to Palmyra, each community in North Missouri is a little bit different, and folks are coming together to do what’s best for their area. This year has been filled with more stress and difficult decisions than most have ever faced before. As we enter the holiday season, keep in mind a little grace goes a long way. Failure to give and receive it means you’ve probably missed the point.

This year has made it clear that we need those around us—our friends, family and neighbors. There’s no way we could make it through a year like this without them. One of the things I love about North Missouri is that we help each other through tough circumstances. This year has been no different. Take a moment this week to say thanks to those who have been a blessing to you throughout 2020. It will go a long way.


Sam Graves