Things I am Thankful for this year:

The new turn signal at the intersection close to my home. Thank you, city of Arvada. Now, if we could just cook it so that it actually worked more than once every three cycles, or, maybe, get the flashing yellow so I don’t have to sit through it at 11 at night … That would be great.

Thankful for long, lazy, beautiful autumns. This year was one for the record books!

Thankful that so many people in my neighborhood planted White Ash and Red Maple trees 20 years ago.

I am extremely Thankful that, 18 months into this, nobody I know has died from COVID. To my knowledge, only a handful of people I know have gotten it, and only a couple of those cases were anything worse than an inconvenience.

I am also Thankful that *somebody* has dedicated energy and expertise to devising COVID therapies. That seems to be the only viable way forward.

I am Thankful for all the work the building-level people in Jeffccoare doing to ensure that my son is getting in-person learning this year. Both anecdotally and statistically, we know that remote learning was a disaster, so whatever it takes to make live school happen is okay in my book.

To that point, I am also Thankful that we seem to be coming to our collective senses a little bit regarding quarantines and isolation policies. At some point, you knew logic would re-assert itself over addictive, oppressive fear.

I am Thankful for scented pine cones. Just ‘cuz…

I am Thankful for Christmas lights.

I am Thankful for the “Block” button on my phone. The “no call” list doesn’t work nearly as well as I would like, so the ability to accomplish the same thing manually is a big boon.

I am Thankful for sports. I love to play them, watch them, talk about them. Actual sport—not the business of sport—may be one of the few arenas in which we put away our mindless tribalism.

I am Thankful for dogs. Yes, they are work and they can be exhausting… but I know of nothing else in the world that brings such joy and expects nothing in return except for companionship. Someday, I hope to do something worthy of the greeting my dogs give me every single day.

I am Thankful for silence. I know—odd for a musician to love the absence of sound. But, it is the quiet that gives the music its value, and it’s the quiet that gives us the chance to hear what God or the universe or our own natures are trying to tell us.

I am Thankful for that little auto shop on Ward Road with the clever signage. Sometimes witty, this week it has wisdom: “If it hurts, pay attention. The world is trying to teach you something.”

I am Thankful for a talented, measured editor. I know some of you think I go off the rails—you should read the parts that Glenn encourages me to clean up!

I am very Thankful for readers. All four of you. I often feel like I’m just shouting into the wind, and that’s fine—at least it clears my spool. But to know that other people actually consider (and often dismiss) my shouting is a comfort.

Of course I am Thankful for my family, for my good friends, for all the things that make life worth living. You know—the BIG stuff. But, I think part of what I was trying to say last week was that, when we focus on the dreck of our culture, it’s when and because we lose sight of so many simple little things. Taking the time to look around and revel in the simple is a great cure for bad fruits.

Enjoy your Thanksgivings, friends. Enjoy your friends and families and food.

Michael Alcorn is a former teacher and current writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Valkyrie’s Kiss,” a finalist in the ScreenCraft Book Competition, is available now at His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.