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Community Comment

Thu., Nov. 25, 2010, 6:25 a.m.

Happy Thanksgiving Day everyone!

Good morning, Netizens...

Here I am at my appointed time and place, more or less doing the same routine I perform nearly every day the year, despite the holiday. My family are here around me, some still slumbering at this ungodly hour of the morning; some have already left for work; some of my friends have already left to be with their families but the rites of Thanksgiving Day are already more or less complete for everyone I know. My grandaughters, son-in-law and beloved wife plan to be sitting down together by about five PM today, and some might not understand when I state I could ask for nothing more than to be surrounded by my loved ones on Thanksgiving Day.

In retrospect, I remember other Thanksgiving Days when things were not so clear or dear to my heart. A long time ago I was the titular landlord at a rough-cut pair of apartments off Ankeny in downtown Portland and moreover, I quickly surrounded myself with lots of faux friends from the University and other business interests. I collected the rents, paid the bills and made repairs when someone's toilet or sink stopped working.

On Thanksgiving Day I was oriented toward my social life, preparing for a huge feast at my girlfriend's house and not paying attention to much else. About mid day I received a call from one of my tenants that his next-door neighbor had been discovered hanging in his apartment, dead of suicide, and could I come and tell them what to do. 

Of Steve, I only knew he was a "loner", a strange man with no apparent friends or family, and that he frequently was seeking professional help for some of his personality disorders. I knew he often wandered around the apartment complex at odd hours muttering strange things in an undertone which didn't really seem to freak anyone out, just a tiny annoyance in an otherwise unsettled area of Portland-town. I knew his family had more or less disowned him, he had few if any friends and paid his rent on time using federal social security checks. That morning, standing in what was once his living room, peering at his body hanging from the rafter in his threadbare apartment I suddenly began to cry for no apparent reason other than how, on a day of thanksgiving, a day of feasting and joy Steve had chosen to end his life alone. Later on,  in the word of a hard-bitten street cop who showed up to take a report, Steve had run out of options.That phrase stuck with me since that fateful day, and I always remember Thanksgiving Day in that manner.

Since that day until now, each Thanksgiving Day I always look at my circle of friends and acquaintances to make certain they are not alone, stranded, lacking any other options on this holiday. Leave no one behind.

To anyone else, those who are with family or friends on this day of Thanksgiving, I implore you to hold them close to you, love them with all your heart and pray that you are thankful for all the many blessings that your life may have, remembering of course, that for my family we wish each and every one of you a most happy Thanksgiving Day.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.