Our Voice: We're thankful for people who look out for others

February 28, 2013 

Today we're grateful for the folks who deliver the Meals on Wheels and for the fishermen who thought that gash in an alder tree didn't look quite right.

We appreciate the fans who nearly fill the Toyota Center for a hockey game -- win or lose -- and have done so for a quarter-century.

We're grateful for people who learn about other languages and cultures, and for authors who speak to our children in a language and culture they can understand.

Just a feeling

There was a sad but sweet story out of Astoria, Ore., this week. It involved a fatal car accident, two young sisters and a couple of alert fishermen.

A young mother died when her car left the road and was buried in deep underbrush. A 4-year-old girl pulled her little sister to safety, and they huddled together for hours under a blanket.

Two alert fishermen acting on their instincts discovered the wreck and rescued the girls while other cars had passed them by, unaware.

Our hearts go out to the family. We're impressed with little Aryanna Huff's mature thinking. But we're especially impressed and grateful for the rescuers.

We suspect that too many times adults ignore flashes of inspiration because either we are too distracted by life's "busyness" or we talk ourselves out of it.

We're thankful Kraai McClure and Scott Beutler thought to go back and check things out -- then did it.

Americans turn 25

This town wasn't exactly built on hockey, but for the past 25 years it's been a fun diversion for some folks and a reason to get out of bed for die-hard fans.

Either way, it's one more opportunity in the Mid-Columbia. Our community is strengthened by our diversity of interests.

Sports fans have the choice of professional hockey, arena football and baseball teams to cheer for in the Tri-Cities, along with a full lineup of high school and college action, with an interesting assortment of amateur events.

We're glad to see the Americans are still here after 25 years. Maybe this is the year for the cup? Either way, we're thankful to the fans who keep them going.

Meals on Wheels

We can't decide if we're thankful that Meals on Wheels has outgrown its current facility or if we should be concerned that so many people need the service.

At any rate, we certainly are grateful the service is available.

Cooking for one is hard. Apparently cooking for several hundred is difficult too. Especially if you're in a too-small kitchen.

Perhaps the magic of Meals on Wheels, aside from preparing hundreds of meals at the same time -- which we all know requires an actual wizard -- is the network of volunteers who deliver the food.

Homebound individuals in the program get a hot meal and a warm greeting. Both are important.

Language celebrated

It's pretty embarrassing when the 5-year-old kid in front of you at the grocery stores speaks two languages and you don't. Although a great many Americans fit into the single-language category.

It's important to preserve the different languages of the world. Cultures are defined by the languages their members share. To fully appreciate the power of language, you really have to learn a couple of them.

For one thing, there are words in other languages that don't have a corresponding word in English. For example, the Spanish word llovisnar requires an entire phrase in English -- "raining while the sun is shining."

Thinking in a foreign language enlarges our capacity for thought. When you get right down to it, math and music are their own languages, where symbols are attached to meanings.

And maybe a bigger part of learning a language is using that language in the context of the culture. It's good for us to understand each other, and not just by the words we use.

Cavalcade of Authors

Another way we use words to understand each other is to read. We love events like Cavalcade of Authors that introduce authors to would-be/should-be readers.

It's a big event to bring in a handful of young adult authors to the Tri-Cities.

We're a little jealous of the students who get to spend Friday with these authors and an illustrator. But they did earn it.

We take consolation, however, in the fact that the public is welcome to meet the authors and get signatures from 5 to 6 p.m. today at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Columbia Center mall.

It's not the same as spending the day in workshops with them, but it still is a very cool opportunity.

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