So here I am tipped back in my recliner after eating way too much turkey, stuffing, and a little piece of pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream daydreaming.

It’s Thanksgiving Day, and it means different things to people in the United States, sometimes lost in the shuffle is that this day was set aside to honor the first giving of thanks by the colonists and Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth in 1621.

There were no football games, sales at malls or on the internet, or incessant yammering on all-news, all-the-time cable channels.  It was a simpler time, and these hardy people were just thankful to be alive in this wild and untamed land.

As I was “working off” my meal flipping channels I began to think about all the things we have to be thankful for.

First and foremost are those things that are in our immediate surroundings: a place to live, food in the cupboard, and a wonderful family to share life with. Family is important because without their comforting thoughts and soothing words life would be a lot more difficult to manage.

Then there is the security of knowing we control our success. Success is relative to your own ambition and your ability to translate education and life experiences into some tangible benefit.

Some are successful as small business owners, others as workers in those small businesses, and still others chose to serve their country and fellow citizens in the military or state, federal or local government.

Most of us look at “work” as something to separate from our personal lives; in my experience I spent a lot more of my waking hours with my coworkers than with my family, so choose your work environment carefully, and hopefully you can give thanks for being surrounded by a group of people who you treat with respect and in turn they treat you with respect.

Then there is our town; Lompoc is a small community that is somewhat isolated from the outside world. Even though H Street can sometimes be hard to navigate, we still live in a small community.

Although we have some petty criminals in town, mostly people who just can’t seem to adjust to society’s rules of good behavior, we really don’t have a “serious crime problem” like Santa Maria or Santa Barbara.

Instead, we have a vigilant police force who seem to “manage” the criminal element with a precise policing plan and a population that is generally law abiding and respectful of other people.

And even though some properties have fallen into a state of disrepair, our streets are generally free of liter, thanks to the efforts of both residents and the street sweepers who make their rounds methodically through town.

I just wish some people wouldn’t think that they can just toss their fast-food bags out the window when they are done; it’s not only rude, it makes a big mess.

I have met many friendly people as I go on my morning walk around the neighborhood. “Good morning” or “how are you today?” is the common greeting from all ages and ethnic backgrounds. This attitude energizes me for the day ahead and these small greetings are indicative of the general feel of the town. People are helpful and courteous to their neighbors.

Then there is the religious community; there are houses of worship in every corner of town that are filled with love and encouragement throughout the week.  I dare say that the positive message of the clergy is what inspires our people to do the good things they do every day.

Lastly there is the weather; where else could you find a climate that is neither very hot nor cold?  Some complain about the wind or fog, but when compared to the rest of the nation, we couldn’t ask for better weather.

There is a lot more to be thankful for and I am thankful I live in Lompoc.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry. He has been following Lompoc politics since 1992, and after serving for 23 years appointed to various Lompoc commissions, retired from public service. The opinions expressed are his own.