Editor's Note: Countdown to Thanksgiving


It’s getting cold outside. I’m even cold sitting here in my office. The days are getting shorter as well as colder; for some people, that means the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder. These wintertime blues affect a lot of people here in the northern hemisphere, some more severely than others. Read more about it here; there are ways to combat this winter funk.

It may seem odd to think of anyone wanting to leave the sunny beaches of Puerto Rico for Illinois this time of year, but the individuals Eileen Oprins brought back with her from the island territory seem only to happy to come.

Of course, they’re dogs – specifically, they’re homeless dogs rescued by a volunteer group that tries to find them homes stateside. You’ll find more about Oprins and her island dogs here.
It’s amazing to think we’re only a week away from Thanksgiving. For some people, that’s a happy thought; it fills others with dread.

Some people won’t attend gatherings of family and friends this year, for a variety of reasons. Others may be daunted by cooking such a huge meal, or maybe they’re panicking trying to figure out how to fit that many people in their house.

If any of those scenarios describe you, have no fear. There are several free community Thanksgiving dinners planned. While those who are struggling financially are, of course, welcome at these dinners, there’s no income restriction. Organizers say some people attend just because they enjoy the dinner and camaraderie (and maybe not having to wash up).

What are you thankful for this year? Each night at bedtime, I ask my 6-year-old what he is thankful for that day. His answers are sometimes so surprising they have changed the way I think about gratitude. In addition to the usual suspects – friends, family, pets – he has mentioned such weighty things as being able to go to school, and such basic pleasures as pillows and bubbles (think about it: aren’t you glad there are bubbles?). I’ll be thinking about those simple things as I make my list for Thanksgiving this year. I have a feeling it will be a long one.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, next week we will begin posting our Give Back Idea of the Day on our Facebook page. We started this last year on a whim, and were amazed at how enthusiastically it was received.

Essentially, each day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, we will post a suggestion of some way you can give  back to help others. Some suggestions are material – we’ll mention items on the holiday wish lists of local nonprofits, for example – while others cost nothing, such as giving blood or spending time with someone who is lonely.

If you’re not our Facebook friend, look us up at MidWeek DeKalb, or click the Facebook icon at the top of our website, I will run at least one suggestion each week here in the paper, but you’ll have to friend us to see them all.

If you have ideas for ways to give back, I’d love to hear them and add them to the list. Share the ways you give back to the community at

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