Kemejuk's Korner

Happy Thanksgiving 2000

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine. From the time I was a child and enjoyed the incredible dining experience of my Russian grandmothers (who seemed to try to out-duel each other at our family gatherings to be the best cook), to the times I sat in solitude and ate what was arguably one of the Oklahoma City’s best offerings of the year, to the lovingly prepared dinners of my wonderful Japanese wife of 27 years, I truly have been blessed. I always take this day to reflect on life and to offer thanks to the “powers that be” for my good fortune, but this year is exceptional. In the past 48 hours, I have lost a very close (younger) personal friend of 12 years, a father of two, to a massive fatal heart attack, and I have survived a major layoff at my work that eliminated dozens of jobs of co-workers of mine who, like me, have obligations, commitments, and family members (especially children) that will suffer the consequences this holiday season. On a daily basis, I complain about getting up for work in the morning, driving in Los Angeles traffic to get there, putting up with bureaucracy and company politics, unreasonable expectations, demands from just about everyone, and working for less than I think I’m worth. I complain about high prices, noisy neighbors, rude people, unfair laws and policies, violence and crime, and the faults of the “younger generation”. I complain a lot, but deep, way deep inside, I really am thankful this year.

I’m thankful for my “underpaid” job, because so many have no job at all. People may be noisy or rude, but I have a home and caring people around me to enjoy and share life with; there are unfair and sometimes violent or even criminal situations in life, but I am spared from those severe personal problems and hardships; the “younger generation” may have faults, but weren’t we all in a younger generation at one time who somehow have magically become “respectable citizens”? I have food, shelter, and good health. I have a loving wife who overlooks and forgives my faults, and a wonderful daughter of the “younger generation” who is on the threshold of college and the dawn of her own life. I have a new, sincere, heartfelt appreciation for life itself.

I am alive. I am well. I am blessed, and I am thankful, and I hope all of you and yours are as well. Happy Thanksgiving, 2000.

Jack Kemejuk
USS Oklahoma City 1968-74