John Harrigan: A partial thank-you list as Turkey Day draws nigh
I'd bet that if all of us who roam New Hampshire's hills and valleys for various outdoor pursuits were asked what item was sure to make our Top 10 Thankful List, it'd be open land.
This thought came to me again the other day when I set out from the barn door for a two-hour hunt near the end of the day. On that swing through half a dozen woods, pastures and fields owned by neighbors and townspeople and people from away, I'd see not even a hint of a "No Hunting" or "No Trespassing" sign. In fact, I'd be hard put to think of a "No" anything poster anywhere within a day's hunting distance from home.
New England in general - and New Hampshire in particular - have a strong tradition of open land, which means that if land is not specifically posted against it, there is implied permission for you to venture there. All too many of us, I think, take this great privilege and stubborn tradition for granted.
On a day around Thanksgiving when I was 14, I got my first deer, a 140-pound doe. Just as she always was when I brought home a stringer of fish for supper, my Mom was tickled to death to see it hanging in the barn.
Finally, at this time of year I try to say a mental thank-you for the thousands of volunteers and organizations that try to make sure no one is forgotten over the holidays. All over the state, church and civic groups are working together with social agencies and others in the know to put on Thanksgiving dinners for those who might otherwise go without, and in many communities, delivering dinners and other holiday treats and gifts to shut-ins all over town and countryside.
All year long, but especially during the holiday season, in towns and cities the length and breadth of the state, churches and town officials and service clubs meet periodically to exchange information and see what can be done to help needy individuals and families. What they accomplish out of the goodness of their hearts is nothing short of amazing---and, of course, heartwarming for all.
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