We're continuing our alphabet soup of thankfulness with part 2 of our community list. Fans of the Inspiring A-Town Facebook page finished out the alphabet last week with things they are thankful for within our community that start with each letter of the alphabet. Our last column was Part 1 with the first half of the letters and today we present part 2. Comments are not my own but have been taken directly from the page and are only lightly edited for space and relevance.
K: Knowledge (ACC, Maritime Heritage Center, Library, Besser Museum, Wildlife Sanctuary, etc.), "k"ommunity, Kresges, kayaking, kids' playground equipment (boat harbor, fairgrounds, and Starlight Beach), Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus, kids, kielbasa, and knowing we have so many valuable and committed volunteer groups and individuals.
L: Lots of lakes, Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library, Lake Huron, Long Lake, Long Rapids Fire Department, live music at the Band Shell, lacustrine, life and the great gift of living here.
M: Marina, Michigan, Maritime Heritage Center, memories of the many wonderful activities and events in the Alpena area, museums (Besser and NOAA), the Marketplace, and Mich-e-ke-wis Park.
N: "N"ever-ending wonderland, nature and natural areas around to explore and enjoy, wonderful neighbors, NOAA center, nighttime in downtown Alpena all decorated with Christmas lights, new shoes from Masters-LaLonde Shoes, Northern Lights Arena, and natural beauty.
O: Opening day (of deer season), Olivet Bookstore, the Owl Cafe, Old Town Alpena, our OBGYN group because they provide excellent women's health care and they deliver 400 babies a year at ARMC, outdoor church services at the Band Shell in the summer, outdoor opportunities.
P: Public Parks, Public Schools, Pewabic exhibit and artifacts at the Maritime Center and Besser Museum, physical therapy, people, Presque Isle Lighthouses, paddling, pedaling, Perch's, Prattscape, pavilion and public restrooms at Starlight Beach, parks, Plaza Pool, and Presque Isle.
Q: quality of life in Alpena (so many take this for granted), quiet days on the lake, quality time to spend with children, the quarry, quiet country roads, quality retailers, and quaint reminiscences.
R: Thunder Bay River, roar of the waves on Lake Huron, bike riding around town, relaxing, reading outside in the country, Rockport, reunions with family, retailers, riversides, and Rotary Island Mill Park.
S: Sandy beaches, sunrises, shipwreck tours, snowmobiling, safe community, sunshine, snow, Soaps & Such, great stores, Starlight Beach, Second Avenue Bridge, Second Street shopping and dining, and sunsets.
T: Trails, trees, Thunder Bay, live theater, trout, Thunder Bay Winery, the Fresh Palate, terrific trails for walking and biking, turbo, toddler park, and the Turkey Trot.
U: Underwater shipwrecks, unicycles in the 4th of July parade, unique career training at ACC (concrete tech, lineman, marine), and Northwood University.
V: Volunteers, veterans, variety of faiths, visitors/tourists, and varsity high school sports.
W: Word of Life Baptists Church, water, winter, wonderful weaving walking trails, and welcoming people of Alpena.
X: Xtreme weather changes, Always keeps things interesting.
Y: Youngsters playing at the Kiwanis and Rotary parks, Yuletide, young adults staying in Alpena creating their future and assuring this great little city continues to thrive, and yard debris pickup in the city.
Z: Businesses that support local economy like Z's Crossroads and Zolnierek Insurance Agency, zillions of water droplets creating Lake Huron and Thunder Bay, and zoning restrictions that create orderly expansion and renovation in our area.
And there you have it. The A-Z of a few things we are thankful for in our community. Personal names were left out so if you'd like to see the full listings visit Inspiring A-Town on Facebook.
What am I thankful for? I really can't decide. I am thankful for many of the things that have been named in this and the previous column. But most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity to live, love and thrive in my hometown. We've made sacrifices to stay here but the benefits far outweigh the alternative. We are close to family, close to nature, and close to a community that cares about its residents. The morning sunshine is pure, the days are only as complicated as you make them out to be, and the night sky stars are more brilliant than your eye can believe. We have a lot to be thankful for.
In closing, I'd like to share a family activity that my Grandma Marge Kline has always had us do at the Thanksgiving table. No matter how robust or sparse the offerings are from year to year, we go around the table and each person says one thing they are thankful for before we eat. Let's spread this tradition around this year. Before diving into the turkey and fixings, sit down with your family and share what you are thankful for.
Mary Beth Stutzman's Inspiring A-Town runs bi-weekly on Tuesdays. Follow Mary Beth on Twitter @mbstutz.