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What’s on your gratitude list?

JEFF KEATING

With the holidays comes reflection, a look back at what the year has

wrought, an acknowledgment of battles won and lost and lessons

learned over the course of the past 365 days.

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As I mentally review 2003, I am grateful.

I am grateful that I am sound of mind and body, when many other

people are not so fortunate. I am grateful that most of those close

to me are equally well.

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I am grateful that my son, Colin, who turned 13 three weeks ago,

is shaping up to be a (mostly) responsible young adult with a good

sense of humor, a developing sense of the importance of commitment,

good manners and compassion for others.

I am grateful that my wife, Jessica, who could pretty much have

had her pick of any guy out there, for some reason chose me a couple

of years ago and married me in May. Seven months later, she still

seems to like me, so I’m on something of a roll with that whole deal.

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I am grateful to live in a community populated and governed by

people who care about things like good schools, clean streets and low

crime, and make a contribution to preserve those things.

I am grateful that for all our differences, all our squabbles

petty and grave, and all our vitriol, we somehow manage to find a way

to muddle through and get along in our communities. When you consider

the many divisive issues we’ve faced this past year and in previous

years, it’s a wonder we all still talk to one another. Yet we do,

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usually pretty civilly, and we’re actually making progress on most of

those problems.

I am grateful to have a job that matters to me, in a company that

values my effort and that of the other people who work here, and

which provides me with enough income to live comfortably. It’s not

the perfect job -- what is? -- but I know an awful lot of people who

loathe getting up and going to work in the morning, because they’re

doing something they never planned to do, and have no passion for,

simply because they need to make money. I never, ever feel like that,

and I feel very fortunate.

I am grateful for the people who work here and make a little

miracle land on your doorstep twice a week. Not just the reporters,

photographers and editors, with whom I work directly all day long,

but also the retail and classified advertising staffs, ad operations,

and our administrative team, especially Gregg Bertness and Debbie

Feyerabend. Putting out a newspaper is about a lot more than writing

stories and taking pictures. It’s about running a business, and we

have solid business people doing it for us.

Finally, I am grateful to you, dear reader, for taking a look at

the newspaper every day and letting us know what you think about it.

There’d be no Leader without you.

To everyone, I wish the happiest of holidays and best of new

years. Like each new day, 2004 will be yet another chance to get it

right. We can, if we believe.

I hope you, too, are able to find many things for which to be

grateful. If you look, and think, and remember, you’ll see they are

in abundance.

* JEFF KEATING is editor

of the Leader and its

sister publication, the News-Press. Reach him at 637-3234, or by

e-mail at jeff.keating@latimes.com.


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