As we approached Thanksgiving, in what at best can be considered a chaotic year, I wanted to know what it was for which we are grateful. We are amid a raging pandemic that is keeping families apart during this holiday season. Our country is divided, struggling to find our footing after a bitter election, a growing racial divide, and more Americans struggling to even put food on their table. As bitter as the election, the aftermath may be even worse, shaking the very foundations upon which the country was founded.

I had no idea what to expect when I asked for what you’re grateful. I asked the question four years ago, and I was very curious how the answer would differ. I posted the question on my Facebook page, emailed the question to several people, and we included it in the WhatsUpNewp newsletter. Things are quite different today than in 2016, when there was no pandemic and when we had come through a contentious election and had yet to experience a Trump presidency. As happened in 2016, I received several responses – too many to include in one or two columns. So, here’s part three, the final installment. 

What I did find was a stark contrast to 2016, and even to what I might have expected just six months ago. I asked people to avoid talking about family and health – those are givens – and avoid politics. But I found even those who spoke about family providing heartfelt responses, and while the pandemic was here six moths ago, its toll grows in illnesses, in deaths, in strains on our hospitals and medical caregivers, and on our overall stress. And, six months ago, we were in the midst of an election, and now we are living in its aftermath, with hope and expectation. 

Four years ago, there were also expressions of hope, of personal and familial expectations. Today, it is hope for a more enlightened future, for an end to a virus that has consumed our lives.

Our participants ranged from family members and friends, politicians to physicians, authors to retailers, from those in their mid-20’s to those in their mid-90’s.  

I’m thankful for the thoughtfulness of all those who responded. 

And to all of you – I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though it might be different this year. Think about the year and find those people to whom you are thankful. Touch base with family via online services, or that old fashioned device – the telephone. Call people who you want to thank. It’s a great day to show your gratitude

Chris Manchester – Thankful that I love to read…the newspaper, magazines, books (“real” and on Kindle). It’s gone a long way to keeping me sane-ish. I’m thankful that I taught myself to crochet and can actually make things for myself and others. I’m thankful for Facebo… 

Mo Swanson – Family, friends, and faith bring me peace on this Thanksgiving.


Elyse Frenchman

Rain in the morning 

My wallpaper 

Sparkling water

Adrenalin

Breakfast 

Parks

Cereal

Dry humor

Sleep

Comfy Couches

Swivel Chairs

The moment you think of a great new idea

Made up words

Pens

Cold air 

I’m thankful for fresh food because I know so many people are struggling and on line at food pantries this season—even more than ever before. And I’m thankful for those who work at pantries and help people get food in any way they can. 


Newport Mayor and Councilwoman Jeanne-Marie Napolitano, 

I really had to ponder this question.  I am most thankful for the wisdom shared with me by others, particularly when I felt sad and alone.  Growing up in a big family had its challenges.  When I was younger, I felt I was sometimes deprived of certain opportunities, but in my twenties I learned through a lot of “shared wisdom” to take responsibility for my own happiness.  I became involved in activities which helped others.  It didn’t matter whether it was with my local church, little league, or some other community organization, there was always someone who needed help.  

Through the years I learned to appreciate the changes of seasons, and the beauty of nature and how organized it appears.  As I have gotten older, I realized everyone has struggles, some more, than others.  I’ve had my share of struggles and heartaches, but the sun still greets me in the morning and God has gifted me another day.  For that I am grateful.

Kathy Vespia –I am thankful for the human species’ capacity to think. It allows people to hope that we will find peace,  our planet can be protected,  people can have their basic needs met, or that we can solve problems and see better days ahead. 

Mo Swanson – Family, friends, and faith bring me peace on this Thanksgiving.

Dr. Barbara Roberts, author of health books and her own story, “Doctor Broad” – I’m thankful that I was fortunate enough, and worked hard enough, to become a physician. Comforting the afflicted and visiting the sick were hugely rewarding. I’m grateful and humbled by the trust my patients had in me.

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Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.