America works – Happy Thanksgiving

by Rod Smith

I LOVE being an American....

I didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving. It’s not that we are an ungrateful bunch running around the tip of Africa; our celebrations tend to pivot around Christmas. So, Thanksgiving is always refreshing for me. Despite my 20 years as a Hoosier, and 14 as a US citizen, I still find it delightful to reflect on the bounty of this great nation.

Here are few things for which I am grateful:

America works. Yes. Despite all you can find that doesn’t, let me tell you, America works. I still think I am on candid camera when I enter a post office and people are nice, you know, pleasant, reasonable, cooperative, helpful, and patient. I grew up with quite to opposite. Their efficiency is one of my all-time favorites about this delightful country.

“My” mail carrier, Rodney, (in America it feels as if you get your own!) knows my name. He knows my kids by name. He watches out for us. This is still REFRESHING even though it is 20 years since I set up home within the 465. This might be small potatoes to you, but Rodney once even PAID, out of his own pocket, the extra postage due on a letter I’d received! This singular kindness puts us (the whole nation) miles ahead of the international pack of nations and almost deifies all mail carriers in my book.

I still find it outlandishly crazy that when I got to the USA and ordered phone service. The woman apologized, said there’d be a delay of 4 hours before the service would be turned on. Four whole hours. “A delay!” I told the woman, “is 8 to 12 months!” I’d waited a year for my phone despite growing up in a first-world neighborhood of South Africa.

I am still amused when I recall my first visit to the men’s restroom in O’Hare where above the faucet at the wash hand basin was a sign that declared, and in caps: “TWO SECOND DELAY”. What a great country. Two seconds to “wait” for running water and, here’s the kicker, it’s considered a delay!

America is fabulously efficient. I call the gas company, the water company, and people are nice, they say hello. They know what number I am calling from, and they credit my payment, made over the phone, to the correct account. Unheard of where I come from. You are blessed if anyone answers the phone (emergency numbers included).

Did I tell you I LOVE America and that America WORKS?

I know I ought to write about matters of thunderous gravity like freedom of speech and freedom of religion, and while I don’t take any of these lofty matters for granted, I am really thankful for the “little” things: a mayor’s office that is responsive, a governor who is efficient and human, a church that goes out of its way to serve the poor, and a community, at least where I live, that is sit-com-ideal-neighborhood perfect.

Happy Thanksgiving


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