Everyone enjoys being on top of the heap in sports and in the game of life. Alumni of college teams finishing in the middle of the heap will lament their standing and even may reduce their giving when it continues year after year. However, I like to honor all who play the game whatever their success. Without the lesser teams there is no league to play in and no games to watch. If you participate with honesty and integrity and do your best you should be honored along with the stars.
So it is with life. Those in the trenches are not sufficiently appreciated. As a long time member of the academic scene I have watched many professors rise to the top of the heap and receive accolades galore. And don't get me wrong, they clearly deserved it. However, in the background there are hundreds of people that faithfully go about their menial duties that support academic success. These people clean the test tubes, mop the floor, dust the blinds, maintain the heating system, shovel the snow and do dozens of other tasks to make the environment healthy and welcoming. I am reminded that too often these people are looked down upon. They clearly deserve our thanks.
Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving. I have so many things to be thankful for in my family and friends. However there is a multitude of people underpinning the good life we have. I am vowing to be more conscious of thanking folks who I may not personally know but kindly serve my needs.
Further, tomorrow we will consume the bounty of our land, provided by the farmers and ranchers far and wide. We should pause and be thankful for the dedication of farmers over the centuries who have suffered the vagaries of weather and marker fluctuations. While many farmers have been quite successful, others have slogged away at subsistence level. Though the subsistence level farmer may not produce huge quantities of products, they still provide a stabilizing output for the entire system as well as maintaining open land for our enjoyment. Having grown up on a farm that was in our family for four generations before being sold, I can sympathize with a family spotlighted in a New York Times article today. After 9 generations their farm will be sold to give them funds for their retirement. Lets hope that some other under appreciated farmer will buy it and maintain and underpinning to the supply chain.
And closing on the note of appreciation of the underpinnings, I am reminded to thank the lift operators and snow makers that enhance my life on the ski slopes!