A Thanksgiving Wish While Walking On A Country Road

It isn’t much of a road, really. A single lane gravel covered path through the National Forest near our home in North Georgia. It isn’t a grand road, like an interstate where cars go about their business at 70 MPH or more, or large trucks haul their goods from coast to coast. It isn’t a grand boulevard, like Park Avenue in New York or Michigan Avenue in Chicago.


No, it’s just a country road. But for me, it’s a beautiful road. It’s a place to take a long walk pretty much undisturbed, especially on a Thanksgiving Day like today. It’s a road through hardwoods that have lost most of their leaves, which make a beautiful reddish brown canopy on the forest floor, awaiting the inevitable decay that comes with winter. The pine trees and the holly bushes stand their green guard, awaiting the spring when the oaks, mountain laurel and rhododendron will make their reappearance to joys of many.


This morning was an especially pretty time to take a walk along the road. It was cold (32 degrees), the sky was covered in mist, with puffs of smoke rising from the river that runs along much of my path. As the sun rose, the mist gave way to cloudless blue skies, with the sound of the overnight frost dripping water onto the leaves of the trees below. And the river made its gurgling sound, occasionally punctuated by the report of a hunter’s rifle.


What is so special about this road on this particular day? [more]


We live in difficult times. Washington is in rancor, the world is in distress, many are struggling every day to meet basic needs. We are all affected by the turmoil and distress that confronts us. But somehow, walking along this road lets me clear my mind, think more soundly, and put some of the “other stuff” aside, at least for this special Thanksgiving Day. It gives me a moment to think about how thankful I really am for what I have in my life.


Oh, for sure, as I take my walk I can’t not think about what this day has in store for me, my family and our friends who will gather with us tonight for dinner. Turkey, duck, barbecue, brunswick stew, and pumpkin everything from morning pancakes to a side dish of pumpkin squash during the main meal to the pie that signals the end of the festivities.


But the country road is about a lot more than food. It is about the beauty in our lives, the friendships we enjoy, the accomplishments of our families. It is about being thankful for so many things–so many things that we frequently don’t have the time to think about. The things that make our lives special, even in times of difficulty.


Think of the gold miner who sifts the dirt in the river for days on end to find that one nugget of gold. That precious piece of gold makes it all worthwhile. In a sense, many of us work through so many situations at work and at home to seek that gold, appreciate it, treasure it.


So on this special day of Thanksgiving, I hope you will find the time to enjoy our successes, our pieces of gold. For me, my family, my friends, my colleagues, the organization I work for are all moments of gold in my life. They make it all worthwhile.


But to appreciate that gold in your life, you may first need to find your country road. It doesn’t have to be an actual road. It may be a special chair in a special place. It may be in a place where you can be with friends and family and find a quiet moment to reflect on how fortunate you really are. It may be in a park on a bench, or a boat on a lake. But it is somewhere in your life, and on this Thanksgiving Day, take a moment to find it, savor it, and appreciate the blessings that all of us have in our lives.


So from my road to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

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J. Leonard Lichtenfeld's Biography

Dr. Len

J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, MACP: Dr. Lichtenfeld currently serves as Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the American Cancer Society in the Society's Office of the Chief Medical Officer located at the Society's Corporate Center in Atlanta. Dr. Lichtenfeld joined the Society in 2001 as a medical editor, and in 2002 assumed responsibility for managing the Society's then newly created Cancer Control Science Department which included the prevention and early detection of cancer, emerging cancer science and trends, health equity, quality of life for cancer patients, the science of cancer communications and the role of nutrition and physical activity in cancer prevention and cancer care.  In 2014, Dr. Lichtenfeld assumed his current role in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer where he provides extensive support to a number of Society colleagues and activities. As a result of his over four decades of experience in cancer care, Dr. Lichtenfeld is frequently quoted in the print and electronic media regarding the Society's positions on a number of important issues related to cancer. He has testified regularly in legislative and regulatory hearings, and participated on numerous panels regarding cancer care, research, advocacy and related topics. He has served on a number of advisory committees and boards for organizations that collaborate with the Society to reduce the burden of cancer nationally and worldwide. He is well known for his blog (www.cancer.org/drlen) which first appeared in 2005 and which continues to address many topics related to cancer research and treatment. A board certified medical oncologist and internist who was a practicing physician for over 19 years, Dr. Lichtenfeld has long been engaged in health care policy on a local, state, and national level.  He is active in several state and national medical organizations and has a long-standing interest in professional legislative and regulatory issues related to health care including physician payment, medical care delivery systems, and health information technology. Dr. Lichtenfeld is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University College of Medicine) in Philadelphia.  His postgraduate training was at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute in Baltimore. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national honor medical society.  Dr. Lichtenfeld has received several awards in recognition of his efforts on behalf of his colleagues and his professional activities.  He has been designated a Master of the American College of Physicians in acknowledgement of his contributions to internal medicine.  Dr. Lichtenfeld is married, and resides in Atlanta and Thomasville, Georgia.

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