George Graham

Thankful for the USA


My daughter Grace and her husband Frank treated Sandra and me to Thanksgiving lunch at the Hilton Garden Inn yesterday. It was really pleasant dining and chatting with them, their sons Jonathan and Adam, and Frank’s sister Maria.

Frank and Grace drove to Lakeland from Miami, and so did Adam, who picked up Jonathan in West Palm Beach. Frank and Grace picked up Maria in Northport.

That’s a round trip of at least 500 miles, and I really appreciate the effort.

At lunch, Grace asked us what we were thankful for, and we all gave short, cute responses. It wasn’t the time and place to go into detail.

So I’ll give it some thought this morning.

I’m thankful to be alive at 83, of course. Most people don’t make it this far along life’s highway.

I’m thankful for my wife’s love and companionship. It would be a bleak life without her.

I’m thankful that I’m still able to hobble around the golf course, even though I play so poorly these days.

I’m thankful for  the affection I enjoy from my brothers, Bill and Peter, and my sister Elizabeth. After all these years, we are still the best of friends.

I’m thankful for my three children and two grandchildren, and I’m especially thankful that they are safe and free from political oppression.

That’s more precious than many Americans might realize.

Even with Trump in the White House. Even with a tiny elite gobbling up most of the nation’s wealth. Even with all the faults we constantly grumble about – racial conflict, political chicanery, boorish, often predatory, male behavior, a flawed criminal justice system, widespread bigotry and hypocrisy…

I’m sure you can think of other things you would like to fix.

But thank God we live in America. This society is not perfect  – far from it – but we have the freedom to address its failures. We are free to speak our minds and vote our conscience.  And if we don’t, there’s nobody to blame but ourselves.

I was born and grew up in Jamaica, beautiful, charming Jamaica. And my island home will always have a special place in my heart.

But I’m thankful to be an American.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for