Over the river and through the woods…many of us will go tomorrow, to a dining table laden with traditional Thanksgiving feasts and ringed with family members, all waiting for the chance to dig into Grandma’s top-secret recipe sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. My husband, kids and I will celebrate “Friendsgiving” with close friends who are like family to us.  No matter how you celebrate the fourth Thursday in November, the ribbon weaving the celebrations together is one of gratitude.

The endless string of news stories that bombard us daily bring tragedy into our homes in real time as it unfolds – right now, we are seeing entire neighborhoods destroyed by forest fires in California. We’ve seen mud slides and floods wash away lifetimes of possessions, crumbling houses into piles of debris. Hurricanes flattened cities, stranding families in makeshift shelters with only the clothes on their backs. There’s no clicking your ruby slippers together three times to make everything better again. There’s no place like home – but what would you do if faced with the loss of your home, your neighborhood, the playground where your kids tried to reach the clouds by swinging higher and higher?

It’s really hard to imagine the devastation that these natural disasters bring to people, the instant loss of everything they have spent a lifetime building, and the need to sometimes literally run for their lives. I feel incredibly fortunate that the worst thing I really have to complain about is that we get a lot of snow here. Perspective is a beautiful thing.

At the end of the day, though, there is the ribbon of gratitude. No matter what, we have our families, we have our friends, people who we love and who love us in return. Here in Syracuse, almost always away from the horror of Mother Nature’s wrath, we have the opportunity to put our gratitude into action. Maybe you can build a bigger table, literally or figuratively, for those whose needs exceed your own this holiday season. Maybe this is the year that you volunteer for organizations that are doing good things for your community, day in and day out. Maybe you can open your heart in understanding of those whose culture and beliefs don’t mirror yours. Maybe for every time your Aunt Karen asks why you are still single or don’t have a better job, and you restrain yourself from delivering a grumpy response, you will make a donation to a charity.

On behalf of my colleagues here at the Wladis Law Firm, thank you for allowing us to assist you with your personal and business legal matters this year. We are fortunate to have the privilege of doing meaningful work for you and we are honored that you have placed your trust in us. Our very best wishes of gratitude and true thanksgiving to each and every one of you.

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Jennifer B. Granzow

Ms. Granzow holds a JD from the Syracuse University College of Law. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of business and corporate law, real estate, economic development, and government relations, with an emphasis on grants and public funding.

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