We really should celebrate Thanksgiving more than once a year. There are too many things for which we are thankful to cram into 24 hours.

Think of all that we take for granted: freedom, democracy, the Bill of Rights, TiVo, Monday Night Football. People in Third World countries would give anything for those blessings, although they'll need televisions before they can enjoy the last two.

Living in America is reason enough to give thanks, but some folks have more reason to be thankful than others. I can think of a few:

  • Gov. Jerry Brown owes bended-knees gratitude to an electorate that apparently forgot the billions he committed to wildly unpopular high-speed rail when it passed Prop 30 tax hikes to rescue his budget.

  • Richmond voters can be thankful for outgoing Councilman Jeff Ritterman's medical advice about the link between sugar-sweetened drinks, obesity and diabetes without being forced to choke down his proposed1-cent-per-ounce soda tax.

  • East Bay commuters should give thanks that the Caldecott Tunnel's fourth bore is on schedule to open in late 2013, because when a Caltrans project comes in on schedule, it's time to alert the Guinness Records people (see: "Bridge, Bay").

  • Hercules residents can be thankful their City Council members meet only twice a month, because there's no telling how much blood would be spilled and havoc caused if they convened more often.


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  • Residents in State District 14, where Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla ran unopposed, should give thanks that they had the chance to see what a political campaign looks like when there is no mudslinging or hit mail.

  • Giants fans can be thankful their team won its second World Series in three years, and the Giants can be thankful for how much merchandise that means they're going to sell.

  • The Raiders can be thankful there are only 16 games in an NFL season, because any more than that might give ticket-holders grounds to sue for cruel and inhuman punishment.

    As is our annual custom, for a truer appreciation of the occasion, we solicited the help of younger minds -- in this case, Kathy DeRenzi's first-grade class at Quail Run Elementary School in San Ramon. Her students were thankful for just about everything.

    Sahasra was "thankful for people because they help you." What a nice thought. Sahasra will learn that this is more of a wish than a reality, but why spoil the moment?

    Alex was "thankful for the world because it gives us everything we need." Sometimes it gives us a whole lot more than that, Alex, but the sentiment is sweet.

    Keerthana was "thankful for teachers because they teach us lots of stuff." We see where you're going with this, Keerthana. It never hurts to suck up.

    Jeffrey was "thankful for the blue Angry Bird because it is soft." As we said, these kids were thankful for things that might not occur to adults.

    Corbin was "thankful for bones because if we didn't have them we would be all wobbly." There's one more thing adults take for granted. Come to think of it, we should be more thankful for bones than we are for TiVo.

    Children have an innocent way of reminding us what's important. They see the world with all the cynicism removed.

    One of these days, I hope to try that. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving.

    Contact Tom Barnidge at tbarnidge@bayareanewsgroup.com