Inez Castor

Thanksgiving is no longer on the horizon - it's breaking over us like a sneaker wave. I have so much for which to be thankful it's hard to know where to start.

Everybody knows that "It takes the whole village to raise a child," but not everyone realizes that it takes the whole village to enable elders to remain in the homes they love. I joke that women become invisible at 60, but it's unfortunately true.

So my first servings of gratitude go to the villagers who have helped me have a warm, safe house, secure in the knowledge that I can live here as long as I can sit up and take nourishment.

A couple years ago Roger replaced my rotted back porch and built a

deck for Rubber Tubby. It was the beginning of a new life, early in my

solitude, and was exactly the encouragement I needed.

Since then I've met wonderful people and seen big changes. I called

George, a handyman listed in the paper. We all know how scary this is,

but George is an unmixed blessing. First he built back steps and

repaired the old pump. Then he chose, delivered and installed both a

toilet and a water heater.

Those of us who can't do the work often don't even know what to buy.

George repaired the ceiling fan I expected to replace with a 30-cent


John and his sons made sure I have a safe roof, which not only repels

water but has increased insulation. Gary and Jacob deliver and even

stack my winter's pellets. Because of all of them, I'm safe and warm and

I have a Thanksgiving suggestion. You knew that I would, didn't you?

Become aware of the invisible people in your world. If they don't

drive, offer to take them shopping or pick up something for them.

If they're primary caregivers, offer to give them a break to

recharge their own batteries.

If your life is too busy or you don't know how to help without

embarrassing both of you, consider this.

We all know someone, a plumber, a veterinarian, a contractor, a

chiropractor or mechanic, who helps where the need is and absorbs much

of the cost themselves. We have optometrists that provide glasses for

children who otherwise wouldn't have them.

One way to help at home is to give money to those people and ask them

to apply it to the next job where they want to help and know the

recipient can't afford their services. These are small local businesses,

reaching out to local families in need.

Years ago Dr. Mark provided more care for a beloved dog than I could

pay for. When times improved for me, it was an honor to repay his

kindness so he can afford to pass it on again. We can help, anonymously

and locally.

And on that fine note, be grateful for all you have and please pass

the pie.

Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at