While 2022 has had its ups and downs, as Thanksgiving arrives, I am thankful. Perhaps because the Eastern Shore has been exceptionally beautiful this year, I am, for a change, focused on the positive. The glasses I see are half-full, and I am grateful for that.
Let’s start with the scenic beauty around us. Despite having been on the Eastern Shore for more than a decade, I remain in awe of the water. It still excites me to see herons in motion, and I treasure seeing sailboats race in the distance. I am grateful that, in my area, there are no tall buildings as it remains easy to imagine what parts of the Eastern Shore looked like 100 or more years ago.
I am equally thankful for those in our community who work to keep the Eastern Shore beautiful. They also work to keep development in check. And they remind us that the bay is fragile and only a few bad decisions can change the uniqueness of the Eastern Shore forever.
As I witnessed directly in recent elections, pushing back on the idea that all economic development is good is not easy. Fortunately, resistance is not futile. I see signs that even those who support economic development recognize the value in projects being rigorously evaluated for their impact on the environment, roads, healthcare, schools, and social services. This is a welcome sign for which I am grateful.
I am especially thankful this year for everyone who voted in this month’s elections, including those whose votes were different than mine. The only thing worse than “the other side” winning is voter indifference. If a critical mass ever throws the towel in on democracy, we are all in trouble. That is why I smiled every time I passed hundreds of road signs for candidates that “decorated” our landscape earlier this month. May I also express thanks that most of those signs have now been removed? I am grateful for those who help maintain a clean and uncluttered environment.
In the First District, an exceptional candidate, Heather Mizeur, ran for Congress and lost. I am grateful that she took on a race that was a long-shot and worked tirelessly on a campaign that focused on the Eastern Shore rather than something else. I thank Mizeur for running. I hope her loss this year will not deter her or someone of similar quality from trying again. Every time an exceptionally qualified candidate runs for Congress, the political process is improved. That is why Heather Mizeur deserves our thanks.
I am also grateful for my neighbors. I am originally from D.C. When I moved here, I was not prepared for neighbors to offer polite waves as I passed them on the road entering our community. I am also grateful to neighbors who are friendly to me even if they are not fond of D.C. and do not agree with what I usually write in this space. So, thank you neighbors.
This year (so far) I have been healthy. I am grateful for that. Thanks are due to helpful doctors and those who promote a healthy lifestyle. In particular, I am grateful that I attended a wellness retreat earlier this year and took some yoga classes which taught me that when I get angry or frustrated, I should take a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale. It works.
I would be remiss if I did not mention The Spy and editor Dave Wheelan. I rely on The Spy to further my understanding of the Eastern Shore. I do not know what I would do without it. It has enhanced my perception of the Eastern Shore and solidified my gratitude for being here. So, thank you, Dave.
I also must thank Dave for the privilege of writing for The Spy. Dave has assembled a talented group of writers and contributors, many of whom are “real journalists,” experts in their fields, and have remarkable resumes. I am fortunate to be part of The Spy team.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects. He thankful for being part of the Eastern Shore community.