The turkey is thawing, the sparkling cider is chilling, and you’re rubbing your hands because it’s freezing outside. But Thanksgiving is only a few hours away, and with it comes the opportunity to take a moment and recognize all the reasons to be thankful. Gratitude should be a 24/7, 365-day thing, for sure, but Thanksgiving gives most of us a full day to be with friends and family, and the chance to reflect on what we’re thankful for. Here are a few of the things we appreciate about Auburn. Those who work on Thanksgiving to provide us a day off. From the staff at the Auburn Journal putting together Friday’s paper to the crews readying stores for Black Friday, you deserve much more than leftover turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Hardworking teachers who, despite the challenges of reduced funding and larger classroom sizes, put children first in their day – from the sound of the first bell to late-night grading sessions. Auburn’s temperate climate. While the change of seasons brings the occasional hassle of a clogged storm drain or a slick morning road, our weather provides abundant sunshine and nourishing rain in most seasons, without the threat of tornadoes, hurricanes and floods that much of the country deals with. David and Lorie Ford, and others who endure heartache to give back to the community. The Fords have shown great strength through the unexpected death of their 19-year-old son, Michael, and the loss of their house in the 49 Fire. They are still dedicated to their church and community, and continue to move forward with their lives. Keeping their family together is their focus, and they have done amazingly well as they continue to live life after tragedy. An early winter. At the same time we enjoy rain in the foothills, we’re grateful for big snowfalls in the Sierra. A long ski season is great for the economy, and a deep snowpack ensures adequate water for next spring and summer. Auburn’s small businesses, who continue to employ most of the people in town and who deliver essential goods and services at fair prices. This holiday season, visit them with your smile and your gift list, and tell them thank you for sustaining Auburn during a tough economic time. Local food. The foothills are blessed with small farmers who focus on quality and sustainable farming methods, resulting in superior, seasonal produce and meats that make us all proud. Bundle up and visit the Auburn Farmer’s Market each Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon in the Old Town Courthouse parking lot, and you’ll see what we mean. Local wine. Auburn’s wine scene continues to expand, and word is getting out on the quality of foothills varietals. Surprise your friends with a local bottle on the table this Thanksgiving. Think Auburn First. Now more than 150 members strong, the volunteer group has ushered in an easy-to-remember mantra that all local shoppers should say three times before they start up their cars on Black Friday. Auburn’s physicians, nurses and caregivers. While we’re 20 minutes away from larger health care facilities in the valley, we have a world-class hospital and doctors right here – a blessing we all should offer thanks for this season. Central Square and Streetscape. We’ve been among the critics of the cost and process in constructing Auburn’s town square, but the result is that more people are flocking to it and business is coming back. As the economy rebounds, we look forward to other project phases spreading the love further into Downtown and Old Town. Leaders like Bruce Cosgrove. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce executive director is currently on medical leave, but over three decades he has helped knit together disparate business interests in good times and bad. The chamber and community wish you a speedy recovery, Bruce. Those who have left us over the past year, such as the recent passing of longtime Auburn matriarch Marilyn Gelbach. May the current generation learn from your teaching, and be thankful for those who came before them to make Auburn the enjoyable place it is today to live in. And to all the servicemen and women far away from home this holiday we offer special thanks for sacrificing so much. Without you, none of our gratitude for the community would ever happen. Happy Thanksgiving.