Vol. 3    No. 24
November 27, 2008
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
               A reason to be thankful for
 It is one of those acts that should be done on a regular basis, the act of being grateful. Even when things seem
to be tanking around you, there are always glimmers of hope if you just take the time to see it. The human spirit
— the ability to continue on in spite of what appear to be impossible odds — is what has always carried us
forward. And as the old saying goes, things sometimes appear to be the bleakest before new possibilities appear.
 For the past four days, I have been watching the events that have shaken Mumbai, India with a sense of horror
as at least 195 people were killed by what is believed to be 10 commandos who may have been based in
Pakistan. The scene has been horrific as people from many countries — just like 9/11 — were killed and the
Indian government was ill-prepared to stop the commandos. How the people of India must have felt vulnerable
as they had to wait three days to learn the fate of loved ones. My heart goes out to the people Mumbai. My heart
also goes out to the Indians in America who have watched these events unfold as they await news of their loved
ones. As a global village, calamity in one part of the world brings grief and sadness to all corners of the world.
 I am grateful that I live in a relatively safe corner of the world and that this tragedy was not visited upon me and
my loved ones. But this statement of gratitude also makes me feel just a little bit selfish. Is being grateful that it
didn’t happen to me the same as being glad it happened to someone else? Is my gratitude for being safe a zero-
sum game where someone else looses out as a result? It is a perplexing question. And yet I am grateful.
 I ran into a friend in the supermarket the other day with her husband. I told the husband he looked good,
knowing that he had had a kidney transplant. He told me that he needed another transplant because a virus had
reeked havoc on the kidney he had received. I began to wish him luck in getting another kidney soon when I
stopped. Since most kidney donations come from people who have died in accidents or in other manners that
don’t affect their vital organs, I had to pause to wonder if by wishing him luck in getting a speedy transplant, if I
were not inadvertently wishing harm to fall on someone else. So I backed up and wished that he speedily find a
live donor for a kidney transplant. He said that he had been seeking a live donor, but none had stepped up to the
plate yet. I pray to God that I am not faced with the same kind of choice and I am grateful for the good health
that I have been blessed with.
 On Thanksgiving, there was plenty of food to be passed around at my sister’s house. While we weren’t gluttons,
passing out on the couch and every spare surface after we had eaten, none of us went hungry as we shared
laughs and stories into the late afternoon and into the evening. I think about the food pantries in the Madison
area that have had fewer foodstuffs to stock as the food industry tries to be more efficient with its inventory and
the number of individuals and families needing help from pantries continues to rise as the economy continues to
dive. I am grateful that we had an abundance to eat, that the harvest has been good and I pray that the same
will also be true for those who have fallen on hard times.
 The newspaper business is hard work these days. I remember when I first entered the journalism world 10 years
ago, I would joyously take the boards that contained the pages of the newspaper to what was then Madison
Newspapers and is now Capital Newspapers for printing. At all times of night, it seemed that there were press
people and layout people and all kinds of workers putting out our paper and the papers of many other publishers.
Over the years, their numbers have shrunk tremendously due to the computerization and digitalization of most of
the printing functions and the vast and swift changes that have occurred in the print industry. Now I just see a few
of the familiar faces as the halls seem to be practically deserted compared to yesteryear.
 As The Capital City Hues faces yet another year with some monetary losses, I am still grateful that I can
practice the trade and am still in business. Many have had to leave the profession in the past year, some before
they were ready to. Again, I am grateful that while it is far from perfect, at least I am still doing what I love. And I
wish those who have been laid off or forced to retire early a soft landing and a meaningful life in their future
 And I have to be grateful that my son is gainfully employed in something that he enjoys doing, a job that gives
him dignity. The downside is that he lives around the world in Nanning, China to do that. I haven’t seen him
since August 2007 — except for the times when we are online together for some videoconferencing — and most
parents overtly or covertly want their children close to them. Yet I know with the unemployment rate rising above
6.5 percent with some speculation that it could reach 9-10 percent before it is all over, I have to be grateful he is
working in a place where the need for his skill will not decline in the near future. You can’t have everything that
you want and so the best things to wish for are the things that are most important.
 Yes, it is important to be grateful during even the bleakest times because it always could be worse and we are
blessed when it isn’t. And although it may not have been as bountiful of a year financially — thank you, thank
you, thank you advertisers — I have to be grateful for the strides that The Capital City Hues has made in the past
year. Our circulation is up by several hundred and signs are that it will continue to climb. Our content has
continued to get better and better. Thanks to all of the people who have shared their stories with us. And a big
thank you has to go out to our freelance writers who give the paper its hue and challenging things to think and
talk about. Heidi Manabat, our managing editor, is always a trooper and an important reason The Hues is the way
it is. And of course, there are the press and layout people at Capital Newspapers who make the paper look very
good each edition. It takes a village to make a good, quality newspaper. Thank you one and all!