The wind howls outside, an interesting anomaly as the temperature climbs towards the 50s on this Thanksgiving morning.

Yet the rising temperatures are just one of Mother Nature’s cruel jokes. The thermometer will plunge this afternoon, diving into single digits to remind us that this is, after all, November in the mountains.

Thanksgiving Day 2005: The day we pack up some food and head over to my mother’s house for the usual fixings of turkey, dressing and whatnot. Originally, we planned for mom to come here but the weather is uncertain and we have the Jeeps that fear not the threat of rain, show or gloom of night.

We also approach our first anniversary in our home in Floyd County. One year ago, we left right after Thanksgiving to head back to Arlington to finish packing up the condo for the scheduled closing on November 29. Four days later we would close on purchase of the home here and start moving in – a monumental task that continues one year later.

Thanksgiving is a proper time for reflection and this turkey day affirms our decision to bag Arlington and move here. No regrets, no second thoughts and no doubts. This is home.

Over the weekend we will break out the Christmas lights and decorate the front yard – a task made easier this year by the recent addition of new outdoor electrics. After too many years in a sterile, high-rise condo in the urban morass of Washington, our home will glitter with holiday excess. We’ve earned it and, by God, we will flood the grounds with light.

But before we dive headlong into the joys of the season, we take this day to pause and remember the thousands still displaced by the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the too many families who will spend Thanksgiving without loved ones because those loved ones are deployed in a far-away war. For more than 2,000 families, this will be a sad holiday, spent without the loved ones who died in that controversial conflict.

As Americans, we have much to be thankful for but we cannot sit back and rest because the country faces many conflicts and questions over the conduct of our elected officials and the problems that face a large and diverse society.

On this Thanksgiving, we take a moment to rest and reflect but we also must realize that America is – and always will be – a work in progress and that, as Americans, we are always on the job.