I remember four years back when I moved to the Wheeling area. It completed my working tour of the state in which I went from Fairmont and Morgantown to Beckley and Martinsburg with a detour to Pittsburgh and then back to Morgantown before a 24-year stay in Charleston.
I remember being struck in the Wheeling area by how there seems to be a connection between everyone. And if you’re part of that connection, if you’re in that circle, you’re family.
Yet as I sat down to write this the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, it struck me that West Virginia as a whole is like that. Connected. Family.
Which is something to truly be thankful for on this holiday.
Yes, we squabble. We get frustrated. We’re beaten over the head with being statistically last in, well, almost everything it seems.
Just don’t mess with West Virginia. We can squabble. We can complain. But if outsiders try to shout us down, we stand up. Together.
It’s one tremendous reason to be thankful.
Personally, I could go on and on. My parents are still alive. Ditto those of Joni. My daughter Celeste is striking out on her own in Charlotte. My family is thriving. Joni’s kids are not only thriving but multiplying.
My wish on this day, however, is not to center on that. It’s to pass along a lesson I learned to those not in such a position.
See, although I had a cool job in the past, covering WVU, Marshall and all Mountain State sports, I also had tough times.
I found myself alone much of the time. I found myself unhappy much of the time. And to those in such a position now, my plea is to reach out if necessary. My message is to find a way to get through the tough times — because you never know when the good times will be delivered to your doorstep.
I used to tell my daughter to survey her young life – and look back at it in two years. It seems our whirlwind lives can be completely different in two years.
Now I realize it can take longer. It may take four, five, six years. Whatever the case, though, dig deep and get through those tough times.
I’m so thankful I did. Today I’m truly blessed. I live with the people-loving, hand-waving, big-hearted lady that is Joni. I work for a vibrant marketing firm that is Wheelhouse Creative. I’m connected not only to the fine folks in the Wheeling area, but to those all around the state. As Johnny Cash would say, I’ve been everywhere (in the state), man. And I’m blessed with friends from every stop.
Many times, I didn’t have that perspective. I didn’t see it. Yet I’m thankful I do now. As I said, sometimes it takes time. Sometimes it takes patience.
Hopefully you are like me and in a good place this Thanksgiving. Count – and hug – those blessings. Thank the Good Lord above.
And if you’re struggling? Have patience. Reach out if necessary. I’m here to testify your world can turn around in a New York minute.
God bless you all and have a wonderful and safe Turkey Day.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.