As the holiday season gets officially underway, I am amazed at how, some way, I went from the carefree, spirited child who approaches this season with great anticipation to an adult who is continually hung up in the hectic pace of the holidays, frantically trying to manage the craziness. But when I pause to think about it, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I enjoy getting our family together and catching up, blessing each other with gifts of appreciation and taking time to tell those in our lives how thankful we are for them. Thanksgivings were simple and special when I was growing up. We’d gather family members from all over central Oregon—Terrebonne, Prineville, Redmond and Bend—and everyone would bring a special dish to share during mealtime. I always looked forward to that delicious spread and seeing uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. It was an amazing time of connection and appreciation.
I remember my Dad giving some profound advice to me at one of those gatherings (granted, at the time I was probably more interested in the pumpkin pie and playing with my cousins, but I now so appreciate his wisdom about life). He told me to make sure I didn’t waste a day by not being thankful for something. “Every day is ‘Thanksgiving,” he joyfully said.
And now I pass that great wisdom along to you. As we, the University of Oregon alumni community, enter this holiday season, let’s start by taking time to examine our lives and express appreciation for those who have made a lasting impact. I am thankful for:
- my family
- my friends
- the tremendous team of hardworking staff at the University of Oregon Alumni Association
- my other colleagues
- hundreds of volunteers around the country who are committed to the UO vision of making this campus stronger
- the University of Oregon—the reason why I am fortunate to have so many elements in my life for which I am eternally grateful
For what are you thankful? Can any of those sources of appreciation be traced to your experience at the UO? I sure hope so.
Tim Clevenger ’86