Now that the turkey’s down the hatch with the Stove Top stuffing and green bean casserole, it’s time to sit back, relax and recall the real reason for Thanksgiving.

McDonald's and Wal-Mart - combined! - make for some heavy gratitude/Thinkstock


We can start by remembering there will be no more green bean casserole for at least another year.

We can continue by counting other myriad blessings America continues to offer.

Sure, our nation has been in tumult these past several years, but there is still ample reason to cheer. After all, we’re not being indefinitely locked up in a Turkish prison for smuggling antiquities we thought were cheap souvenirs.

And we’re not buried up to our waist being stoned to death somewhere in Iran.

We’re in America, dang it, and there is so much for which to be thankful. We’ll keep it brief with a total of six kooky reasons, including the green bean thing, to be glad we’re here in America.

Our Wal-Marts sometimes house a McDonald’s. This fine coupling exists right here in Tucson with the Wal-Mart-McDonald’s combination at 7150 E. Speedway Blvd. The two entities nestle like lovebirds in a single building, waiting for us to buy cheap furniture and fatty fries in one fell swoop.

Can’t make a large percentage of large Americans much happier than that.

Freedom of speech is aloud and well. From nasty anonymous Internet comments to angry slurs and signs, Americans are free to speak their minds. Well, most of the time.

Just don’t tick off the President. Velma Hart, a chief financial officer for the Maryland veterans’ organization AM Vets, found that out when she told Mr. President she was fed up with the state of the nation with him at the helm.

“Quite frankly, I’m exhausted,” she told President Barack Obama at a September town hall meeting that was broadcast on CNBC. “Exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the man for change I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.”

Guess what? She got fired.

Of course, her employer blames budgetary reasons, but what a coincidence.

Creative money earning is another benefit in this Land of Opportunity. Once we speak out, like Hart, and get fired, we can always turn to creative outlets to rake in some cash. We can babysit poodles, do a McDonald’s run for rich folks, sell creepy artwork or, if we’re really in a money crunch, we can always sue someone.

Frivolous lawsuits continue to pile up like dirty dishes. Americans thoroughly enjoy the practice of suing the pants off each other. Here in the Land of the Freely suing, nothing is sacred.

One man sued Providence Hospital in 2002 for $2 million, saying the hospital was negligent because he was able to get away with raping one of its patients.

A woman sued Universal Studios in 2000 for $15,000, saying she suffered mental anguish, emotional distress and extreme fear after paying a visit to its Halloween Horror Nights haunted house.

And then there’s the McDonald’s manager, although he was in Brazil, not America, who sued the Illinois-based restaurant chain for making him fat over his 12 years of service there. He was awarded $17,500.

No word on if he was also suing Wal-Mart for perhaps being too heavy for its cheap furniture after habitually feasting at his job.

At least President Obama is at the helm, which gives us one more reason to be grateful. Even though the country has not magically turned around and even though people like Hart get fired for speaking their minds about the state of the nation, Obama is still a blessing. At least he’s not George W. Bush.

Happy holidays.


Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and Ryngmaster who is most grateful for her dogs, family and Beezel, not necessarily in that order. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at and E-mail

P.S. Ryn is also grateful to have Friday and Monday off and will return Tuesday.

What do you think?

Do you ever make a gratitude list? What’s on it?

What’s your favorite thing about being an American?

What’s your least favorite?