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Byrd: Plenty to be thankful for

Thanksgiving, and all the food that comes with it, is right around the corner. One thing my wife and I enjoy doing before we carve into our turkey is giving thanks for a few things we feel fortunate to have.

This year there’s a good number of things I’m thankful for. First and foremost is my family. My wife is the most supportive person I’ve ever met and when it comes to me tackling a project or a hard day, I know she has my back.

Klark Byrd I’ve always been thankful for my children. My 14-year-old is doing well in school this year, and I’m so proud of the hard work he’s done. Sometimes he doesn’t feel like going to band practice, but he goes anyway because he knows the other members of the band depend on him just as he depends on them. My 1-year-old has grown leaps and bounds since his first Thanksgiving a year ago and is now walking, talking and tearing my house apart on a daily basis.

I’m also thankful that both my wife and I have employment. It can be easy to forget that the economy in other states are not as fortunate as the one here in North Dakota, particularly in the Oil Patch. Staffing challenges here mean jobs open on a daily basis. In other parts of the country, unemployment still runs high and many families are hurting financially because of that.

I’m thankful for my health. In the past year, I managed to lose 23 more pounds, putting me at 253 pounds — the lightest I’ve been since before I met my wife eight years ago. Eight more pounds and I’ll reach a goal I set in 2009 when I weighed in at 340 pounds.

I’m proud to say that I’ve gone another year without smoking. That’s a big feat for a man who smoked as much as two packs a day for 13 years. It’s been five years since I’ve quit, and I feel wonderful for it.

I’m thankful for a couple of new friends I’ve made this year, even if they don’t live here and our only means of communication is through texting and phone apps.

There’s just so much to be thankful for: central air in the summer; a working furnace in the winter; a new refrigerator the day after the old one quit; car repairs (twice) that were easily made to get me back on the road; food on the table; improvements in the work flow at the office; awards from the North Dakota Newspaper Association; and so much more.

While I’m not so thankful that I have to rearrange the freezer to fit a frozen bird into it, come Thursday, I’m going to be thankful for the turkey roasting in the oven and all the trimmings to go with it. Because I plan on being hungry and I won’t let my wife’s cooking go to waste.

I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving this year. I know that even though this region has its struggles with growth, traffic and this oil boom, there’s still so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Byrd is the news editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at or tweet him at klarkbyrd.