Thanksgiving thoughts

Anyone could be forgiven for not feeling overwhelmed with thanksgiving as the holiday with that name approaches.

With traffic, airline problems and $3-per-gallon gas fill ups, traveling over the river and through the woods to grandma's home is no longer likely to inspire song.

Like others in New England, Andover residents are facing a winter during which it's going to cost much more to stay warm as heating costs soar. Those bills are just the beginning. With the dollar crashing and health-care costs soaring, more bills are on the way. There could even be another push for a general override just to maintain town services. On a national level, we remain at war and threatened by terrorists.

And yet | and yet | all it takes is a look around | at other countries, at other communities, or even beyond just our own neighborhoods, to see that the majority of us remain among the world's most blessed.

We are not completely secure, but we are more secure than most, to the point that we take it for granted. It costs us more to travel, but we remain free to do so. We will have plenty | in many cases too much | to eat this week and weekend. We will relax with family, walk or run the Feaster Five, watch Andover High football or our first-place Celtics and historically brilliant Patriots, rather than worry about our immediate survival.

We are indeed fortunate, and should use some of the free time we have this week to reflect on the fact that, even in tight times, we have more than enough to share with others for whom the price spikes of the recent past and the immediate future, and are much more than an irritant. Indeed, for some of our neighbors, they lead to agonizing choices about which bill to pay and which to put off.

The holiday season is a time for family, both immediate and extended. Take the time this week to look for ways to show that thanksgiving is best celebrated by sharing.



An opportunity close by

The Greater Lawrence Technical School is in Andover, but each year only a handful of Andover students attend it.

While some students would be better off pursuing a lucrative career as a carpenter or chef rather than as yet another average liberal arts major, few Andover students head to the River Road High School to learn a trade. There is a stigma attached to the school with some in town, and few parents or youth here seem willing to explore the school's offerings.

However, the school's four-year-old biotechnology program is another sign that it is preparing students to enter either college or growing career fields with high-paying jobs. This week, as the governor speaks about the importance of putting and keeping Massachusetts at the forefront of this life-sciences field, it is as clear as ever that the tech school is a great alternative for some youth | including some of those with Andover addresses.



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