Column by Hubert D. Osteen Jr.: We all have a lot to be thankful for


Editor's note: This column first appeared on Nov. 19, 1989.

It will be two months and one day after Hugo when Thanksgiving Day comes around. Here are a few things I'm thankful for:

- Trees that are standing.

- Insurance adjusters who pay off promptly - most of the time.

- The invention of the chainsaw.

- Low blood pressure.

- Having Vic Jones as Sumter County Civil Defense director.

- Having a house that's still standing.

- Living in a community where people pull together and help their neighbors after a major disaster strikes.

- Cooler weather and less mosquitoes.

- The Clemson-Carolina game and all those jokes about the two schools. (Have you heard the one about the Clemson man who had trouble making Kool-Aid? He couldn't figure out how to get a gallon of water into that little packet of mix.)

- Electric generators.

- The hundreds of volunteers from across the country who came to this area to help clean up after Hugo.

- The S.C. National Guard, which helped keep the peace in Sumter following Hugo.

- Luke Rogers, who as county engineer helped clear the roads after the blizzard of '73 and Hugo of '89, and for just being around in Sumter County for the past 35 years, doing his job in an exemplary manner that gave the taxpayers and industries that benefited from his cooperation a big bang for their bucks. Happy retirement, Luke, and thanks.

- An Item news staff that literally worked around the clock to cover Hugo and provide essential information to our readers in three counties, and all the Itemizers who pitched in following the hurricane to help put this newspaper back on its feet again.

- Item readers, who understood when we couldn't publish for two days after Hugo and expressed their appreciation when we did.

- Item carriers who, under the most adverse conditions, managed to deliver the paper to their customers in the days following Hugo.

- And Hugo himself, who taught us all a lesson in humility, who gave us a better understanding of the fragility of material possessions and of our environment, who tested our spirit and found we were not lacking in resilience.

Two months and one day later, we all have a lot to be thankful for as a ravaged community rises from the broken trees and demolished buildings toward a tomorrow of renewal.