Ask Larry Attleson what he is thankful for and he’ll give you a quick answer.
“What is left of my health and sanity,” he said Wednesday, pausing from the chore of brushing snow off a parked car near Kalifornsky Beach Road.
Attleson said he has “literally got it all” and is grateful for every bit.
“I’ve got a ton of other things to be thankful for,” he said. “… I’m richer than I ever thought I would ever be, but I wouldn’t mind having some money to go with it too, you know? I got great kids, grandkids, a warm clean house and I got groceries. I lack nothing.”
Attleson thinks a lot of people forget about the little things, sometimes even on Thanksgiving — a day dedicated to giving thanks for that which surrounds them.
“I think it gets overlooked more than it should,” he said. “I think people tend to think about Thanksgiving when it is Thanksgiving time, but none of us ever do to the degree we should. You could read all the statistics, but worldwide and even nationwide, we have got it pretty darn good.”
However, according to Gallup International polling agency, 48 percent of Americans considered themselves happy in late November.
According to the same poll, 12 percent said they experienced daily worry and stress far outweighing their happiness and enjoyment.
Chuck Voss, 33, a bartender at The Maverick Saloon in Soldotna said he was happy and thankful knowing he had the opportunity to work everyday. To progress and get better at something and improve one’s situation, he said.
“Just the opportunity to breathe and be here and enjoy it — to have a life you can make your own, pursue the American Dream and all that stuff, you know?” Voss said. “Work hard and have it pay off.
“That’s just something I pride myself on everyday is just being able to work and what ever hard work I put out will pay off for me — for me and mine,” he added.
Like Attleson, Voss said he was thinking about the little things this Thanksgiving, especially considering his electricity was recently out for about 25 hours and the water just started running again Tuesday evening.
“It was a little tough times there for a while last week,” he said.
Voss added he would be spending Thanksgiving in the Maverick.
“It is just me,” he said in regards to his family situation.
“What, bar patrons ain’t family man?” a resident asked from across the bar. “Come on. You’re not going to get any tips like that.”
“Not a problem,” Voss said with a laugh. “It’s good stuff.”
Family, on the other hand, is everything for Tera Cunningham, especially on Thanksgiving, she said.
The 21-year-old Sterling resident said growing up wasn’t necessarily easy. Her parents rarely “got along” and there were several “tough” Thanksgivings.
“For a long time there were not that many fun ones,” she said, noting that trend has thankfully changed since her mother remarried. “So far each Thanksgiving has absolutely been a blast.”
Cunningham, who was manning the cash register at Susan’s Bath and Body Boutique in Soldotna, advocated residents to thank those who helped them along their journey.
“I think people should think back and think of that one person that might have helped them out in the end or like helped them out in some situation and maybe send them a thank you card or go visit and catch up with them … and tell them, ‘Thank you for helping me out,’” she said. “I’m sure everyone has someone that has helped them.”
For Nancy Logan, this year’s Thanksgiving is taking on a more romantic side.
She said she is most thankful for her husband Russell.
“He has got the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met,” she said. “He would give the shirt off his back to anybody that wanted it no matter how cold it gets.”
The 57-year-old Department of Motor Vehicles clerk said this is the first year the two newlyweds would spend Thanksgiving together. Last year, Russell was working on the North Slope, but this year they will spend it together in Palmer with family.
“(I think people should) be thankful for the things they have and not what they want because our society has become very materialistic,” she said. “It is not the stuff you have, it is the people in your life that are important.”
Andrea Morgan said she was thankful for her job as manager at Our Best Friends pet store in the Kalifornsky Beach area, her pets and family.
“Of course I have to have the job to take care of the family and the dogs,” the 28-year-old said with a laugh.
The number of pets — parrots, fish and dogs — not to mention her boyfriend, all amount to a lot of mouths to feed on Thanksgiving.
“That’s why I work at the pet store,” she said.
“They bring me happiness,” she explained. “It is nice to come home to a house full of animals that rely on you. My dogs greet me at my door everyday.”
Morgan said the small things that bring joy often are those things most easily overlooked.
“You can complain about your job, or your car, or whatever is going on, but there are people without jobs right now, there are people without cars right now and I am glad to have 40 hours a week to put in,” she said.