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It is Fall , my very favourite time of the year, in Dorchester The days are warm and the nights are cool. The leaves around the Mill Pond are painted in a vast rainbow of beautiful colours.

Monday October 8th is Thanksgiving. We have some family traditions to follow. In the morning we will go through our closets selecting and bagging the clothes that we wished to donate to the Diabetic Society .

In the afternoon Ella and I will make our pilgrimage to the cemetery to visit our parentís graves. They gave us life and encouraged us to make a difference. We will spend some time reading the tombstones and reflecting on those whose had touched our lives. There is a smattering of society all resting in the same hallowed ground; there are no rich or poor souls in the cemetery. The poorest person in the cemetery is one who lived poor and died rich.

Thanksgiving is a time to question and reflect on who and what we are. They say if you only read two books in your life then one should be the Bible and the other Victor Franklís story of "Manís Search for Meaning" written by him in Auschwitz that was a Nazi concentration camp. He quoted Nietzsche- " He who has a why to live for can bear almost with any how."

Life is to be lived and enjoyed; Not merely endured .There has to be creativity and purpose to your life. One has to have a goal and believe in a future to be happy. "Yesterday is history, to-morrow is a mystery and to-day is a gift, That is why we call it the present."

In Dorchester have the time to contemplate and question the meaning of our lives while millions of less fortunate people try and scramble to survive. Vast numbers of homeless refugees live under very difficult, horrendous conditions and yet still see the meaning for hope and happiness as part of their survival plan.

Depressing, disillusioning mood swings can if we let them can take hold of us to focus only on ourselves. "Woe is me". Too many of us complain too much and do too little to affect positive change.

The loss of meaningful family relationships deprives us all of the ability to leave a legacy for future generations. To live for and only unto ourselves leaves an empty well of despair. Ask any rich man at the end of his life If he wished that he had accumulated more wealth?

Photographer, Paul Musek, taught me that: "Those who have less seem to enjoy it a whole lot more." Family and friends are the (raison díetre), a reason to be.

Finding meaning to oneís life may be equated to discovering happiness. Life is a journey filled with simple joys and tribulations. We constantly strive to find a critical balance that leads us to fulfilment.

Canadians live in an open society that too many of us take for granted. The advantages of a free elementary, secondary education and accessible free health care for everyone improves the lot of us all.

Contributing to the betterment of our fellow citizens makes us a caring society were everyoneís life has purpose. A smile, an outstretched helping hand, is part and parcel of the Dorchester way of life. All you have to do is try: All the coulda, shoulda, woulda excuses are erased by the words: "I did". It matters not how long a person may shall live only how. Try and embrace each day as if it were your last; Remember to take the time to say thank- you for your many blessings.

Len Lesser is an education-career counsellor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com