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My, my, how time has flown! Thanksgiving has arrived and has predictably placed me in very high spirits, as I, perhaps more than ever, have realized the depth of my blessings. One such source of gratitude is my role in chronicling life in South Philly, which I have done for this publication for six-and-a-half years. With that tenure and those tasks as inspiration, I offer this list of reasons that I am thankful to comb our neighborhoods as a journalist.

10) The diversity of experiences: From the riveting, such as covering championship basketball games at The Palestra, to the taxing, like waiting for a mini eternity for then-Mayor Michael Nutter to arrive at events, I have had many unforgettable experiences in presenting community news to all of you. I have learned that South Philly has merited many descriptions and that nobody will ever have evidence to call it “boring.”

9) The chance to see people plying their trades: A clutch base hit to tie a playoff baseball game? Check. A masterful performance by a burgeoning actress? Yes, please. These and many other examples have enabled me to marvel at the exuberance and skill that my subjects routinely display. Thank you for making it all look so easy.

8) The acquisition of knowledge: I am a sponge when it comes to learning, so making the acquaintance of so many talented people, particularly chefs, has not necessarily risen my IQ any but has definitely given my brain a few more welcomed wrinkles.

7) Time with colleagues: Like with any field, the newspaper industry sees frequent turnover, but in my time as a member of the Review, I have made many deep friendships, especially with present peers Bill Gelman, Cathy Semeraro, Tina Garceau, and John Gallo, the Mayor of South Philly. Their compassion and commitment will certainly be on my mind when I ready my plate.

6) The joy of tapping into subjects’ lives: Some assignments have been drab experiences where I have just had to be among a herd of reporters looking for the scoop so as to rush back to meet a deadline, but most have found me gaining intimate chances to understand what makes people tick. Interviews for our Lifestyles section have proven especially joyful in fathoming locals’ passion and pursuit and subsequent acquisition of excellence.

5) Thankfulness of subjects: I drew inspiration for this list party due to reconnecting two weeks ago with a 2010 interview subject. This person and I had not spoken since the resulting story ran, but he was still so grateful that I found his pitch exciting. This and similar displays of gratitude really resonate with me, as I am the far more thankful party for having had the chance to be the conduit for their greatness.

4) The resulting friendships: This time with the Review has yielded many amazing friendships and has easily convinced me that South Philadelphians, with whom I interacted in visiting family members here as a boy and in being a registrant at St. John Neumann High School, really are the most gregarious group of people in this city. No matter what the future holds for me with regards to travel, I am sure I will say the same whenever the bell tolls for me.

3) The increase in compassion: I am such a sap that “Christmas Tree” might make a fitting nickname. I confess with no qualms that many assignments and articles have brought on a few tears and inspired many prayers for the well-being of my subjects. Thanks to their perseverance, I have made more sense of this goofy world and count them as the best people among us.

2) The mutual encouragement: I love people who are bursting with enthusiasm for their vocations, so it is definitely wonderful to experience reciprocity when I wish my subjects continued growth in their pursuits. Nothing beats encouragement, no matter how old someone is or how long he or she has logged time in a profession. Thank you for the positive push.

1) The consideration of what is to come: The day that South Philly runs out of tales to tell will be a sign of the apocalypse. Wondering what will be the next big story to chase is a never-flagging interest and the ultimate cause for me to say thanks for giving me so many wonderful tales to place in this paper. May your literal feast be as fulfilling as my figurative one. SPR

Contact Staff Writer Joe Myers at jmyers@southphillyreview.com

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