Editor's note: This will be the final Tribune column by Charlie Searle, who is moving on to new endeavors. We wish him the best!

Not sure how many other gratitude lists are included in this edition of the Trib, but ‘tis the season … way more to be grateful for than to whine about (though that may not stop me in a pinch), so here goes.

THE MATERIAL: Running water, indoor plumbing, airtight structures in which to live and work (and drive), the internal combustion engine, “fossil” fuels (I believe that someday the record will be set straight on this matter), mattresses, blankets and pillows, refrigeration on demand, heat on demand, cattle, pigs, chickens, farms (and farmers), trucks and truckers, planes and planers (er, pilots), stores and stockers, shirts, shoes and pants. (Dogs, cats and goats also.)

THE METAPHYSICAL: Love (filial, agape and eros), compassion, happiness and sadness (without either of which the other loses its impact, alas), pain (the kind that saves us) and pleasure (the kind that saves us), the spiritual Hand that is always at work (without our permission or even awareness, much of the time).

HUMAN: Marissa (first, last and in the middle), Stan and Susan, my mom Lorna (who’s reading this as well, along with my eldest sister Shelley … without glasses!), the rest of my siblings (Monty, Sharon and Lorna, in reverse chronological order), my kids Mike, Caitlin and Sarah (and their mom, Cheryl), Riley, Lili and Mylah and their mom, Marissa (there she is again!), grandgirls Rowan and Salem, Trib editor Michelle Karas (natch!), Monument Living/Palmer Divide Living design guy Marshall Zak and everyone else pitching in on those projects. My basketball and tennis buds at L-P Middle School and Woodmoor Country Club, respectively. Mayors Don Wilson and Bill Bass and police chief Sean Hemingway and fire chief Andy Kovacs along with all our area police, fire and emergency medical crews (see note regarding Stan below), doing good work in often thankless gigs.

MUSICAL: My Ashtōnz bandmates (as good a bunch of dudes as you’ll see assembled) Nathan Gillis, Randy Simonoff, Bob Bowker and Kerry Paige (and Ash-alums Steve Haderle, Jason Figueroa, Scott Mason, Brady O’Connor and Hillary Crider along with ‘Tōnz-on-call Steve Skoog, Frank Hammond, John Cornelius, Ken Bailey, April Gilmore and Sarah Searle). Our 2021 event sponsors Mountain Wellness Dentistry, Team Hourigan Realtors, Dail Landscaping, Kona Ice, Street Smart Auto Brokers, Schur Success Group, Timberview Animal Hospital, Ryan Graham Realty and the Fox Mortgage Team.

MUSICAL PT. II: Our 2021 venue/event hosts around the hood (Boot Barn Hall, Back East Bar and Grill, Wesley Owens Coffee, Reach One Touch One Ministries, Day Lily Salon and Spa, American Legion Post 9-11, Pies and Grinders, Pickin’ on the Divide, Castle Rock Eagles Lodge, Ted Beatty and Teresa Anderson, Larkspur Chamber of Commerce, Brian and Karen Sibell, 105 Social House, A Grazing Life, the Matt Dunston family, the Kona and Knisley families and Secret Window Wedding and Event Venue, Bryson’s Chase, the Town of Palmer Lake, the Western Mining Museum, CR Paradise Horse Ranch, Stan Searle and Ron Lewis, Patrick and Mollie Sawhill). The barn-party crew (Sandy Coyne and Marie Belline, and pasture tour drivers Rex Morford, Dave Ahrens, Tom Tsakopulos). And Ash-Heads everywhere, of course.

SPIRITUAL/PHYSICAL RECOVERY: All my brothers (and sisters) in arms at Walk the Talk in Colorado Springs, Recovery in Action on Baptist Road and the Little Log Church in Palmer Lake. The folks at Spruce Hill Community Church (special tip of the cap to Denny and Jeannie Roth, for aid and abettance above and beyond the ceremonial stuff in September), whose prayers for Stan last week (and since) were felt and appreciated.

FRIENDS AROUND THE ‘HOOD: All of you. (And you know who you are!)

This is just the tip of the gratitude-iceberg; during what we might call an “interesting” year on the family front, my cup runneth way over. And did I mention Marissa? Anyway, happy Thanksgiving to all who see this (and all who don’t), and in the name of Gratitude in Action, we hope to see you at this Saturday evening’s fundraising concert in support of Tri-Lakes Cares (tickets still available at BootBarnHall.com; 50% of proceeds go to TLC). See you in December … cue the carolers!

Charlie Searle has lived in Monument since 1994 and is active in a variety of pursuits in the Tri-Lakes area, as his tagline “Meat, Motors, Music, Media” attests. Contact Charlie at AlongTheDivide@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

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