by Heidi O’Brien
Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life it’s hard to remember to actually take the time and enjoy our every day experiences. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid, my mom’s 4 brothers and 3 sisters would make it a point to descend upon our small home to celebrate being together. I liked listening to the adults talk and my grandparents tell stories about what it was like when they met. Inevitably, my aunts would break out into show tunes before the night was over.
I like Thanksgiving because life slows down and it helps you appreciate how lucky you are.
At the risk of sounding like a Facebook user insisting on spending the 30 days before Thanksgiving telling you what he is thankful for, I want to share some of the things that I’m thankful for – keeping it local, I’m not going to leave the immediate area of Downtown Helena where I have the opportunity to work every day.
The Helena Tourism Alliance is located at the south end of Park Avenue in historic Reeder’s Alley. Reeder’s Alley was built in the late 1800s and offered residential facilities to the miners who ended up on Last Chance Gulch trying to make it rich. This last summer we were able to get Helena’s oldest document dwelling, the Pioneer Cabin, open for tours.
Guess what? I get to work here! I am pleased to be able to share the history of Helena with hundreds of travelers who seek out this area. I am so thankful to be a part of the rhythms in the Alley… knowing when Justin at Karmadillos is starting his shrimp by the smell, hearing Dundee greet clients of her barber shop who have been friends for years, watching Adonis maliciously maintain the flying leaves throughout the Fall.
So as not to leave my block, I am very thankful for Helena’s beautiful library. The Lewis & Clark Library has done a brilliant job of becoming a community center. They offer programs on how to navigate the internet and programs about the process of building robots. They are the hub of the annual turkey donation for Helena Food Share. And, I know that this is not unique, but they let you use books, for free. And, they order books for you that they don’t have on the shelves, for free. You can get digital books also – for free. How can I not be thankful for the Library?
Moving further down the block, I’m thankful for Park Avenue Bakery and the Old World Italian bread that is baked on Wednesdays. I am also thankful for their new espresso machine. I have never had a better Americano.
I am thankful for Blackfoot River Brewing Company. They have wonderful beers, kind staff and they give back to our community to the tune of thousands of dollars annually.
One day I will be thankful for Bridge Pizza.
I could go on and on about everything in the Helena community that I am thankful, but then I will most certainty have lost my reader.
So cheers to you this Thanksgiving and Holiday season! I hope that you are able enjoy your family, a nice meal and a roof over your head. If you want to come exploring, I invite you to check out my home base here in Helena, Montana. I look forward to sharing Helena with you.