As I peek ahead to that last page on my wall calendar, there lies December and the fastest moving 25 days known to mankind. Just as I do with my Christmas shopping, I’ll avoid even recognizing that December 25th will be here quicker than a hiccup after a spoonful of stuffing. I wish to savor what is my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving.

One of the truly joyful times during the year for me, is the fourth Thursday of November. The holiday where tradition and family prevail over office parties, blinking lights on a tree and that fruit cake from your Aunt your wife makes you eat because, well, because she said so.

As traditional as a fat turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce (with those indentations from the can) jiggling on the table, Thanksgiving is about family and memories. This year was no different for our family, with one exception, we broke a tradition. This year, instead of food, fun and football at our house, we made the drive to my daughter’s house where she hosted Thanksgiving for the first time.

This was our first holiday with our new granddaughter, Olivia Josephine. Grandparents reading this are probably having their “Awwww” moment as they are reminded of their first holiday with a grandchild. Our first Thanksgiving with Olivia wasn’t the only memory we made that evening. Due to obligations and hectic schedules that can occur when you have a newborn, my daughter and more importantly, Olivia were not able to be with her mother/grandmother and family. Without blinking an eye, we invited my ex-wife and her husband to join in our evening.

I spent the first Thanksgiving in 25 years with my ex-wife. How’s that for breaking tradition or perhaps revisiting an old one? Embracing change provided a Thanksgiving that turned out to be one of the best in recent memory. I believe there is a lesson to be taken from this. Everyone involved in our evening was focused on enjoying our first grandchild and letting the past stay where it belongs, in the past.
Change can be rewarding, I was reluctant to write these monthly messages two years ago, as it was out of my comfort zone. I have been rewarded and am thankful to the many people who have come up to me during the past two years and expressed their appreciation for these monthly articles. Thank goodness I don’t do this for a living.

As we move into December, you may consider embracing a change to provide a moment of joy and Christmas Spirit to someone else. A helping hand at the warming center, an extra dollar to someone in need or even a wave to that neighbor no one cares for, can be the start of a better day.

As the final month of my term as President of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce comes to an end, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season and many thankful memories in the upcoming New Year.

Joe Casteel
2019 President, Lake County Chamber of Commerce
Owner, North Bay Merchant Services

Joe Casteel is a 20 year veteran of the Electronic Payment industry and moved his business to Lake County in 2006. A proud member of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and current President, Joe and his wife Jacie have called Lake County their home since 2001.