Turkey

"I hope you had a great holiday. If not? Hey, be thankful that it’s over for another year."

While we’re all still in a tryptophan-infused haze, full of leftovers and good cheer, it feels only right to continue being thankful. Herewith, one of Arizonan’s list of people and things that inspire gratitude on a daily basis.

In the cutthroat world of politics, where big egos go bump in the day, they don’t make them any kinder or more effective than Mesa Mayor John Giles. 

He continues to land big employers and grow the city’s downtown, all the while exhibiting dignity and a willingness to work with one and all. We need a few more like him.

When it comes to excellence on and off the field of play, there have been precious few pro athletes like Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz is a first-ballot Hall of Famer as a wide receiver. More importantly, if there was a Hall of Fame for class human beings, Number 11 would be enshrined there too. 

Tucked along an alley in downtown Glendale, A Shot of Java is everything you could want in a coffee house. 

Owner Lisa Dowd makes each drink by hand and serves your Americano or fancy whatever-a-cino with a side of Brooklyn attitude. 

There’s local artwork on the walls, live music and poetry readings and a unique group of regulars always immersed in conversation. The address: 7003 North 58th Avenue. 

If anything can make you be glad to visit Glendale, it’s Lisa’s coffee and pastries.

I shouldn’t be so hard on Glendale. It’s the home of the best sports comeback story in the Valley.

 The Arizona Coyotes (full disclosure: the team is a client of mine) look primed for an NHL playoff run.

 With elite goaltending from Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta, smart game planning by coach Rick Tocchet and a lunchpail mentality up and down the roster, the Yotes look to be for real this season. And no sport is better to watch than playoff hockey.

Have you heard a ton about Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone lately? 

Probably not – and that’s a very good thing indeed. Unlike his predecessor, Penzone seems less focused on headlines and more on law enforcement and running this county’s jails.

 The new sheriff in town has brought quiet dignity and earnestness to an office that could use it.

Teen suicide rates continue to rise in Arizona. To combat this epidemic, Speak Up, Stand Up, Save A Life has created a movement that empowers kids to take action if they sense a friend is contemplating self-harm. 

The West Valley group will have its fourth annual conference in January 2020, introducing more than 4,000 kids to adult facilitators, school district leaders, well-meaning police officers and experts in the field.

 Last year, more than 150 schools sent students, who in turn brought back action plans and ideas that touched hundreds of thousands of lives. 

Have you been to the City of Tempe lately? In my 25 years in Arizona, no city has evolved more in terms of look, lifestyle and stuff to do.

 Used to be, there was Mill Avenue, aggressive panhandlers, some Arizona State football games and dive bars. Now? Tempe Town Lake just turned 20, ASU looks to have copyrighted the word “innovation” and the downtown skyline is a panorama of cranes and high rises. 

If only all those kids didn’t make me feel so old.

I hope you had a great holiday. If not? 

Hey, be thankful that it’s over for another year.