Today is the day when most Americans indulge in a ritual of family dining and pretend, for a couple of hours at least, that the fast-food junk-food snack-food culture doesn't exist and that we still know how to dine together.

Many of us pause for a moment to reflect on what we have for which we should be thankful.

I am thankful for many things.

I'm thankful for continued employment amid economic collapse -- something that many of my colleagues in the newspaper business don't have this Thanksgiving morning.

I am thankful that we are moving toward handing the U.S. government over to a team that recognizes and deals with reality, however ugly that reality might be at the moment.

I am thankful that my family is fairly healthy and that our new driver hasn't hit anything large yet.

I am thankful for the opportunities to travel that I have enjoyed in 2008, especially those courtesy of my sponsors at Ifra, the worldwide research and service organization for the news publishing industry. While speaking at conferences in Goa and Macau, I was able to also visit Mumbai, Delhi, Bangkok, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur.

I am thankful for timing.

Traveling through India with my teen-age daughter, I visited Delhi in September. A week earlier, we would have been present for a series of terrorist bombings.

While in Mumbai, we stayed right across from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (the grand old Victoria Terminus railway station). Yesterday it became one of the prime targets in a series of terrorist attacks. We were there for the Ganpati festival, when people were dancing in the streets. Yesterday was not such a good time.

While in Thailand, my wife and I spent a week in Phuket, where the Christmas tsunami of 2004 slammed into tourist resorts and vendor huts, leaving a trail of death and destruction.

I passed through both of Bangkok's airports, today the scene of mass demonstrations and shutdowns as middle-class conservative Thais seek to overturn the elected government.

I am thankful that neither I nor my family are frightened by these things, and that my kids are learning about the real world first-hand.

There were some low spots this year as well, including the passing of my father last month, but I'm thankful for support of so many friends.

Now, please pass the turkey.