What’s on my Mind

Giving thanks for the people in my life

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As we enter what is deemed to be the official time of year to give thanks, I’m going to use my column space to send out a huge thank you to my husband Fred. (Hopefully he won’t read this until it’s published since he is not one that revels being in the limelight.)

Fred and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary on December 21st. Thirty years of many ups and downs; good and bad; challenges and joy. Some things that every married couple experiences to one extent or another, although we definitely took a hit with the death of our son six years ago.

We have remained a strong, supportive, loving couple. I know our relationship is good and I can’t imagine being on this journey with anyone else.


I don’t know what I would do without him– especially when it comes to handyman kind of stuff. We’ve been in our home for over 20 years now and many things need maintenance. A boiler that goes out, a hot water heater gives up, water filters that need changing–the list is endless–but he always seems to know how to fix things and get them back in running order.

Just yesterday I had our car packed up to run to the dump and do some errands in town. Hopped in, pushed the button to start it…nothing. The battery was dead. Fred was able to jump it and get it running–something I know nothing about and am actually pretty sketched out about trying to jump a battery, especially when things start to spark.

I don’t consider myself inept, and can hold my own–to a certain point. There are just some things I don’t know enough about. A few years ago, I sat down with Fred to get instructions on how to do some of the regular maintenance things he does around the house, just in case. Specifics of, “what to do if…”

It was overwhelming as he went through step-by-step instructions and I think I just kind of zoned out–that list was never completed. So, if the power were to go out on a windy day, I would hope he’d be around to get the generator running.

When it snows, he’s out plowing early in the morning to clear the road for us, and many others who need to get their driveways cleared. He’s the first to offer a helping hand when needed, which comes back full circle when others pitch in to help us when needed. It takes a village.

Fred has been helping out our son, Karl, with projects at the house he recently purchased. It was the Reichel family home for over 60 years, and continues to be so since Karl’s recent acquisition. Fred is always on hand to help out. He has always been, and continues to be, a great dad.

We’re a team. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, and support and help each other with situations, big or small, as they arise. Even though Fred and I don’t tell each other often enough, we appreciate and love each other.

Never take people and relationships for granted. Tell your friends and loved ones how important they are to you and how much you value having them in your life.

So, on this day of giving thanks, I offer my gratitude to my friends, co-workers, family, son, and especially, my husband. You are all very special to me, and I’m grateful for each and every one of you.

Kirsten Reichel lives in Cook. She can be contacted at

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