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Opinion: Thankful for so many things

It would take several pages of the paper for me to list all the things I’m thankful for, but I can at least mention those that are top of mind.

First and foremost, I’m thankful that after nearly two years of a pandemic, my family and friends are healthy — perhaps not wealthy and wise, but healthy. I have also counted my blessings day in and day out that I am retired and didn’t have to worry about losing a job during this rollercoaster time. My heart goes out to those who did.

When I look around our community, I am thankful that so many of our small businesses have survived. I’m sure we all have different shops and business owners we are fond of and attached to. For me, the Enchanted Forest is up near the top of my list. Despite months of spotty business followed by supply chain nightmares, their doors are still open, and the selection is still delightful. No matter how distressing things may be in general, I can count on being greeted with a smile whenever I pop in.

Robin’s Groomingdales never missed a beat and, in fact, seemed to do a booming business. Perhaps that means we pet owners spent more time with our four-legged companions and noticed they required more frequent grooming. What I know for sure is that the groomers were gentle and caring with my senior dog, Banjo. I even got a phone call when Robin read in the “Crier” that my boy had passed away.

Many of our favorite restaurants are still with us too. Vintage Pizza, Novo Cocina, Village Burger, J. Christopher’s, First Watch, Porter Brew & Que, Goldbergs, and Marlow’s — to name only a handful — remained open. Dunwoody even added a new restaurant when Breadwinner Café & Bakery, a lunch spot, opened in the old Wright’s Gourmet location. Though I’ve always cooked at least five to six nights a week, cooking every night got old fast, and it was a welcome break to pick up takeout during the early days of the pandemic. So, yes, I’m thankful that so many of our local dining spots quickly offered more robust takeout menus.

I laughed when one restaurant owner, who ramped up his takeout business, told me that many of his customers didn’t know what to do when they had to start cooking. It seems that plenty of people were accustomed to eating out four or five times a week. I guess I should be thankful that I know how to cook!

I’m thankful that I’m an avid reader and could easily keep myself entertained when going to plays and movie theaters went by the wayside. My reading habit also means I’m darned thankful for the local library and for the Friends of the Dunwoody Library and all they do.

Who knew there was a silver lining to vacations being off the table? For me, being stuck at home helped me to develop a writing routine, and that focus enabled me to publish three cozy mysteries in 2020 plus another two in 2021. Thankfully, that routine seems here to stay.

For many months, the highlight of my week was leaving the house to meet my personal trainer twice a week at Brook Run or more recently at a small gym. Perhaps one of these days, I’ll resume taking a weekly yoga class at the Marcus Jewish Community Center, too. And, yes, I’m thankful for Amir London who found a way to offer personal training when I and many of his other clients weren’t yet comfortable working out indoors.

Thankfully, whenever things went awry with my computer, I could count on Adam Freedman, owner of Dunwoody PC and SOHO Office, to come to the rescue. He was here just this week to confirm that I needed to shoot my printer and put it out of its misery. I told him that if I had to be addicted to something or someone, he was my choice. I cannot imagine dealing with computer gremlins without Adam.

Not a shop, but a small business, I am eternally grateful for the Animal Hospital of Dunwoody Village for taking such good care of Banjo and Puddin’. My boy spent lots of time there during 2020 and 2021, and they were patient and caring, never failing to explain options and ensure Banjo got the best treatment.

Yes, I have gracious plenty to be thankful for and will be smiling over Thanksgiving dinner with friends. I hope you will be too. Happy Thanksgiving.

Award-winning author Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her cozy mysteries locally at The Enchanted Forest and on Amazon. Contact her at, and follow her on Facebook.