Editor: Last Friday, Black Friday was the day the nation took to the stores looking for the many bargains offered by the retailers. It was named Black Friday as it supposedly turns the red ink into black ink on their balance sheets due to the start of the Christmas buying season. Time and purchases will tell if the name holds true this year.Black Friday always follows a true American tradition - Thanksgiving Day. It is my hope that all who read this had a wonderful Thanksgiving. In 2005, I wrote a letter with a short history of Thanksgiving and gave thanks for the ill-conceived pay raise by our legislature that year that opened our eyes to the government's excesses.

Hopefully you were not among the countless thousands that have lost their jobs and/or homes. No matter how difficult it may be for us - there are always those who are far worse off. Just go to any city and view the homeless; any hospital and visit the ill; or a cemetery and pay your respect to those who are no longer with us.

My grandmother once told me that when you're down in the dumps and feel you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders; hang your problems out on the clothesline and have your neighbors do the same. After seeing the problems of others, you'll be happy to live with your own. To me, the glass will always be half full.

That's not the case with some in our state government. As corporations slash or eliminate dividends, layoff workers and freeze salaries of those fortunate enough to be kept on the payroll; our legislature will get their annual COLA. This year's 2.8% increased their base salary to $78,315.00, not too shabby for a part-time position, especially when you consider the benefits they receive on top of their salary. To explain those benefits would require much more space than I have here.

One member dissatisfied with his salary and benefits is Rep. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery County, soon to become Senator Leach recently stated that "state lawmakers could make a lot more money in nearly any other job." I invite Senator-elect Leach to resign from government and get that "other job" in the real world. Why does he remain and complain? He knew the salary and the benefits when he ran for office in 2002. Why is he so unhappy? Why is his glass always half empty? I invite his reply.

Be thankful we were able to wake up today in a warm home, have enough food to eat and some money to spend on ourselves and others in this special time of the year. I am thankful even though I haven't a pension and the stock market has not been kind to us this year. I have my life, my family and friends and am looking forward to Christmas. I'm happy!

Bill McIntyre

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