I didn’t know what to expect when we asked our Chagrin Falls Facebook friends to talk about the things they were thankful for this year.
There was just one rule. Good health and family, while undeniable reasons to give thanks, are easy and conventional responses. So, instead of inviting repetition we asked folks to tell us about the small things in life that make their hearts soar with gratitude.
We should not have been surprised by the replies. It seems that there is another reply that many put at the top of their grateful lists. It is a place called Chagrin Falls. What emerged was not so much a Thanksgiving greeting as a Valentine card. See for yourself.
Janice Hill: Coming home to this wonderful village where I was raised. I have been blessed to meet and reconnect with so many wonderful people. In spite of what they say, you can go home again.
Jill Glazen-Robertson: The 28 years I worked with Dr. Donald Kne, a dentist that practiced in Chagrin Falls for 47 years. Never known a man so devoted to his patients. He retired so I retired, too.
Connie Miralia: Lifelong friendships made at Chagrin Falls High School. Priceless.
Karen Wise: The earthly angels of friendship and family that surround you when you need a lift for whatever reason. You know who you are.
Margy Piper Sanders: Lifelong friends (who are more like family) that live in or have lived in this village.
Meg O’Donnell Lynch: Veterans, freedom of speech, a roof over our head, right to vote, a beautiful town to raise our children in, Blossom Time and all its traditions.
Chrissy Nemeth Orzen: Holiday lights/decorations around the village that warm many hearts. The Chagrin Jaycees.
Vanessa Johnston Thompson: Blossom Time. Best time of the year here. Our awesome Heinen’s and local businesses that are warm and inviting, kid-friendly and tolerant. My son cut his hand at Starbucks. They apologized, gave him a Band-Aid and a gift card for a free drink.
Michelle Vocaire Venorsky: To call this village home, to walk into small shops and know the owner and their employees, and they know us and our kids. There’s no better place to call home and raise a family.
Kristen Mapes Wood: Beautiful Cleveland Metroparks and for driving around Chagrin in the summer with the top off my Jeep.
Diane Andrejkovics Demes: Wonderful neighbors. It is a blessing to live on a street where everyone looks out for one another.
John Finley: The police and fire departments, the Jaycees and all the wonderful people that I have met in Chagrin Falls.
Nanci L. Madorsky: Loving friends and neighbors.
Scott Hageman: Walters Road is finally complete. To raise my children in this wonderful community that I was fortunate enough to grow up in too.
Kathryn S. Garvey: Volunteer crossing guards. We will never know how many lives they saved or how many students they impacted with their friendly smile and wave in those bright yellow vests.
Mary Ann Boysen: Eyesight. My eyes are needed more than ever since my husband can no longer read, drive. I am grateful for audible books that help us to be together and enjoy books together.
Nora Boland: Friends and good insurance that got me through a hip replacement, two cataract surgeries and breast cancer, all within a six month period.
Lisa Ober: Being a new first-time grandmother this year.
Kristina Morgan Rose: Chagrin schools who took my son from a new student with an individualized education program to becoming an integrated part of the school community and a middle school student of the month to earning the highest SAT scores in the district for a sixth-grader, and (teacher) Tracie Guggenheim.
Therese Zdesar: Tracie Guggenheim, love, kindness and family values that are a deeply rooted culture of our quaint village.
Lennie Galante: First smell and sip of morning coffee while looking forward to the day ahead knowing I am still up to its challenges.
Robbie Grodin: Walking into the village every morning for my Starbucks.
Kathryn Rahz: Decaf grande almond milk latte and Robbie Grodin.
Kristine Tesar: I am grateful for Robbie Grodin.
Lyndy Bryson: Being able to recognize all the goodness in my fellow human beings. In this divisive time, there is still so much kindness. It is so hard to look past all the negativity but when we do, we recognize the human spirit at its best.
Dana Davis: Living in this lovely village.
Jan Evans: The wonderful life I have lived, my parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren .
Molly Priest Gebler: My job.
Jon Gebler: I live in the greatest country and all those that keep us safe.
Daniel Ducca: President Trump.
Joan Cooper Rusek: The diversity we have in this country thanks to immigrants. It would be boring and uninspired if we were all the same.
Kimberly McCune Gibson: A community that supports small local business and schools that keep my children thriving and safe.
John Bourisseau: The nearly 100 volunteers who have helped create a first class (Chagrin Falls Historical Society) museum and research center.
Carolyn Sihler: Being a volunteer at the Chagrin Falls Historical Society and Museum.
Katherine E. Malmquist: Walking at sunrise every morning and having a great job in a village I grew up in.
Patti Delvillan: Animal lovers (who) made connections which led to the rescue of the sweet deer who was trapped behind the falls recently. Knowing this animal is free reminds me of the kindness of local residents.
Brigid Gilmore: All who keep our kids and community safe every day from our bus drivers to crossing guards, to Chagrin Falls police and fire departments.
Britann Gardiner: Chagrin Falls Park Community Center that takes such wonderful care of our Community at the holidays (and all) year.
Beth Carr Cohen: The Cleveland Browns won two games. That we can stay connected to people through social media. That we live in this very affordable corner of the world and life is so worth living.
Chris Kazan Shinkawa: A job to go to every day that I enjoy.
Corynn Scaminace: The ability and gift of raising children.
Nicole Paolozzi: The ability to learn something new.
Alice Mullins: All the smiling children’s faces that I see at every paint workshop because Dazzle opened their doors to me and my daughter Nikki. (We) set up studio space (which) allows us to offer paint workshops to kids and adults who come to be creative.
Oana Mocioalca: The sheltered life my family has. For the food, clothes and all the “toys,” vacations and travels we enjoy.
Pamela Hann Pray: Beautiful Christmas decorations in our village.
Charlotte Anne Brett: Having a warm house to come home to.
Elle Tracy Ashby: This wonderful, caring village. Blessed to live here.
Candy Lum: Having this wonderful village a part of my life for so much of my life. It is beautiful, friendly, caring and so responsive to the needs and concerns of all.
Angela DeBernardo: Birds at my bird feeders each morning. I’d say it was cheap entertainment but they go through a lot of seed. My neighbors’ knack for gardening which gives me something beautiful when I look out the window. My wood stove, my pets and books. The forest and the easy walks on the trails, splashing in the river in the summer, easy summer evenings meeting new people at the bocce court.
Rob DeBernardo: A warm fire in the fireplace.
Larry Bennett: I met with a new customer today and we discussed all the people we knew in Chagrin and how it is such a unique town where everyone honestly gets along even after the petty disputes. All in all everyone honestly wants to keep this awesome village the way it is. Even though change is inevitable, we will keep history alive and look out for each other.
Paola Bernazzani: My dogs.
Sheilagh Rogers: The crunch of leaves.
C. J. Musser: Living in a community that is genuine and helpful.
Liz Reilly-Nelson: The sound of laughter.
Derdriu Ring: Mary Ann Quinn Ponce for putting our village on the international (film) festival map.
Joyce Gorretta: Our dog Ginger was rescued by PAWS so we could adopt her. She is neither small nor simple but 60 pounds and very smart. Grateful the school bond issue passed.
Rebecca Gruss: Rays of sun shining through trees in Frohring Meadow’s forest.
Sandra Meyer: Living near both Frohring Meadows and Affelder trail. God bless those generous families.
Elisa Budoff: Pools and lakes to swim in, snow-covered hills to ski down, the rolling hills of Geauga to ride my bike on, the sound of my dog pawing at the door knowing I’m on the other side, the smell of coffee, the taste of wine, the aroma of a family meal filling the house, birds singing in the morning, crickets at night.
Linda Levi: Everyday acts of kindness.
Norma Kronenberg: Work that lets me make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Susan Knight Sampsel: My dogs. They always think I’m wonderful and are always happy to see me.
Beth Occhionero Crea: Walks into the village with my hubby, bocce nights and being close to family and friends.
Cathy Hattenbach sent a photo of her three dogs and her gratitude for “these three amazing boys who bring unconditional love to me every day.”
Jo Ann Royer summed up all of the above when she said she was thankful for “all these people who expressed themselves so well and said all the things we feel so deeply.”