Three Things I’m Thankful For

Masland albert 20190816 0644 dickinson magazine fall 2020

by Albert Masland '79, Alumni Council President

Has your crystal ball been working this year? Mine is broken. Perhaps that is a good thing? If I knew on Jan. 1 all of the crazy horrible things that would happen this year, I might have stayed in bed. Of course, then I would have missed the crazy wonderful things as well.  

No, I am not living in a Pollyanna/Hallmark state of denial. This has been a tough year, and I’m sure that by the time you read this in November, more strange things will have happened. But with Thanksgiving in the wings, indulge me for a moment. 

As the drug-court judge in Cumberland County, I work with folks who have been traumatized in ways I cannot imagine or share. Staying clean and sober in the midst of a pandemic that has led “normal” people to overindulge is no easy feat. I often encourage participants to make a “gratitude list” to refocus their minds, and before Thanksgiving I assign an essay: “Three Things I’m Thankful For (and Why).” I am always amazed and inspired by their gratitude.

To encourage you, here are my Dickinson three things:  

  1. Alumni who have continued to engage with the school and their communities despite COVID-19, and those who have reengaged because of it. As attested throughout this magazine, you folks are amazing!
  2. Students who give me hope for the future. Our Mock Trial team (aka “The Mockaholics”) is almost more exuberant about Zoom competitions than the live ones we had last year. Coaching them is a joy!
  3. Staff at all levels who make the tough decisions and do the next right thing no matter the circumstances. Thank you for all you do! 

That’s enough exclamation points, but here’s the crescendo. If I didn’t get out of bed this morning, I would not have heard “End of the Line” by The Traveling Wilburys, which Jon Tarrant ’67 posted on Facebook. As this iconic group (Dylan, Harrison, Petty, Orbison and Lynne) belts out, “Well, it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong.” Stay Dickinson strong! 

Read more from the fall 2020 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published November 6, 2020