Furman Bisher, a sports columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, use to write a column each Thanksgiving in which he simply listed all kinds of things from the world of sport for which he was thankful. Mr. Bisher still writes for the AJC and for all I know he may still maintain that tradition, but his column is now hidden behind a must-pay-to-view wall at their online site, so I no longer read it. But as I was growing up in Atlanta, I always looked forward to that annual column because he would mention little things, things you wouldn’t normally think to recall and give thanks for on Thanksgiving, and those references would always bring a smile to my face.
In recent years since the advent of email, I’ve patterned some of my Thanksgiving messages to family and friends after Mr. Bisher’s format as I distributed those Thanksgiving messages far and wide by email. So on this Thanksgiving, I’m going to provide an extended retrospective here on my blog of some of those things I’ve written in previous years because they seem as appropriate now as they did then.
From November 28, 1996 comes this first attempt …
Things I am thankful for …
My friends, tangible and electronic
Living at this time
The years I’ve already had
The quality of my life
Experiences and Experience
My parents and ancestors
My extended family dispersed though they are
Challenges to experience
Something warm to bundle up in when it’s cold and a cooling breeze when it’s hot
The taste of water
The seasons of the year
The peace on earth that begins at the center of me and radiates
Stars in the heavens on a dark night
The smells of flowers
Learning to swim
Knowing how to type
My musical skills
Companionship to snuggle up to and commitment to rely on
People of character
Blond haired little boys and curly haired little girls
Front porches on summer nights after dinner, talking
Spirit and its place in the scheme of things
Snow flakes, finger prints, and assholes
A good bowel movement
A restroom when I need it badly
Giving and the joy it brings
Forgetting and the relief it provides
The wisdom of Death
The fortunate accident of my birth, where, colored how, to whom, and when
Winston Baird’s time in my life
Having the joy of being a father
The wonderfully satisfying taste of a piece of bread when you are really hungry
Science, mystery, wonder, and discovery
The sunset in Key West
Talking directly and personally one on one
Being asked my opinion
Other people’s skill with words
Playing with words myself
Having successfully cooked a turkey that wasn’t too dry
And the whole idea of Thanksgiving, because it’s one of those ideas that if it didn’t exist I would have had to think it up myself.
From November 23, 2000, I wrote …
On this Thanksgiving day, I am thankful …
For remote controls for the TV;
For being a part of a loving family, even if we are all in different places this year;
For having a job that I like and can be proud of;
That I am still “sucking air” after so many years;
For memories of other Thanksgivings and other people who shared them with me;
That my youngest son has less than a week to go before he comes home;
That my oldest son and his family have less than a month before they move into their new home;
That my computer, purchased at the end of 1994, is still functional and adequate to my needs;
That both of my old dogs are still around and as devoted to me as they ever were;
That Alex Rodrigez is still a potential Atlanta Braves’ free agent signee;
For still being in contact and periodically active with my old quartet, the Fun Addicts;
On November 22, 2001, I added this list …
Now a year later, though there are some modifications to the list because time changes things, I am still exceedingly blessed and quite thankful.
When I was at Citizens Gas and Coke Utility in Indianapolis in 1994, Moses Dunston used to say “Any day above ground is a good day.” I agree with him, and on this Thanksgiving day, I am glad to still be “above ground.”
I am proud to have reached the venerable age of 60 and grateful that I still feel young, despite the evidence I see in the mirror and the mounting pile of memories that belies the illusion.
I am thankful that when my friends Rocky and Bruno reached the point where their bodies could no longer sustain their magnificent spirits I was able to muster the courage to help them depart this life peacefully and painlessly. And I am unbelievably thankful for the years we shared with each other.
I am grateful that my friend Del Jones’ children were thoughtful enough, even in their time of sorrow, to let me know of their Dad’s death in October. In those early teenage years, he and I shared almost every experience, and I cherish the memories I have of our deep and abiding friendship.
I am thankful that my son, Mike, has but one more weekend restriction to his freedom and that these past two years have passed as quickly as they have.
I am happy that I was able to obtain a new computer this year as a result of an award program at the place where I work. The old computer and the new one are functioning well together in a network and I am able to use both of them.
I’m thankful to have a hobby like this that I really enjoy.
I am grateful that I am continuing to enjoy my job and that I derive satisfaction and pleasure from performing the chores that are a part of my responsibility. Getting pleasure from performing the job, rather than from the rewards or accolades that come from doing it, is one of the great blessings of any occupation.
I’m thankful for the advances of technology that make bigger and better cheaper and smaller. What an amazing positive cycle technology is in!
I am thankful for friends who are still here and those who no longer are. Though thoughts of those who have departed this world or this part of the world often bring a tear to the eye or a lump in the throat, those same thoughts provoke gratitude for what we shared and the pleasant memories that accompany them.
Every day ought to be Thanksgiving because the beginning of another day in which I have the opportunity to count my blessings is a blessing itself.
I am thankful for my place in the line that traces backward in time through my parents and my grandparents and forward through my children into my grandchildren and beyond.
I am thankful for the control I’ve been able to exercise over my passions and my addictions and for the pleasure I derive from doing so. It’s an honor to set a positive example, and I’m grateful to have the chance.
And this year, 2004, I remain grateful for all those things, but I can add …
I am grateful for Blogger, for RSS, for FeedDemon, for Podcasts, for The Bat!, for IT Conversations, for TSE Pro, for Google and for CEO Express, to name but a few of the wonderful applications and web sites that are the product of someone’s amazing imagination and incredible talent.
And I am grateful for you, dear Reader, for taking the time to read this blog and for all the words of encouragement you have shared with me. I enjoy and appreciate the fact that I can write for my own enjoyment and share it with so many so easily.
I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope that all of us keep this sense of thankfulness throughout every day of the year.