Thanksgiving is here, and I thought I’d get a jump on the crowd by offering up some things for which I am thankful in 2016.
First off, I am thankful for my family and friends. You rarely get anywhere without those.
I am also thankful I still have a house. Hurricane Matthew could’ve changed that. That’s why I haven’t pitched much of a fit over the mosquitoes or the debris. It can always be worse.
That said, I am thankful for those who have pitched a fit about either mosquitoes or the supposed lollygagging of those who are supposed to be out there picking up debris, since it helps fill up our Soundoff - also known in some circles as the Whine Line.
And I am thankful for the Whine Line, also known in some circles as Soundoff.
I am thankful for the Original Jimmy Smith, and readers will see why next week.
I am thankful the South Carolina Board of Pardon and Paroles chose to keep James Donald Fossick in jail for another year. Fossick killed my sister Lee in 1985 and it’s forever altered those of us who remain, and especially my folks. My sister would’ve been 48 this year, but in the last photos we have of her she’s a lovely 17. My mother carries it with to the parole hearing each year, in case the folks on the South Carolina Board of Pardon and Paroles want to know what Lee looked like.
In that regard, I am thankful for good law enforcement, as we should all be. But I am also thankful for those who stand up and cry out when law enforcement goes too far. I don’t know anyone who wants to live in a police state. I certainly don’t. Good police are a treasure beyond gold. Most police are good. I’m thankful for that, too.
I am thankful for those whom I disagree with on matters big and small. Life would be boring if we were all the same.
I am thankful we come in different colors, and sexes, and shapes.
I am thankful South Carolina seems headed to a bowl game this year. And I am hopeful that Georgia Southern leadership will once again realize that when you stray too far from your option roots you are setting yourself up for trouble.
I am grateful that I am from the poor side of Upstate South Carolina and so are generations of my ancestors, dating back to the 1700s.
I am grateful for my father’s military service, and thankful that I got the opportunity to serve and did so. I have heard others say they never got the opportunity or regret that they didn’t serve. I suspect they mean it. I hope they do. I believe everyone should serve in some capacity, whether it’s the military or Peace Corps or as a cop, firefighter, paramedic, nurse, doctor or Americorps.
I am thankful for my old Army buddies, who are all over the world.
I am thankful that I got to know Joe Watkins for a little while and thankful I know his parents.
I am thankful for my friends in the Pembroke Mafia.
I am thankful for my coworkers at the Coastal Courier and Bryan County News. You never met such a group. Everybody wears about 10 hats and works 60 hours a week. I’m also thankful we haven’t all stopped talking to each other yet, though I suspect there are times we stop listening.
I’m also thankful I’m back in news after a one-year stint at a magazine company, but I am thankful I got the chance to try magazines.
I am thankful for rock and roll, and jazz, and soul music. I am not thankful for opera, but I suspect some folks are.
I am thankful for dogs and cats and movies about dogs and cats. I am also thankful for movies like "Babe," and "Patton" and "Lawrence of Arabia."
I am thankful for "Life in Pieces" and "Doc Martin" and "The Durrells of Corfu" and Arthur Conan Doyle and Ian Rankin and Farley Mowat.
I am thankful for PBS.
I am thankful for Charles Dickens and Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway and Larry McMurtry. I am thankful for H.L. Mencken and Roland Apple and Joseph Heller.
I am thankful for my bird feeders, which allow me to see squirrels up close.
I am thankful for those who confuse opinion with fact, and those who do not. I am thankful for Fox News, because it gives me perspective. I am thankful man created religion in many forms and thankful we do not have to follow any particular one, or one at all if we choose not to.
I am thankful for barbecue and chili dogs. And ice cream. And spaghetti. And cold beer - which I no longer touch - and wine, which I do touch.
I am thankful for salt water and sunny days, and cold wet afternoons when the wind blows and somebody’s playing football on the radio.
I am thankful for my wife, who has the patience of a saint. She has put up with a lot of goofiness over the years.
I am thankful for goofiness.
Lastly, I am thankful this column is done. So, I suspect, are you. Happy Thanksgiving, folks.