For reasons that ought to be obvious, I am no fan of Furman Bisher. However, there was one column written by Furman Bisher every year to which I looked forward, and that was his Thanksgiving Day column, in which he listed some of the many things for which he was thankful. Because I believe Thanksgiving is an underappreciated American tradition too often overlooked as the gateway holiday separating shoppers from the Christmas season, I would like to pause and devote a few moments to some of the blessings for which I am grateful, and to invite you to share your own in the comments below:
I’m thankful for a ceiling fan in the summer and a fireplace in the winter.
I’m thankful for faith, health, family, and career, especially in an age in which an increasing number of my fellow men are unable to enjoy one or more of these mission-critical mainstays of life.
I’m thankful I learned enough history to appreciate how much of our heritage is worth fighting to preserve, what misjudgments we have made that are important to correct, and how far we have traveled down the road separating where we were from where we aspire to be.
I’m thankful for freshmen tailbacks who live up to the hype on the field and stay out of trouble off the field.
I’m thankful for the smell of cigar smoke and sour mash whiskey, especially when I’m not really in a position to enjoy the taste of either.
I’m thankful for bookshelves bending under the weight of the accumulated knowledge, wisdom, insight, and artistry of humanity.
I’m thankful for grey suits, white shirts, khaki pants, red sweaters, black socks, and silver britches.
I’m thankful for the opportunity I was given earlier this autumn to preach at my grandmother’s funeral service, which allowed me to bid farewell to the last of my grandparents and, I hope, to bring some measure of comfort and peace to my family upon her passing.
I’m thankful that I’m young enough to be nostalgic for my college days without feeling too guilty and old enough to know better than to miss those days too much.
I’m thankful we get one more season without having to endure the atrocity of a Division I-A college football playoff.
I’m thankful for William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, William Styron, Tom Wolfe, and the Drive-By Truckers, who have a knack for expressing what I know intuitively without being able to articulate intellectually.
I’m thankful for the Arch, the Chapel bell, the pillars on the front of Phi Kappa Hall, the North Campus quadrangle, the Tate Center, the hedges, and the hundred other attributes of Athens that make the University of Georgia distinctly and uniquely the University of Georgia.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to write about something I love before a receptive audience of people I like.
I’m thankful for the airmen, sailors, and soldiers who chose to place themselves in harm’s way out of a sense of duty and a devotion to ideals larger than themselves.
I’m thankful for the knowing smiles of old friends and the heartfelt laughter of my children.
I’m thankful that the Auburn Tigers are having an historically horrible season.
I’m thankful that I know at least some of the ways to improve myself and, however tentatively and intermittently, give at least a few of them a try.
I’m thankful Benjamin Franklin was unsuccessful in his attempt to get the turkey designated as the national bird, both because the eagle is a much more majestic creature and because I would feel bad about eating the national bird later today.
I’m thankful to have graduated from the college named for Benjamin Franklin at the oldest state-chartered university in the United States of America.
I’m thankful for the smell of freshly mown grass that someone else has cut.
I’m thankful for the ability to pray to express how thankful I am.
I’m thankful that a team coached by Mark Richt has a shot at winning a national championship, which reassures me that some of the fundamental principles by which I have guided my life these last 44 years may, in fact, have some validity to them, after all. The fact that he happens to be the head coach of my team is a really nice bonus.