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A little thing to be thankful for: A strawberry growing by the house in the back yard, on November 22 -- *very* late in the season for anything to even be alive outside.


I’m always at a bit of a loss when it comes to writing a Thanksgiving column. Thanksgiving arrives near the beginning of one of the worst times of the year for me, and I have to admit there are moments when I feel thankful for absolutely nothing.

“Aren’t you thankful for that first gleaming, untouched snow of the winter, Mark?”

No. *slap* Don’t say bad words like “snow”.

When I do come up with something to be thankful for, it’s usually clichéd to the point of mind-numbing. “I’m so thankful for my family.” Gee, no one’s ever come up with that one before.

“I’m so thankful to have a home.” Have you seen my home? For the last five years I’ve had the most popular Halloween haunted house in the neighborhood, but what nobody knows is I don’t decorate for Halloween.

Still, it’s important to occasionally count your blessings, and we really do have a lot of them, regardless of our outlooks. That’s what Thanksgiving is really for, after all – not for cutthroat morning-after shopping expeditions.

“Okay, we’re almost to the mall parking lot. Grandma, cover me with the roof mounted machine gun, and I’ll break out the grenade launcher. This year we’re getting that flat screen TV!”

So I was able to dredge up a few things I’m thankful for, because I don’t want the people at Christmas parties saying “Stay away from Hunter – he’s bringing everybody down.”

I am thankful for family. Especially the ones with maintenance skills, who’ve saved me
an estimated $238,970.37 in labor costs.

I’m thankful for that leaky roof in the kitchen. I’ve been catching the leaks in buckets, and it’s cut my water bill in half. Would you like some more “tea”?

I’m thankful for my job, which offers insurance good enough to allow me to hire a therapist, who’s helping me work through issues related to my job.

I’m thankful for my grandkids. Just the other day Brayden was sitting on my lap when he reached for my glasses, head butted me, poked me in the eye, and caused me to jerk backward and bruise my skull against the wall. Then he laughed. It was so cute.

I’m thankful for my daughter getting into a good college. Thanks to the tuition, I’m unable to take up bad habits such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, junk food, or shopping. Who would have guessed that putting a kid through college would add years to my own life?

However, the ramen and macaroni and cheese are getting a little old.

I’m thankful to live in a country that, after decades of racial turmoil, can elect a black President. Okay, so I didn’t vote for him, but the point stands. I’d rather have had Shaft as the first black President, because what dictator would mess with him? Or we could have elected James Earl Jones or Morgan Freeman – I don’t know what their politics are, but the State of the Union address from one of those voices would be breathtaking.

On an unrelated note, I’m thankful for Bill Cosby. Actually, I’m thankful for Cosby specifically, and comedians in general. I wasn’t the happiest kid growing up, but we’d play Cosby’s comedy albums over and over, and no matter how blue I was he never failed to cheer him up. It’s possible that I adopted my humor style from his early influence. “Theft” might be a better word. He grew up black in the inner city, and I was a white child in rural Indiana, yet his stories spoke to me. Also, he had an annoying brother, just like I did.

I’m thankful for my brother. Okay, he was covered under family, but he’s fixed so many
of my cars, so many times, that without him I’d still be tooling around on the little red Schwinn bicycle I had as a child.

Of course, he was the one who broke my little red Schwinn …

I’m thankful for my girlfriend, who as I write this is 500 miles away. She gets me. Well, usually – but when she doesn’t get me, she puts up with me.

On a related note, I’m thankful for the internet, cell phones, MapQuest, and cars that get good gas mileage. Driving nine hours one way to meet a girl can only mean I’m in love, or that the women around here all know me too well.

I’m thankful to live in a country where I can just hop in a car and drive nine hours, without getting government permission, going through checkpoints, presenting papers, or fearing every police officer I pass will mark me as an enemy of the state. I may or may not have the money for fuel or a decent car, but that’s my happiness to pursue – no one else’s.

I’m thankful that winter always leads to spring.

I’m thankful that people groan at my puns, but never throw rocks. So far.

I’m thankful for scientists, books, librarians, and various researchers. Now that I’m out of school and don’t have to take tests anymore, learning is fun.

Again on a related note, I’m thankful for modern technology. The good old days? I’ll take hard drives, internet, and 300 channels, thankyouverymuch. I may have no interest in Twitter, but this is far from the first generation with its own version of twits.

I’m thankful for Christmas music. Okay, I love Christmas music, all right? Leave me alone. Now that it’s officially holiday time, I can indulge myself with everything from “White Christmas” to Hillary Duff. I told you, leave me alone. And take “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” with you.

I’m thankful for those who put on a uniform and joined the Armed Forces to keep us safe and free. Yes, I’ve mentioned it before, but considering how many of them are celebrating the holidays far from home, it bears repeating.

I’m thankful for the communications revolution. By the end of today I’m going to touch bases with people in Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Europe, and that really exotic place, California. Then I’ll post my grocery list on Facebook, research zombies, and go cat bowling. The internet is like drugs, without a back alley money exchange.

Finally, I’m thankful for you, the reader. Writing a humor column is better than therapy. Without someone to read it, where would I be?

Probably in therapy.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 23rd, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
It sure does get cold here in the winter -- that's why I was so surprised to see it! It's going to cool down later this week, but so far it's been a pretty nice autumn.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 09:33 am (UTC)
There's always something to be thankful for, no matter how sucky your life is.
Nov. 23rd, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
Nov. 23rd, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
“Stay away from Hunter – he’s bringing everybody down.”

I thought you meant your grandson for a minute, and was really quite worried!
Nov. 25th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, no -- *he* brings everybody *up*!
Nov. 23rd, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
**I** would have been quite happy to vote for Morgan Freeman or Bill Cosby. Or James Earl Jones. That would be another wonderful voice to hear over and over, as well.
Nov. 25th, 2009 10:34 pm (UTC)
The first time some rogue nation challenged the United States, then heard James Earl Jones intoning, "Your lack of faith in our armed forces ... disturbs me ..." Well, the people would abandon that particular dictator in no time flat.
Nov. 25th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
That would do it!
Nov. 23rd, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
That is a gorgeous photo! :)
Nov. 25th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC)
There's nothing like seeing some color this time of year!
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
that is one confused berry
Nov. 25th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
Isn't it, though?
Nov. 23rd, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
Driving 500 miles, huh?

You know you're in love when no matter what you do - you do the thing that makes the least amount of sense, just to see her smile.

It is always to say thanks, and to know that somewhere - people are being thankful for you. ^^
Nov. 25th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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