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It’s easy to find reasons to be thankful





If you grew up in the South, you looked forward to Thanksgiving Day. Not only was there football and food, but it was the day you got to read Furman Bisher’s annual “I’m thankful …” column.

His first one appeared in 1955, and he continued the tradition for 57 years. His words were so simple and heartfelt that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution still reprints his classic columns.

I’m no Furman Bisher. Nobody is or ever will be. But in the spirit of the holiday – and to pay tribute to one of the great sportswriters and columnists of all time – I want to share some of my blessings.

I’m thankful when the cellphone rings on Sunday, and it’s my grandson. He’s 10 and lives in Albuquerque. I am always inspired to hear the joy and energy in his voice.

I’m thankful when someone uses their blinker.

I’m thankful I had friends who wanted to talk face-to-face, not send text messages.

I’m thankful I’m still able and willing to cut, weed-wack and edge my grass.

I’m thankful every time “oldies” classics – “Free Bird,” “Fire and Rain,” “Gator Country” and “That’s the Way of the World” – are on the radio.

I’m thankful for the sound and smell of rain, especially when I’m inside.

I’m thankful I’ve never been paired in a golf cart with a cigar smoker.

I’m thankful when someone buys me a beer.

I’m thankful to watch holiday parades, marching bands and fireworks.

I’m thankful when the pharmacist tells me it will take 20 minutes to fill a prescription, and it only takes five.

I’m thankful for my father, brother, son, and two nephews' service in the military. We are a better country for it.

I’m thankful for paper plates.

I’m thankful for a perfect medium-rare steak and baked potato with crispy skin, butter, sour cream and chives.

I’m thankful for my former editors like Tom Squires and Chet Fussman, who gave me a lot of latitude, encouragement and guidance in what’s become a 51-year career ... and counting.

I’m thankful when someone gives you a little wave when you let them change lanes ahead of you.

I’m thankful for the book, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

I’m thankful every time UCF wins its football game. I’m especially thankful I was there in 1979 for their first, a 21-0 victory at St. Leo.

I’m thankful I got to see Phil Niekro, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, Pete Rose, Dale Murphy, Payne Stewart, Tiger Woods, Chipper Jones, Walter Payton, Johnny Bench, Greg Maddux, Tim Tebow and Nancy Lopez play in person – and in their primes.

I’m thankful for good Dad Jokes. (I washed the car with my son last weekend. Afterward, he asked, “Next time, Dad, can you just use a sponge?”)

I’m thankful every time I hear the replay of Skip Caray’s call of Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship. With the Pittsburgh Pirates leading 2-0, Atlanta’s Terry Pendleton led off with a double; David Justice reached on an error; Sid Bream walked; and Ron Gant hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly to deep left. We’ll let Skip take it from here: “A lot of room in right-center. If he (Miguel Cabrera) hits one there, we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! The throw to the plate! He is … safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! The Braves win!”

I’m thankful for Taco Tuesdays.

I’m thankful I got to attend nine Jimmy Buffett concerts. “Fins to the left …”

I’m thankful for the salty sea breeze, the sun on my face and the sand between my toes on my favorite island, St. Maarten.

I’m thankful for the bonus fry at the bottom of a McDonald’s bag.

And I will always be thankful to read Furman Bisher’s “I’m thankful …” columns every year.