Monday, November 24, 2008

A Time for Thanksgiving 2008

This year, Thanksgiving has a deeper meaning for me… not only because I’m still here, but also because my many blessings seem richer and fuller. Regular readers know that, a few months ago, I survived brain surgery to remove a malignant tumor which had begun to affect my communication skills. For the time being, I’ve been given a clean bill of health.

While certainly I’m thankful for many of the same things as most other Americans – the price of gas is finally coming down; though the economy is struggling, we’ve still got plenty to eat; and we have just witnessed one of the greatest changes of regimes in American history, but its happening without bloodshed or violence, in an orderly way that would not be possible in most nations – I’m also thankful every day that somehow, I seem to have beaten the odds on cancer, not once, but twice.

As I was preparing to write my weekly column, I glanced back to my Thanksgiving message from a year ago, and I realized that I’m still thankful for the very same things… except perhaps more so. And those words from a year ago – before I had any idea of the challenges I would face this year – suddenly appeared more meaningful and poignant.

So I decided to dust off my Thanksgiving column for 2007 and make it my Thanksgiving column for 2008… with a little touching up.

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Let me tell you about a few of the things for which I am personally thankful:

First, I’m thankful that – this holiday season – I’m not in the middle of one of my months-long Weight Loss Contests. True, I’m currently a big fat giant hippo-pig-whale, but Thanksgiving is just a really inconvenient time for a diet.

I’m thankful for my Mom & Dad. I was blessed with good ones. To paraphrase Lincoln, all that I am, I owe to my mom and dad. Dad’s no longer with us, and that leaves Mom to shoulder the blame alone. But she never complains.

I’m thankful for my wife and kids. Again, I’m blessed with good ones. Two sons and a daughter who make me proud, and a wonderful wife who puts up with me… which surprises me! And I’m thankful for the rest of my family. Altogether, they not only provide me with comfort and joy, but also with a high degree of entertainment value. (It’s actually better than TV – somewhere between Reality TV, Day of Our Lives, Dr. Phil, and The Beverly Hillbillies.)

I’m thankful for our Democracy. Even though my personal choice didn’t win, I’m thankful that the process of electing our president worked. And I’m really, really thankful that politics is over for the year, and for another few months or so before it cranks up again.

I’m thankful for my friends. I have a lot of ‘em, and I know they’re true friends. Sometimes, you’re not sure if a person is a true friend… or just interested in your money. Fortunately for me, I never have to question whether my friends or genuine or not.

Which reminds me…

I’m thankful to be free of the burdens and responsibilities of great financial wealth. (That’s what is sometimes referred to as “taking lemons and making lemonade”.)

I’m thankful to be 54 years old. There are those who didn’t think I’d last this long. By all rights, I probably shouldn’t have.

I’m thankful to live in South Carolina. It’s a great place to live. Now, I know we’re ranked last in the nation in education, health care, income, and lots of other things… and I suppose that should make me less happy to live here. But, somehow, it’s still a great place to live. Statistics or not… I wouldn’t live anywhere else!

I’m thankful for the people I work with: co-workers, associates, clients, employees, suppliers. Lots of good people -- better than I deserve -- hard workers who care about their performance, and generally try to do the right things. They make me look good… at least for a while, until I come along and do something to mess things up.

I’m thankful for my health. Looking at me from a distance, you wouldn’t think I’d be that thankful, given the condition I’m in (and from up close, you’d be even more surprised.) But, in the big picture, as old and out-of-shape as I might be, I’m healthy. I can see and hear, I can walk and talk… and there are lots of people in the world who can’t do those things. So, yes, I’m thankful for my health, as feeble as that may be.

I’m thankful Steve Spurrier is our Head Ball Coach. He’s a great coach. It really gives me hope for next year, even while our Gamecocks are tumbling like drunken sailor down a flight of stairs in a snowstorm. I believe in Steve. Things will get better.

I’m thankful for my readers… especially those of you who have made it this far into my column. You’ve probably already had to jump from the front page to a page somewhere near the back of the newspaper, and it may have taken a lot of time and effort to find the right page. To top that off, if you’re a regular reader, you probably know that my columns tend to run a little long, and sometimes start to fade near the end. Plus, you undoubtedly know that they are usually just random thoughts hastily strung together a few minutes before weekly my deadline, typically with not much rhyme or reason, and very little literary, entertainment, or informational value… and yet, YOU are still here reading…. and for that, I am thankful… and surprised.

I’m thankful for electricity. I think electricity is a good thing, and it’s taken for granted. I take it for granted, too. And I’m not really that passionate about being thankful for it, but I was thinking… there will be thousands of columns like this written this week about “Things I’m Thankful For” … and nobody else will mention electricity. So I thought I would.

I’m thankful for Random Thought Patterns. Without them, I would not have been able to write this column every week for almost a year.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and a Joyous Holiday Season.

1 comment:

twalker said...

Hi Rod! A voice from the past. I am so thankful that you are well. I just found out about your tumor and wanted you to know you are in my prayers. It's been a long time but you will always have a special place in my heart. I tried to send you an e-mail via the newspaper but couldn't get through. I wanted to share with you that my oldest son Rich had a brain tumor removed at Duke when he was 14. He is attending USC and living with my mom. Patrick, who was the first baby on the front page of the Lake Murray News, is 19 and a sophomore in college. I can't believe it's been 19 years...time does fly! I'm an assistant principal at a high school and lhoping to be a principal next year. Take care and I hope you are blessed with many more Thanksgivings. I wish you and your family much happiness. God Bless You!
Trish Winchell Walker