This is the time of year when columnists all over the country go to great lengths writing about how they are thankful for the Bill of Rights, the pilgrims courage in coming to America and to a higher being for helping us to be a great country.
They also tend to remind us about what sloughs we have become, how we really don't appreciate what we have or that Thanksgiving day isn't about turkey and football.
I decided I am not going to any of these. Instead I want to tell you about the little things I appreciate in life and maybe you can find some connection with some of those rather than being lectured on being an ugly American because you have worked hard all your life and like to have stuff.
First I am thankful that the sun still comes up each morning. In the last few weeks I have watched many programs and read a dozen stories about such cataclysms as an asteroid hitting the earth, Yellowstone National Park turning back into a super volcano, the earth losing it's axis orientation and tilting so that east becomes south and north becomes west, or any of the other hundreds of things that could destroy human life on our planet. It appears that if any of these things happen the only life left will be cockroaches.
At least they won't have to worry about the Orkin man anymore.
Next I am thankful for getting older. Now I know that sounds strange, but there are some real pluses to being considered old by the ones around you. Inside of yourself, of course, you know you are not old at all, but to the outside world you appear to older than dinosaur fossils in the CEU Prehistoric Museum.
When you get old you start to get offers for some kinds of discounts. Now nature started discounting my hair years ago, and it has been having a fire sale ever since, as wads of it go down the drain each month. But now that I am nearing the big six-o I am getting more and more mail telling me I can buy this or that cheaper than I could before I became ancient.
Another thing about getting old is that my kids worry about me more. They worry about my health, my diet, my bowel habits, my doctors visits and my trying to do too much. It's about time. When they were small I worried about their health, their diet, their bowel habits, their doctor visits and them trying to take on more than they could do.
Ah yes, the worm has finally turned.
Other advantages to getting old are in my own head. The pressure is now officially off. I now know I will never be rich or good looking, I will never play basketball in the NBA, I will never para glide, I will never climb Mt. Everest, I will never be able to visit every country in the world (there isn't enough time left), I will never work for the CIA, I will never be a rock star, I will never get to go into space, I will never be a Polaris submarine commander and I won't win the Nobel Prize for Peace. There's something about knowing the possibilities are not limitless that has freed me.
Next I am thankful for my family who treats me like I am a normal human being despite the fact that so often I am an idiot. Just last week my wife was shaking her head at me because I tried to dry a pair of socks that were just a little damp in the microwave. The more I heated them up, the wetter they got.
"You put your dirty, damp socks in my microwave," she said.
I could see she thought socks that had been on my feet the day before were not a sanitary item to lay in the microwave, so I tried to console her.
"Well I put them on a plate," I said.
"You put your socks on one of my plates? Which one?" she questioned even more emphatically as she opened the dishwasher drawer and started to examine all the dishes there for residue of wet sock lint.
In another area of recent complete stupidity, my oldest son has marveled over the years that I preferred compression straps to ratchet straps to tie down loads on my truck or my ATV's. Secretly, (or at least I thought it was a secret) it was because I couldn't figure out how ratchet straps worked. But just last week I had no choice but to use one and somehow I got the idea of how they functioned. I told my son I had now changed my mind and that I agreed with him that they were better than compression straps."So you finally learned how to use them. I knew you would figure it out sooner than later," he said.
Later would have been a real problem. I don't have much time left. Obviously he knew all along that it was not a preference, but inanity.
There are a lot of simple things in life that I just never have figured out and I guess some of them I never will.
Finally I am thankful to my staff here at the Sun Advocate. They put up with me when I am sick and tired (or either), when I am a grump or when I have some great new idea I want them to implement (which is often). They listen to me as I rant and rave and tell them what we should be doing and then they go on and do the right thing, regardless of what I have said. Somehow through all of this, they still seem to like me enough to keep me around.
Last week I made them all pose for a photo which was used in telling the community to have a great Thanksgiving. We just pulled them out of the office to the side of the building to do this, without warning or any kind of preparation. I told them I wanted the community to see them as I see them; hard working people who do their jobs each day. Some were not too happy with me about this lack of preparation, but when it was all said and done the photo came out and we didn't get any calls from people wondering who all the thugs were in the photo.
Some are still mad at me.
But when I do some other kind of idiotic thing they will forget about it and move on to bigger and better things to be mad at me about.
Now that's something to be thankful for.