Rather, they have always believed that every day — heck, every minute — is a perfect occasion for giving thanks. They reminded me of this (through their words and actions) every day of my childhood and teenage years.
And somewhere along the way, the message got through to their thick-headed son, even though I didn’t truly buy into it until I became an adult.
Granted, I still have a tendency to lose my perspective from time to time. (It isn’t my nature to be thankful when the satellite goes out or when Vanderbilt loses). But in my heart, I sincerely believe that every new day, even the worst ones, have more blessings than we can count.
With this in mind, I have always tried to look at both the big picture and the small one when compiling my annual Thanksgiving list.
I believe that, for all of us, our “inventory of blessings” — which is the phrase I have adopted for my Thanksgiving list — should include both the subtle and the obvious joys in our lives, which leads me to say that I AM THANKFUL ...
For people who display common courtesy (which is becoming very uncommon, by the way).
For the utter happiness that permeates throughout our whole house when Jonah, my two-year-old son, dances to the Charlie Brown Christmas song.
For a place to sit in the press box — even if it’s on the roof.
For the way my wife April always finds the perfect present for everyone on the list. Always. It’s uncanny, but it’s a reflection of her thoughtful nature and generous spirit.
For the days when the only deadline I have is trying to get in front of the television before kickoff or tip-off.
For hot, sunny days in the South.
For Vanderbilt football coach James Franklin, who has kept his promise and changed the culture of Commodore football. Temporarily, at least.
For the times when the convenient store has a “2 for $2” sale on 20-ounce bottles of Mountain Dew.
For the plate of food I am going to eat this afternoon (which will outweigh a good-sized house cat) — and more importantly, for every meal I have had this year.
For the times when a Bible verse jumps out at me like a text message from God.
For the great privilege of watching Chipper Jones play baseball for 19 seasons. He wasn’t my hero (that’s my dad) or necessarily the world’s most humble person (also my dad), but he was — and always will be — my favorite baseball player.
For that gorgeous September day eight years ago when a gorgeous girl stood at the altar and said, “I do.” And for the fact that she still does.
For the makers of Honda.
For phone conversations with my adopted grandmother, Ann Keller. It’s amazing how much quicker the ride to work goes whenever we talk.
For the fact that no stranger can come within a mile of our house without Chloe (our pit/lab mix) letting us — and the entire neighborhood — know about it.
For my friendships at work, both old and new.
For all those Sunday mornings during my childhood when I would awake to hear my mom singing: “This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Like I said, my mom has never been one to limit her thanksgiving to one day each year.)
For corny jokes and puns that make me laugh.
For companies that don’t try to come up with a ‘new-and-improved’ item when the old one was perfect. (Are you listening, Wendy’s?)
For my Christian heritage.
For the relationships I have formed with so many coaches in Greater Rome, which proves that coaches and media aren’t really natural-born enemies (regardless of what Nick Saban thinks).
For the way Jonah greets each day with optimism and excitement.
For people who know how to do stuff that I don't know how to do. (As some of you may know, I am not much of a handy man, considering that I have to read the manual to figure out how to open a step ladder).
For pictures and videos that bring back memories of Lemmy and B.D.
For the fact that the “Dawson couple” has now become the “Dawson family.” (And by the way, I still love hearing the phrase “Dawson, party of three” called out at restaurants).
For Thanksgiving itself, which is an item I have somehow managed to leave off the list for the previous 13 years of writing this column.
For the thrill it gives me when Jonah throws his arms up in the air after I say, “Touchdown, Vanderbilt!”
For the late Furman Bisher, who passed away this year, and for the joy I always received from reading his Thanksgiving column.
For the fact that my dad has learned how to text. (We can’t get mom on board, though. Not yet, anyway).
And, as always, for the chance to wish each of you a very happy Thanksgiving.