Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of my favorite columnists, Joe Posnanski, always writes a Thanksgiving Day piece about the many things for which he is thankful.

As a blatant rip-off of Joe, but in no way suggesting that I’ll be as eloquent, I give you the following as we gather and give thanks on this special day.


I’m thankful for our screened-in porch and the view out to the 12th fairway, for fall colors and the leaves which now cover our lawn, and for a Kansas sunset. I’m thankful for my short commute and the serenity of driving through our neighborhood and into my driveway as I come home from work each night. I’m thankful for the therapy of a glass of California red coupled with a fine cigar and the sound of my honey’s voice as we de-brief on the events of the day.

I’m thankful for the smells of Allen Fieldhouse, for afternoon games in that grand old barn when the light streams onto the floor, and for the jumping jack students who make the tip-off of any game there a special experience. I’m thankful for thousands of bodies swaying in time to the singing of the Alma Mater, for the shouting of “Rock Chalk!” on the east side of Memorial Stadium and the answered “Jayhawk!” from the west side. I’m thankful for crimson and blue, for the Hill on a fall day, for red tile roofs and for one of the prettiest campuses anywhere.

I’m thankful for coaches who mold the lives of high school students—coaches like Bob Hurley (St. Anthony’s, New Jersey) and Roger Barta (Smith Center, Kansas), and thus touch these kids’ lives forever. I’m thankful for college coaches who lead their programs with dignity and character—people like Bill Self, Roy Williams, Mack Brown, Mike Anderson and Pat Summitt. I’m thankful for voices like Brad Nessler, Ron Franklin, Clark Kellogg and, yes, even Brent Musberger—voices I hear and which immediately transport me to a memory given the number of college games they have broadcast. And, of course, I’m thankful for Bob Davis, the voice of the Jayhawks whose calls of big plays in Kansas history would make a classic “greatest hits” CD.

I’m thankful for the 11th hole at Leawood South Country Club, a terrific golf hole and one I rarely par. I’m thankful for this game which continues to vex me yet provides no better opportunity for “getting away” from the anxieties of life.

I’m thankful for the game of tennis and for the feeling of a crisp passing shot—I only wish I could hit a backhand worth a (insert curse word here.)

I’m thankful for those I never tire of watching play games I love—Sherron, Cole, Todd, Kerry, and Derrell; Tommy and his British Open near-miss, Federer’s majors, Brett’s un-retirement, Tiger, Peyton and our Cy Young winner, Zack Greinke.

I’m thankful for words which turn into sentences which turn into stories. I’m thankful for the written artistry of Joe Posnanski, Rick Reilly and Thomas Boswell and for the literary genius of Dennis Lehane, Pat Conroy, James Ellroy and Larry McMurtry.

I’m thankful for producers, writers and directors who strive to develop quality television programming like Mad Men and Friday Night Lights. I’m even more thankful to those who watch and help keep these programs on the air.

I’m thankful for the emotional experience of a U2 concert, for the haunting artistry of Miles Davis’ “Generique,” and for the pairing of the angelic voice of Allison Krauss with the mature rasp of Robert Plant.

I’m thankful for my church family—for the staff which makes the place run to the many there that have my utmost respect and to whom I use as role models for my life and the lives of my family.

I’m thankful for those who save animals and place them in loving homes where they become a member of a family. I’m thankful for Abby, Beatrice, Bubba, Abby II, Little Forrest, and Baylor…and I miss Lieutenant Dan.

I’m thankful for those who give back, and for those who give to the less fortunate. I’m thankful for the Christmas Red Bag program and for this time of year when stories of grace are a part of what makes this season special.

I’m thankful for my friends and for the amazement which comes when their call or note comes at a time when I need it most. I’m thankful for sincerity, for a kind word, for random acts of kindness and for friends who allow you to do something for them.

I’m thankful for a mother’s love, a father’s concern, a son’s inquisitiveness and a daughter’s sincerity. I’m thankful for a wife’s partnership, support and gift of giving of herself.

I’m thankful for Bobbi, Erin, Jared and Brett. I’m thankful for my and my family’s health.

I’m thankful for this day when I can say, “I’m thankful.”

I’m thankful…

Happy Thanksgiving!

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