Usually, I avoid columns like this. It's become a newspaper cliche to write a "what I'm thankful for" column on Thanksgiving, but this year, I'm giving in.
So, here goes.
I'm thankful for:
People who smile at you in the grocery store, even if they don't know you.
My wife's laugh.
The good health of my friend Chris' triplets - J.T., Hannah and Rachel.
The freedom that allows folks like my friend Ed to go to seminary and follow his calling.
Soldiers like Jerry Lee Wilson, James Kinlow and Dan Malcolm - who have paid the ultimate price for that kind of freedom.
Soldiers like Russell Langham, who have fought for freedom and returned to their families.
My wife's family.
My third family at the The Mirror.
The memories I have of my grandfathers and my late grandmother.
The time I still get to spend with Nana, my lone living grandparent.
People like Joseph Greene and Audrey Eller - whose love for Thomson and McDuffie County is an example for us all.
People like Sean Kelley (and my newspaper colleague, Kristopher Wells), who are here to remind us that Dearing is part of McDuffie County, too.
Sunday night television shows that allow me to take a break from my life.
My parents' only grandchild, Coco.
Riding lawnmowers that vacuum up leaves and pine straw.
My wife's ability to use a riding lawnmower.
Time spent with "Uncle" Al McGaw.
The mailbox that was his last big project and now sits at my house.
My dad's green thumb.
My dad's new knee - and his same old attitude.
The Barenaked Ladies (It's a band, folks. Minds out of gutters, OK?). Eli Young Band. Amos Lee. And the various other singers and bands that help me get through the day.
XM Radio, mp3 players, internet radio - anything else that keeps me away from commercial radio. (Excluding, of course, Mike Wall over at WTHO. I'm thankful he still looks out for his listeners.)
The folks who had kind words about my recent promotion.
The way local readers still embrace The Mirror.
The opportunity I have to live a dream every day.