Admittedly, it is a young and random tradition. I think I did it last year, didn't I? I hope so, because it's on my mind again, and I'd hate to be pursuing a tradition that didn't exist. If I remember correctly, last year, my "thanks" were more of a pre- than a post-. This year, with Thanksgiving 2012 winding down, I'm doing a bit more of a "looking back," factoring in and including some of the events of the day itself into my thanks for the past year.
Either way, there is plenty to be thankful about. Like anyone who makes a list, I fear the omissions. Believe me, if you aren't on the list, it's nothing personal. It's just what's in my brain at 10PM on Thanksgiving night. Plus, this is the larger-than-the-people-I-know edition of thanks.
1. I am thankful for Daniel Craig, and how his revival of the James Bond movies has given them greater gravitas and less silliness than previous incarnations. These films, Skyfall in particular is on my mind, are films that will hold up for years. What novel concepts--to make a James Bond who is human, a Q who is fallible, an M who is in the line of fire, no particular "Bond girl," save the "gives-as-good-as-she-gets" new version of Moneypenny, a villain who was in the exact same position as Bond at the start of the movie, but without the same loyalty or devotion to a cause larger than himself.
2. I am thankful for whoever is behind the idea of "spatchcocking" a turkey, an idea I found online at SeriousEats.com. Take out the backbone, spread the bird out, put it on a rack above some aromatics at 450 degrees and it's done in 80 minutes. So much for the all-day, overcooked turkey.
3. I am thankful for Led Zeppelin, whose 2005 one-off revival concert just released in a variety of formats does indeed give rock and roll a shot in the arm. Yeah, some of the old warhorses ("Dazed and Confused") don't do it for me any more than they ever did, but fresh takes on "Good Times, Bad Times," "Ramble On," "Nobody's Fault But Mine," "For Your Love," "Kashmir," and "In My Time Of Dying" make me want to rediscover the band all over again.
4. I am grateful for the re-election of President Obama. I've been in a number of places since Election Day. There are a lot of people who hate him. Irrationally, I would say. While I know that Mr. Obama was the right choice, I am equally worried about the role that media plays in our country. Hatred in America starts on the television and on the radio (and the Internet, but not as much, yet). I don't tend to pray for our nation's leaders, but I do pray for Mr. Obama and his ability to lead us forward. Times being what they are.
5. I am thankful for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Certainly, there have been other teams that have faced adversity. But I admire how the Steelers keep losing players at all kinds of positions, including, obviously, the skill positions, but they never try to use that as an excuse and they never give up. If they are able to win on Sunday, it is likely that two players who had a major hand in that weren't even in the organization 5 days ago.
6. I am thankful for the Grateful Gobbler walk that has become a Chattanooga tradition. More people involved each year. This year, even me. That 3000 people could get out on a Thanksgiving morning and raise $100,000 for homeless people to live and eat is pretty cool.
7. I am thankful for Pinterest. To find this "social" website at a time when I fled Facebook because of politics has been a godsend. Especially because of that recipe that I made on Wednesday night that put a cheesecake on top of a pecan pie. From a wife whose husband was shipping out and so she had to put put on a Thanksgiving early. And she posted the recipe. And I was one of the many benefactors of that. Isn't that what the Internet should be?
8. And, yes, bizarrely, I am thankful for "Black Friday." Tomorrow, I head down, with wife, daughter, and daughter's friends, to an outlet outpost in central Georgia. It doesn't have that much of a larger meaning for me, isn't the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season, or any of that. It's just a fun trip with family. I may not spend a dime, may not buy a present. But I will enjoy being among so many people in their casual, but frenetic, motion towards something that seems important.
Off to watch more episodes of Archer. Yeah, I'm thankful for that, too. You expected something more profound?