Today, on Thanksgiving Day, Im thankful for these (and a million other things):
• I dont have to go shopping tonight or before dawn Friday. God is good.
• The new baseball park uptown, ready to light up the summer evenings.
• The Charlotte 49ers football team, long just an idea that seemed too ambitious but it became a reality and won its first game in front of a sellout crowd at its new stadium. Fairy tale stuff. And speaking of Charlotte 49ers, the basketball team is seriously serious.
• The day before vacation.
• People who know how to fix things, because I sure as heck dont.
• Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, all-world if you ask me. He makes linebacking look like an art. With bruises, of course.
• Something someone said. We were reminiscing about the good ol days, as people do, and he said, You know, we really did have some good ol days. Yeah, we did.
• Sunsets, frosty glasses and crab fritters at the Boathouse on Sullivans Island.
• Its less than five months until the Augusta Masters.
• Pinehurst, hosting the mens and womens U.S. Opens next year, the best in the sport convening in a magical place to play for great championships.
• Cooking shows. (Shuddup. Its my artistic side coming out.)
• Jimmie Johnson, a champions champion. And his car owner, Rick Hendrick, a star in his own right who knows a winner when he sees one.
• Big ol linemen who wrestle other big ol linemen while the glamour guys dart around on twinkle toes and smile for the camera; point guards with the attitude of a pit bull; shortstops with the quick instincts of a nervous cat; women who can knock a tennis ball through the fence and down the street a couple of blocks; high school coaches who get it done and make it fun; kids who pick up the towels and hand out the Gatorade because they want to be a part of it.
• Finding James Lee Burkes new novel on the bookshelves.
• Beth and I have been together for 58 years now and I think it might last if I behave myself.
• Our family Ron, Tamera, Molly, David, Mary, Dakota, Savannah, Edie, John, Maddie, Jake. To me, the No. 1 ranked family in the country, but thats just me. Oh, and there are four dogs scattered about and all four can do tricks like sit and lie down. Can you believe that?
• Having known Dean Smith from his first game coaching the Tar Heels, all through the years of pure excellence. One of sports great coaches and great men. No one has ever done it better, all things considered.
• Sitting on the deck at the beach, viewing the world through lidded eyes, a book in my lap, the sound of the waves caressing the mind.
• The Final Four, basketballs Broadway.
• This football weekend, when Clemson plays South Carolina and, in a game that hints at being big again like it used to be, Duke plays North Carolina. Buckle up.
• The suspects I play golf with and subsidize financially at Cedarwood. Also, Mike, Eddie, Dude and Joanie at the Head Shop, another place I go to get clipped.
• A slice of life with friends.
• A church choir. Chimes. Steeples reaching for the sky over a distant treeline. A train whistle in the night. The sound of rain falling on leaves.
• I dont travel much anymore but I still have a fondness for the times when I was leaving an arena or a stadium or a golf course after an event, when it was quiet and the people were gone but the day lingered and the cheers echoed silently.
• The Bobcats. Theyre not threatening to win any championship yet but theyre much better than theyve been in recent times, no longer an easy out most nights.
• People who cant wait to put up their Christmas lights. The couple across the street put up their tree a couple of days ago and I felt like applauding.
• My coffee and newspaper in the morning.
• Ol country songs. Remember that one about how the girls all get prettier at closing time? And they said Bach and Beethoven could write music. Huh.
• Thanksgiving, when the kitchen smells so good you want to eat the air, the sound of a parade or a football game on TV in another room, everybody talking, passing the gravy, making biscuits disappear, going for seconds, patting tummies and groaning on the way to a couch.
• Christmas Eve. When it comes to Christmas, Im still a kid.
Happy holidays, and, uh, you gonna eat that drumstick?
Ron Green Sr. is a retired Observer columnist.
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