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Among the many things for which I’m grateful

Today, on Thanksgiving Day, I’m thankful for home, health, happiness and the occasional putt that stumbles into the cup. I’m also thankful for, among other things:

• Underdogs. When they win, it’s just sweeter.

• This city, this county, this place. I love it. Perfect? Not even close, especially at rush hour. But nobody tries harder or achieves more, per capita, than this place.

• I still have a newspaper every day to go with my coffee.

• College basketball’s here. Roy, Coach K, Pitino, McKillop, et al, bring it on.


Beth, my favorite wife

. How has she put up with me all this long? She has a good sense of humor, is all I can guess.

• The Masters, where dreamers walk in the footsteps of great men, where it’s never just a game, where the past whispers in your ear.

• TV’s Blue Bloods.

• College campuses. Old buildings, young bright eyes and the knowledge of the ages. Like Davidson.

• Stock car drivers. They fuss and fight like children, but they drive like wild men, like the sheriff’s after them.

• That time near sundown when shadows lengthen, the breeze dies and things grow quiet. Listen and you can hear the soft voices of those who have left us.

• Dean Smith.

• Our family. To my mind, they are the best of the best, but you kinda knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? Did I tell you about no, wait, you won’t believe this

• Good friends. Good neighbors. And a couple of neighborhood dogs that seem to like me.

• Christmas lights shining through a window, warming the world. Christmas songs, warming our hearts. Silent Night still reigns, still gives this ol’ soul chills.

• A stadium filled with people who have come to see something wonderful, standing, waiting for the kickoff. Game night at the arena when the Checkers’ skates are flashing. The sensational debut season of the Knights in their new playground. The Hornets are better and looking ahead to some good times. The Charlotte 49ers. The Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls. The Wells Fargo Charmpionship, when Phil and Rory and friends come to town. Our cup runneth over.

• My fellow sufferers with whom I share my bogeys and post-round lamentations at Cedarwood. Nice guys but not to be trusted with a scorecard.

• Greg Olsen, Pro with a capital p. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, if only we had more like them.

• You see them as you drive over the bridge, secluded little inlets that look like a place where you could catch some fish. I never was worth a darn as a fisherman, but I loved to try.

• The soft, mysterious noises of a sea marsh. Those places fascinate me. I must have been an alligator in an earlier life. Or an oyster. (An oyster!?)

• The merciful end of the Tillis-Hagan election campaign, a shameful insult to voters, a foot wipe on the American way. We’re better than that.

• Pro football when the snow is blowing – and we’re watching it on TV.

• Pinehurst, where, as someone once said, peace is never far away. The mountains up there near heaven.

• Small towns we ride through on the way to someplace else; cornfields tall and green; little old houses where you know somebody can cook good cornbread; roadside stands offering “maters” for sale; old men in bib overalls with a pinch in their cheeks standing around, no doubt talking about old women; Robert Earl on the radio.

• The beach. Any beach. Sea gulls squalling. The aroma of suntan lotion. Kids and dogs digging in the sand. A couple of guys surf fishing, catching nothing but sand sharks. The sound of the waves. Beachy novels being read through sunglasses. The smell of shrimp boiling as sunset nears. Thunder off in the night.

• Tiger’s coming back, hopefully with some of that magic he did so well.

• The guys at the Head Shop, whose tonsorial excellence has kept me looking about a year younger than I really am, don’t you think?

• Neil Diamond has a new album. If you’re wondering, I don’t think it includes a duet with 50 Cent.

• Happy Thanksgiving. Easy on the turkey. There’s still pie to be eaten.

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