I’m not a fan of Black Friday, that purchasing chaos that officially launches in the wee hours Friday morning with the inevitable, subsequent headlines of crazy shoppers somewhere pushing, punching and pepper spraying their way to electronic-bargain nirvana. No, I like this Thursday instead, the fact that on Thanksgiving we focus on what we have, not what we could have. I like that we get together with family without any gift pressure.
Here is some of my gratitude — things light and serious, important and not so important.
I am thankful for:
•every call on my cell phone that is not “Ann from the warranty department.” How did Ann get my number? Does she have yours? Warranty department, what the heck does that mean, just some random warranty department? Is Ann harassing the rest of Madison County or just me?
•socks that don’t have a big-toe jailbreak — also socks at Christmas, honestly, no sarcasm. It’s simple and they will be needed. I’m also thankful for socks that don’t feel too tight on my feet inside of my shoes. Does the fact that I’m including socks so early in this column signal anything about where I am on life’s timeline? I fear it does.
•my little, inner, one-note (B-flat?) elf-friend “Tinnitus.” He’s always keeping me company. (What’s the proper emoji for sarcasm?)
•prints of old photos. I need to get more made. This digital record keeping can’t be fully trusted.
•modern dentistry. Without it, I would be the poster boy for Colgate if they decided to go dark with their advertising. Imagine me beaming with rotten-toothy happiness and “Dueling Banjos” in the background.
•those little green, breath mint squares. I drink lots of coffee. Those squares are a new addiction.
•the Sunday mornings when my cell phone gives me my average daily usage for the week and it somehow doesn’t seem like hard proof of mental illness. (This is not most weeks.)
•the initial moment after completing a tedious task — the grass cutting, the leaf raking (still not done), the clothes pile tackled at the foot of the bed or the sink emptied of dirty dishes.
•a laugh from my children, pretty much any laugh over anything, whether it involves me or not. Hearing this from another room always makes me feel good.
•good talks with my friend and co-worker Margie Richards.
•Becky Delay’s always cheerful demeanor at the office.
•a room of friends in the back office at the MainStreet headquarters in Jefferson where all the production is done for five papers. We have regular Tuesday programming to lighten the stressful workload on that production day. For instance, there’s “Pantry 3:15” when sports guy Charles Phelps, who is known as “Pantry” because his desk is like a Golden Pantry with all of his fruits and stuff, is asked a trivia question at 3:15 p.m. by Ben Munro and Pantry has one minute to respond. We act as if this is a radio segment. And I do the intro and outro music, fading in “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s all goofy, but fun. We have “Kyle versus Zebras” in which Kyle Funderburk is asked to go off for one minute on some bad call he’s seen in the previous week.
•the good friends I’ve made over the years, whether we’re in touch or not.
•my parents and my sister (and her family). There’s so much I could write here. I’ll just say I’m really lucky and I don’t take this for granted.
•my mother-and-father-in-law. Ditto to what I just said. Too much to detail in this column. There’s a long list I could make about them and what they mean to us.
•marrying a truly kind-hearted person.
•our daughter, Addie, and our son, Noah. Life is profoundly altered with children. I don’t know how to be a parent. I just try to do what seems best and learn as I go. And it’s going fast, too fast. I appreciate every morning I wake and get to spend time with them. I see them and want time to slow down a little bit. But time doesn’t take requests.
•all the people who read our work and who invest in local journalism. This work life of mine doesn’t exist without you.
I hope you have a good Thanksgiving…Oh, and if the turkey slumber wears off and the adrenaline kicks in at 3 a.m. Friday in some electronics section where a crazy-eyed bargain shopper is ready to fight you over an Xbox or some other fractionally priced gadget, here’s the deal: don’t make news. You’ll be grateful for that. I will, too.
And I’ll try to keep my cool when Ann from the warranty department buzzes me yet again…Ann, stop!
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.