Hello Thanksgiving, it seems like you’re running late. I can’t say that I blame you. Most of us have been hiding out at home, or behind our masks, so you can be excused for being a bit anti-social. Still, it’s nice having you around. The turkeys are smaller, and the gatherings are more intimate, but we still have reasons to be thankful.

I always look forward to writing a “thankful” column, as do many writers. It’s a way to give thanks, while also clearing our pockets of little notes we save throughout the year.

I am thankful that I have not yet run out of toilet paper. It makes me reflect on my misbegotten youth, when we had so much Charmin, we threw it in trees every Halloween.

I am thankful they’re making new “physically distanced” episodes of “The Price is Right.” Watching the reruns made me uncomfortable. I know they were taped long before the pandemic, but I wanted to wash my hands (again) every time I saw audience members crawling all over each other.

I am thankful for our election workers. They were warned they would be criticized for their hard work. But they showed up, did their jobs quietly and efficiently, and conducted a fair election under difficult circumstances. They deserve a raise, and they deserve our praise.

I am thankful for people who still take pride in spelling and grammar. I had someone tell me the other day that “your” and “you’re” were both correct, as in “Your kidding.” No, their not.

I am thankful I overheard this conversation in the doctor’s office waiting room: “Well, I can’t see, and I can’t hear, but I’m glad I can still drive.”

I am thankful for Dolly Parton. For her talent, her humor, her down-home wisdom, and her generosity. I was not surprised to learn that her million-dollar donation helped make the Moderna vaccine possible. Thanks to Dolly, we might get out of this pandemic sooner rather than later. I hear all these arguments about keeping, or removing certain statues from Tennessee. I just want to know, why aren’t we building one for Dolly? Fair warning: if you want to get on my bad side, say something mean about Dolly.

I am thankful that Kellogg’s and Little Debbie have joined forces to create Oatmeal Creme Pie cereal, which will be in stores in December. It is described as “crispy oatmeal puffs with a cream coating.” I am described as “craving it.”

I am thankful that my wife wakes up after I eat breakfast, so she will never know that I will be pouring chocolate milk on Oatmeal Creme Pie cereal.

I am thankful that new restaurants are being built in my town, during the worst economic conditions restaurants have ever endured. That, my friends, is optimism, and I’ll take all of that I can get.

I am thankful for the Atlanta Braves. In an otherwise glum year, my team won a National League East division title, and came within one game of the World Series. Smiles have been hard to come by, and the Braves provided many. I’m looking at you, Most Valuable Player Freddie Freeman.

I should be thankful that gas prices are so low, but since I have rarely bought gas since March, it hasn’t affected me much at all. I’m all gassed up, with no place to go.

I am thankful to have friends who don’t believe every video, meme, or conspiracy theory that gets passed around on social media. The rest of you, I worry about.

I am thankful for all who work in “people jobs” that require them to wear a mask all day. In my cloistered world of TV news, I’m nowhere near my co-workers in the studio or the newsroom (much to their relief). But for those who work in retail, schools, health care facilities, law enforcement, child care, assembly lines, and all other essential jobs, I sincerely thank you.

I am thankful that my “new” dress shoes that I bought nine months ago still look new. I have worn them three times so far. I suppose that’s a silver lining of sorts. But to be honest, I hope I have plenty of opportunities to wear them out, literally, in the very near future.

On that note, I am thankful to have an optimistic boss. She gave me a new desk calendar for next year, with this note attached: “I hope your calendar is full in 2021!” That would be nice. File that under, “Things I once took for granted.”

I will never take you, my kind reader, for granted. I am thankful for your compliments and your criticism. By the time we take another journey around the sun, I hope we will have even more for which to be thankful.

David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” available on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at radiotv2020@yahoo.com, or 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405.

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