Thanksgiving left me with a lot to be thankful for

December 1, 2008

by Matt Kane

Before I get into the guts of my Thanksgiving column this week, I want to premise it by saying I am truly thankful for all that Thanksgiving is about.

I’m thankful for the great family I was born into, and I am thankful for the great family I will marry into next summer. I am also thankful for the wealth I have that cannot be counted in dollar bills and coins.

I am thankful for my new house, and all the things I have and enjoy but don’t necessarily need. And, other than the couple of dozen extra pounds I carry around, I am thankful for my health.

Everything I just mentioned sits at the top of my Thanksgiving blessings, but I found out Thursday, while celebrating Thanksgiving, that there is another list of things I am thankful for. Like the “Off” button on the alarm clock in the room I stayed in at my soon-to-be in-laws’ house.

No buzzer or corny morning show personality stirred me from my slumber Thursday morning. Instead, the smell of freshly-brewed coffee attracted the attention of my nose, which, then, led the rest of my body to the kitchen for a late-morning cup of Joe.

Later in the morning, I was grateful for my father-in-law’s 42-inch plasma television. That’s where I focused my eyes for kickoff of the Detroit Lions’ annual Thanksgiving Day game.

I am neither a Lions’ nor a Tennessee Titans’ fan, so my thankfulness for the television soon turned to a thankfulness for the remote control, which gave me the option of turning the football game off.

I believe the game stayed on for its entirety, but I was thankful for the distraction that stormed through the door shortly before noon. That distraction came in the form of little bodies — seven in all — all the property of my brother-in-law and his wife. Did I mention they are all under the age of 10?

Everybody in the house should have been thankful that I like kids, because they seem to like me. I don’t know how many times I asked the little guys, “Who do I look like, Jungle Jim?”

I seem to be the favorite attraction for those little guys and girls when it comes to everything from piggy back rides to dressing up like a ballerina. (The tutu fit around my head.)

Where the Lions’ game was boring, those balls of energy, also known as my soon-to-be nieces and nephews, are far from boring. There was some whining and pouting throughout the day, but not nearly enough to ruin a thankful day.

When dinner time came, around noon, I quickly grew thankful for my mother-in-law, Barb, who always does it up right, with way too much food, and all of it Food Network quality. I do have to give Grandpa Chuck credit for the sweet potatoes. Thanks, Chuck.

After round-two of turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and stuffing (I only had one round of cranberries), I was more than thankful for the extra holes in my belt. They get bypassed every day of the year, except Thanksgiving. Thanks, little holes, for not complaining about the lack of attention you usually get, and for being there when I needed you most.

Yes, I overate, and, when the leftovers were presented for supper, I overate, again.

Not forgetting I was a sports editor for a living, I watched bits and pieces of all three football games that were on during Thanksgiving Day. Sarcastically, I would like to thank the NFL for picking such intriguing games. Nothing like three blowouts to keep turkey-stuffed blokes on the couch all day.

Actually, Thanksgiving day is probably the best time for the NFL to have three blowouts. Because of that bloating feeling and all that tryptophan in our bodies, we can’t move well enough to get out of our seats and away from the television.

Overeating, bad football, and rowdy in-laws — they are all a part of Thanksgiving. A holiday that happens just once per year. For that, I am thankful.