It's Thanksgiving Day, 5:35 in the morning. I'm currently cooking. Cranberry sauce, a pumpkin bundt cake, a strawberry Jello pie.
Ben put out a missive the other day, asking if any of the authors would be willing to write up a "What I'm Thankful For" post to put up this holiday morning. I was the one who didn't step back fast enough, so here I am.
I'm joking, of course; I did, in fact, volunteer for the job. At the very least, I thought there should be a place to drop by during the day, when the festivities all just become too much, and you need a respite with your imaginary baseball friends.
So what am I thankful for on this gloriously sloppy Thanksgiving morning? I'm thankful for the Charley Pride record spinning away on the platter in the other room. I'm thankful, too, for this glass of bourbon (Blanton's, and delicious), sitting next to my laptop on the kitchen island currently. And lest you think poorly of me for drinking bourbon at six in the morning, well... I'm not sure how to end that sentence. I don't really care what most of you think of me anyway. Which, I suppose, is good, considering.
I am also, believe it or not, thankful for this place. I'm thankful it still exists, and in a form I'm proud to be a part of. There was, I'm sure you all will remember, a time when that didn't look like it was going to be the case. I still have my farewell post already written, saved on the hard drive of this computer; just think of how close you were to being rid of me. Sorry, I shouldn't taunt you all with visions of what must seem like a beautiful dream.
I'm thankful Ben took over the site, both in the concrete and the hypothetical; I'm thankful he took over in the actual way he did, and managed to maintain some continuity, and uphold the standards of the place so well even while expanding the scope. I'm also thankful in the abstract that he did it instead of me; in addition to writing a farewell post, I was mulling over possibly taking the job managing the site myself when I saw how badly things appeared to be going. I can't imagine I would have done anywhere near the job Ben has done; I have neither the organisational skills nor the personality to actually run a thing like this. I probably would have lasted, at best, a month or two before an email about SEO best practices hit me just wrong one morning and I decided it was time to just burn it all down. Thankfully, we never had to find out how disastrous I would have been as site manager.
I'll leave you this morning with something for which you should be thankful. Perhaps it's presumptuous of me to tell you what to give thanks for, but here it is anyway. It's been less than two months since we Cardinal fans saw a young man with an almost unimaginably bright future dead and buried in the ground because he was stupid and young and made several huge mistakes. He drank far too much, jumped behind the wheel of his Cardinal-red Camaro, and drove he and his also very young girlfriend straight to their deaths at a very high speed. Whatever else we might be thankful for in life, if you're reading this, you've survived all your mistakes. The mistakes you made yesterday, and last week, and last month, and last year. Maybe you've made the same mistake Oscar did; I'm never going to lie and say I haven't in my life. I've gotten lucky; I've never been arrested, never had an accident, never hurt myself or anyone else. But looking back, there have been times I probably deserved one or all of those fates. Such is the nature of stupidity. Maybe you've made other mistakes. Large ones or small ones, none of them have killed you yet.
So when you're sitting at the table today, choking down the hemp-dry turkey some relative of yours overcooked and trying to make small talk with people you don't really care to see more than once or twice a year, maybe take a moment and give a word of thanks to god, or providence, or the cold gears of an uncaring mechanical universe which have not yet crushed you in their course of turning, that you're still here. That despite making all the mistakes every one of us have, and will, you woke up this morning, Thanksgiving morning, with a chance to try and get it right.
Not everyone is so lucky.
Happy Thanksgiving, Viva El Birdos. With any luck, I'll be writing a piece much like this next year, baking and drinking in my kitchen, and you'll still be around to read it. Let's all hope, anyway.