Casting about for a cover story that would, on this Thanksgiving holiday, convey all the thanks we feel for getting to do this thing, the brain trust that is the Weld editorial department decided to ask a lot of our contributing writers to compress, as best they could, everything for which they were thankful into 250 words or less. We’ve printed those submissions below. Happy Thanksgiving!
For this & that
I am thankful, in no particular order, for:
“natural” peanut butter
the writings of J.P. Donleavy
also of Ring Lardner
pigs, in pokes or otherwise
benighted public discourse (without which we would not appreciate the other kind)
Fleischer cartoon animation
the music of Graham Parker
also of Rosetta Tharpe
the portraiture of John S. Sargent
words to the wise
corduroy, but not too many wales
videotapes, while I still have a player for them
that day I slept late
the candidacy of Paige Parnell in House District 45
digital recorders at public demonstrations
Vaness Minnillo’s hair secret
pretty much any movie Albert Finney is in
also Jeff Bridges
hot sauce on fried catfish, even at Thanksgiving
the NASA Picture of the Day
the voice of Levi Stubbs
also Maria McKee
public school educations and those who provide them
Thomas Edison, even now
– Courtney Haden
For ears & gigs
I am grateful for my sense of hearing, which has allowed me to enjoy one of the best years for new music in my lifetime.
I am grateful for my outlets of expression — Weld, The Exhibit(s), Birmingham Mountain Radio (listen to “(The Show With No Name)” on Fridays at midnight!) and plenty of web design.
I am grateful for spellcheck, which continues to correct “greatful” to “grateful.”
I am grateful for the Republican Party debates and candidates, who provide no end of entertainment for me and mine.
Mostly, I’m grateful for mine — for family, friends, health and good fortune.
And the ability to read minds.
– Kenn McCracken
For my family & my man
At the risk of shortchanging the cutest grandchildren in the universe, adult son and daughter of whom I am exceedingly proud for their being genuine and caring people, two loyal and loving golden retrievers and the three abandoned cats who adopted me, too many friends to assemble in one place at one time and a garden that gives back to me more than I contribute…
I am most thankful for a man who has unfailingly supported and loved me because of and in spite of myself for almost 40 years. To be married to the person you respect more than anyone else you’ve ever met is the greatest blessing God can bestow on a life. “My Tommy” is the first waking thought for which I’m thankful in the morning and the last prayer I give thanks for when I go to sleep.
If he would learn to find his own cereal and milk in the morning he would approach perfection. In the original contract stipulating that I don’t iron all cotton shirts or prepare lunches I neglected to itemize breakfasts.
– Cathy Adams
For the crazy & dead
I am grateful for Guillermo Castro, in whose restaurants I learned about tequila and tapas and tacos the way they were meant to be made. At Guillermo’s funeral, his brother Alex wept while he recalled aloud how cheerful Momo always was, even on the days when there was a ridiculous, insane, impossible amount of work to be done.
“Today is going to be a great day,” Guillermo would say.
And Alex would roll his eyes. “Even with everything we have to do today?”
“No,” Guillermo would correct his brother. “With everything we get to do today.”
Goodbye, stranger, and I thank you.
I am grateful for Ricky Wyatt, who was born in Tuscaloosa and died in Cottondale, and in between, at age 15, was sent to Bryce Hospital, mostly for being a brawler. Time was, simply being a nuisance could you sent to the nut-hatch, and that time was 1968. I am grateful (and sorry) that he got poked with broomsticks and loaded with Thorazine and scalded with boiling hot water. I am grateful (and not sorry) that he gave his name and became, instead of a patient (inmate), a plaintiff in a federal class-action lawsuit that took 33 years to conclude. The win — and I’d be grateful if you’d call it that — came after the tenure of nine Alabama governors and 14 mental health commissioners and three-plus decades of litigation that cost the state more than $15 million. I’m grateful that thanks to the book-end men of judges Frank M. Johnson and Myron Thompson and whole host of lawyers whose names are too many to list here, on behalf of a legion of patients whose names I wouldn’t be allowed to print here if I knew them, the name Wyatt ever-after will, as it should, mean: 1) a humane psychological and physical environment (no torture); 2) qualified and sufficient staff for administration of treatment (no overcrowding or neglect); 3) individualized treatment plans (no commitment on a whim); and 4) minimum restriction of patient freedom (no incarceration) within state-run mental health facilities. I’d be grateful if you’d thank him out loud, right now, for what he did for those who suffer mental illness, in Alabama and everywhere else.
I am grateful to the student protestors in California who took one for the universe at the hands of Lt. John Pike and his casual pepper spray. Thanks to you, the pepper spray-cop meme is rocketing through art history.
I am grateful for Trattoria Centrale (né ZaZa) for feeding me and BradBrad so often and so well.
I am grateful to all members of the Dead Mother Club and the Amalgamated Union of Mournful Organizations.
I am grateful I got out of the Toxic Cesspool of Drunken Incompetence.
– Glenny Brock
For original turns of phrase
‘Tis the season, as our globe now tilts once again toward the blessed whirl of the holidays and the arrival of the Jolly Old Elf himself, to take a moment this week as we sit down to our turkey with all the trimmings and reflect upon the true meaning of these observances — as reminders that our homes and families, and not our worldly goods or achievements, are the true measures of success in our lives. So at this juncture in time I’m not only grateful for the continuing warmth and support of my family, I’m exceedingly thankful that, as a writing professional, I’ve gotten through yet another year without once resorting to meaningless clichés.
– Dale Short
For the gifts that keep on giving
I am thankful for Alabama state Sen. Scott Beason, his mouth and his law, and all the news all of those things gave me this year.
I don’t know how I feel about Urban Standard. Every time I go in there I feel like the least cool person in Birmingham. Is that weird?
I am thankful for sources who are understanding, especially when you quote them saying that local radio personalities are assholes. I am also thankful for Reuben sandwiches. Did I mention that Max’s Deli has a great Reuben?
I am thankful for Tuscaloosa cops who arrest German Mercedes managers for immigration law offenses. Now that’s how you follow the letter of the law!
I am thankful for the people of this state — they are the most beautiful, charming, interesting and conflicted people in the nation. I am thankful for Alabama, which is beautiful in its imperfections. And I’m thankful for the Black Belt, which will always hold a prime piece of my heart.
I am thankful for newspapers because they entertain us, inform us, employ us and give us something to talk about with strangers.
I am thankful for dogs, and especially my dog, Disco.
I am thankful for the loving and supportive co-workers, friends and family I’ve been blessed with over my 27 years. Really and truly. And I’m thankful for dreams, and the people who help me pursue them.
I think I’m still thankful for Larry Langford. I secretly hope he gets out of jail and is elected Mayor again. Nay! Not elected, but spontaneously installed as Mayor by a mass of bored people. But Bernard Kincaid gets to control the money.
– Madison Underwood
For the offline life
Asked, in the spirit of the season, to dash off a few words about what I’m thankful for, I find myself confronted by a multi-pronged dilemma. For instance, I could be flippant and say I’m thankful that I’m only subjected to this exercise once a year. I could strike a cynical pose, expressing my gratefulness at living in Birmingham and Alabama, where our culture of unabated greed, corruption and exploitation ensures that I will have plenty to write about for the foreseeable future.
I could try a little humor, say I’m thankful to have made it under the wire a couple of months back as one of the last people allowed to renew their car tags online prior to the enactment of HB56 — now, I believe, known officially as the “Having the Most Draconian Immigration Law in America Won’t Hurt Economic Development in Alabama, Until an Executive from a Multinational Corporation is Detained for Failing to Provide Proper Documentation” law, or the “D’oh! Law,” for short. On the other hand, the mess we’ve stepped in there is really not all that funny.
I could even get a little maudlin, start trying to find the words to thank every person — including you, the reader — who has anything to do with Weld, most especially the beautiful and talented people who work to produce our weekly print edition and keep our website dynamic and informative. Or I could be straightforward and say that I’m grateful to live in Birmingham, which, warts and all, is a place where you can be who you are and do what you do and believe what you believe and nobody gets too bothered about it, except maybe those who need to be bothered.
But you know what it is that I’m really most thankful for? It’s the people I truly know, and who truly know me. I’m not talking about acquaintances or work buddies or friends on the Facebook, but rather the faithful few, that tightening circle of people who know me better than anyone and love me anyway.
These are unsettled times. The world we live in is strange and getting stranger, our nation divided and our community in flux. We can stick together, or we can fall apart. With this in mind, maybe we need to look beyond our differences and start focusing on what we have in common. Maybe we should be more thankful for each other. Maybe we should try to give each other more to be thankful for.
– Mark Kelly
For florid rhymes and times sublime
Gratitude is greater than platitude when it comes to Birmingham. Frankly, I hope none of us take it for granted that we live in a city that keeps us on our toes. In Birmingham, we cannot grow so complacent to think that we have won the war against racism and poverty, that infrastructure is something that magically appears before us, or that we have perfected democracy. No, that is not our great burden, fellow citizens. We are instead enchanted by that old Irish curse, “May you always live in interesting times.” After all, when was the last time the news in the Magic City was mundane?
When we become grateful and count our blessings, we become happier, healthier beings. It is when we focus on our flaws that we become disenfranchised, angry and depressed. Recognizing that committing to filing for bankruptcy, for example, is the first step toward healing from the financial burden our county faces, we can see appreciate this as a tabula rasa, a clean slate from which we can restart. Healing is no easy process, but if we do it with grace, we‘ll find ourselves healing more completely. So thank you, Birmingham, for helping us to face our fears, for forcing us to confront our demons, and for teaching us that our work as humans is never complete.
No room for platitudes on this side of the mountain, friends, but there’s plenty of room for beatitudes, and it is up to us to create them by living into our gratitude.
– Janet Simpson-Templin
For authentic experiences, however fleeting
I am thankful that Jay Z and Kanye gave Birmingham the opportunity to “watch the throne” for two weeks. Also, as a subset, I’d like to say that I am thankful for the many ways in which Kanye West alone blesses us. To wit:
– By showing us that using more than three iPads simultaneously is a real possibility
– By combining St. Germain and champagne.
– By freeing us from the bondage of books. Live people!
– He is the 99 percent, and also the 1 percent above that. He is the 100 percent.
I am thankful that the sword-wielding Rastafarian who lived two doors down, was finally forced to move out of my band’s practice space. Attempted murder is not irie.
I am thankful to have believed, if only for a few weeks, that I gave Click and Clack The Tappett Brothers’ car a jump. Come to find out, I helped out the other mechanic-brother-duo from Boston.
Interning at Weld has been a great experience so far. I get to hear Kyle wax philosophic on Birmingham politics like a Southern Cicero. I get my own desk, where I have an unlimited supply of Post-it notes. I’ve had the chance to retrieve a newspaper rack from an America’s Thrift Store, where I was informed that “Mexican” is a brand new dirty word. Jesse fills me in on journalistic theory (the hallowed nut graph!), and I’ve already been to one Tea Party rally with Madison. His driving skills would make Dick Petty jealous. The lighting is good and the bathroom is not un-dirty. This is a great place to be, and I am thankful to be a part of the wacky mayhem that is Weld.
– Daniel Devaughn
For a city that can be rendered in verse
Thankful for Birmingham,
Bankruptcy — the ginkgos on Highland
still blanket the streets with gold;
HB 56 — Locals and Latinos dance arm in arm
at Dia de los Muertos;
A battered national image — Folks still fight for
change at Occupy Birmingham;
Our backwoods ways — Artists, artisans, poets
musicians and performers create anew each day;
Racism and xenophobia — Strangers help strangers after
Unemployment — Neighbors share backyard eggs and collard greens;
Disease — We kick some viral ass at Clinic 1917;
The cold — I can still sit outside and watch the sunrise;
Death — A world of life still frolics in the trees;
Sorrow — Laughter rings, and arms open wide for hugging.
– Laura Secord
For a rich, inexhaustible seam to mine
I am thankful for Birmingham and Jefferson County for keeping me employed as a journalist. I am thankful for former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy for making the business of outpatient health care far more interesting than it ever needed to be. I am grateful for the witnesses who led to Eric Robert Rudolph’s identification and eventual capture. “Washington got lucky that day in Birmingham,” is not something you get to hear very often in federal court, and it was all the more satisfying that those words came from a terrorist. I am thankful for Larry Langford, whose taste in ice cream and cookies was only surpassed by his cupidity for fine threads. I am thankful for former employees of the Jefferson County Environmental Services Department — in particular for Jack Swann, the former director of that department. Because of Swann, whenever someone asks, “Who is the biggest asshole you’ve ever met?” I will not have to think much before answering. I am thankful for JPMorgan bankers who somehow escaped federal indictment despite being caught on tape discussing bribes for Jefferson County officials. Without them, we’d be left only with self-loathing and none of the outwardly directed outrage and disgust now attached anything related to Wall Street. Together, they’ve made a lot of people poor and hungry, but I am not one of them.
– Kyle Whitmire
For the woman who got me here
I’m most thankful for my mom. As corny as it sounds, it’s true. She’s the most awesome person on the planet. She’s gone through a lot in her life, from being a respected teacher to being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003. Despite the devastating effects of the disease she keeps a smile on her face. It’s inspiring. She’s also queen of deadpan humor and cool accessories. Her music collection is probably better than most DJs and she comes up with the most creative combinations of curse words I’ve ever heard in my life.
– Mia Watkins
For the people being the city
On behalf of Birmingham, I am thankful for the good people and for the motivated people. And I am hopeful that, even though they have so far managed mainly to discourage each other, that they will someday find a way to inspire each other.
– John Morse
For the real-life demolition derby
“God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies…”
– Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
I’m one of those people who frequently compose gratitude lists. You’ll often find me jotting down things I’m thankful for in an attempt to focus on the positive aspects of life instead of the crappy ones. But if that old adage “Everything happens for a reason” is true, that means all the crappy stuff actually had a purpose and perhaps we can learn something by reflecting upon the bad times. Allow me to give thanks for some of the worst things that have ever happened to me.
I give thanks for the night the transmission in my GEO Metro failed as I was driving up a steep hill in Northern California. At that time I was in the middle of a crisis of faith and rolling backward down that hill quickly prompted me to pray again.
Thank you, reckless driver who hit me as I was crossing a street in Louisville, Ky. Not only did that pain and suffering check help me pay off some credit card debt, but I gained new appreciation for my ample rear end which cushioned the impact of your sports car.
And I truly appreciate the possibly intoxicated driver who totaled my Chevy Cavalier last year while it was parked outside my West Homewood apartment. You gave me a great excuse to break my lease at that roach-infested dump and, despite the car note, I love my new Mazda 3.
What I learned: the universe is trying to kill me and is determined to use a car to do the deed.
– Javacia Harris Bowser
For the groove weld
I am thankful for these pages and, in the event that you’re reading this online, these pixels. If the founders were indeed sound in their logic and the Fourth Estate is truly the linchpin of democracy, then what you’re holding in your hands is not an alt-weekly newspaper… it’s a piece of invisible American infrastructure. So, dear reader, don’t let it crumble away like so much interstate asphalt. Read it and share it. And be thankful it exists. Be thankful for Kyle and Madison’s dogged pursuit of the truth, Jesse’s fierce devotion to our local community, Glenny’s expertise in piecing the paper puzzle together, Traci for making it tangible, Heather and Claire for selling it and David for making the operation run smoothly. And you’d better be thankful for Mark Kelly. His drive to make Birmingham a better city is regrettably unmatched, even in comparison to our elected leaders. He’s the hub of the Weld wheel, he cranks out a fine product each week and he does it with his shirt on. If only others in the industry would follow his lead.
– Matt Hooper
For those that raised us right
I am thankful for my mother painting one of our garage doors a deep red, because my father refused to have our yellow house re-painted.
I am thankful for my father shouting into a Taco Bell drive-thru speaker, explaining that he wasn’t sure what it was called, but he wanted one of those things that looked like a coffee filter filled with goodies.
I am thankful for my mother driving through a large medical center complex ultimately finding her and her Chrysler parked on the hospital’s helicopter pad.
I am thankful for my dad asking if he should bury “Tennille” the family cat before or after we ate Thanksgiving dinner when she suddenly suffered a heart attack by the dining room table.
I am thankful for my mother phoning me to reveal that her Hispanic neighbor’s dog understood Spanish.
I am thankful for my father tipping me off that Mennen’s After Shave lotion cured painful sunburns, teenage acne and severe cases of poison ivy.
I am thankful for my mother insisting that her new computer needed to be able to “do” email.
I am thankful for my father warning me to watch out for squirrels, because they bite people and cause rabies.
I am thankful for my mother trying to answer the remote control instead of the telephone.
I am thankful for my father being concerned that he was being charged extra for the newscrawl scrolling across the bottom of his television screen.
I am thankful for my mother nonchalantly dragging her sticky foot across the floor of Food World (hoping no one would notice) after a jar of syrup slipped from her hands and shattered on the floor.
I am thankful for my father teaching me that swallowing a spoonful of Vick’s Vapor Rub prevents sore throats, sinus infections and pneumonia, despite the fact the label clearly warns against ingesting.
Most of all, I am thankful for my parents being funny without even knowing it.
– David Garrett
For the suffering that yields art
I am thankful for crony capitalism and the continuing and long-standing clusterfuck that currently poses as our federal government. I am also blessed to be living in one of the most regressive places (politically, economically, educationally, and on and on…) in these beautiful United States, Alabama. What wonderful photographic images often come from all this miasma . Basically, I tell ya, it’s photographic heaven on the streets. It’s simply overwhelming sometimes to think of the potential accompaniment of great rock ‘n’ roll music that surely can’t be far behind.
– Steven Atha
Praise Song for Body Parts
Let us give thanks for the brain, if waning, and that a chunky notebook and pen can suffice at a first Weld meeting, though surrounded and surpassed by seven or eight computers. Let us give thanks for the taste buds, and thereby, for new-crop pecans, likewise, pumpkin, for cornbread and sage, for cranberry apple conserve, for pears, pear preserves, pear mincemeat, pear butter—and gel for ailing nails. Let us give thanks for arms for hugging and thereby thanks for grandchildren, for children, parents, grandparents, ancestors, eternal life—and word processing. Let us give thanks for kidneys, and thereby especially those two donated to my husband by his siblings in 1993 and 1994, for KK (Kathy’s Kidney) that has survived and flourished like an old friend and the gingko and catfish. Let us give thanks for the kneecap, (o glorious, wondrous, and necessary body part), for a surgeon wise enough to go to Plan B during surgery to save the shattered parts, and thereby for my bending and squatting onto a commode rather than hovering, plopping, and writhing in pain, for walking down a set of stone steps to my son’s front door one day this week—for no braces, no ice packs and no la-la land of Lortabs. No walker, no wheelchair, no shower chair. Hallelujah. Let me run and kneel at the communion rail, thankful on this Thanksgiving.
– Kathleen Thompson
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Thanks and praise from University of Alabama students
I am thankful for fantasy football. Before joining a league, I would simply overlook 95 percent of what was going on in the NFL outside of how the New Orleans Saints played or how former Alabama Crimson Tide players performed that weekend. Now, my Sundays are packed full of watching nearly every play from every game to see how my fantasy team performs. Productivity down, satisfaction up. Thank you fantasy football.
-Alex Curenton, 21, senior at the University of Alabama
I am thankful for the book Ordinary People by Judith Guest. Its pages are filled with a beautiful story written in a beautiful style, and it inspires me. Because of this book, I know I want to write and it always makes me want to read. I am never tired of its story, which teaches about love, loss, forgiveness, and moving on.
-Haley Namie, 21, senior at the University of Alabama
I’m thankful for people who make me laugh. Once, my roommate opened a can of soup, read the directions and asked me where she could get a can of water. Often, she gets words mixed up. When a friend said that she couldn’t give blood because she was anemic, my roommate turned and whispered to me, “That’s when you don’t eat, right?” My mother once called a friend in another time zone to see what the football score was “over there.” Laughter reminds me, especially during the hectic holiday season, not to take myself too seriously.
– Brock Brett, 21, senior at the University of Alabama
I am thankful for grammar. Without grammar, the words I love would be a jumbled mess. Comma splices and run-on sentences would take over paragraphs. There would be no difference between there, their and they’re; between its and it’s; between your and you’re—imagine the insane confusion. So thank you, grammar, for making words readable.
– Amanda Bayhi, 21, senior at the University of Alabama
I am thankful for college football realizing the importance and necessity of the Alabama Crimson Tide being in the BCS National Championship. I appreciate Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Oregon taking one for the team and losing to prepare the way for the Crimson Tide. I am thankful to the BCS for not allowing a rematch in 2006 between Michigan and Ohio State, therefore closing its doors to the Big Ten and creating a window of opportunity to which the SEC welcomed. Five national championships later, and one looming, I am thankful the Tide has the possibility to hold two of those six.
-Morgan Upton, student at the University of Alabama
I am thankful for my family and the unconditional love they have for me. I am not perfect; I have many faults. They love me regardless, and they will always be by my side. There is no greater feeling than knowing I am surrounded by a wonderful family. God has truly blessed me.
– Haley Pannone, 21, student at The University of Alabama
I’m thankful for my family. People who come from good families take for granted the fact that they have always had people who love them. It’s hard to fully appreciate something when it’s all you have known your entire life. As I have grown up and seen how fortunate I am to have a family that cares about me, I realize that it goes unnoticed too often. So this is for my family who accepts everyone under any circumstance and would never throw anyone under the bus no matter how different they might be. Although they might be crazy and it’s hard to be around all of them together sometimes, I love them with all my heart. This is for the family that would do absolutely anything for me and I for them.
-Ramey Edwards University of Alabama Senior Journalism major
I am thankful for life. Everyday new life is placed here and older lives fade away. I am thankful that God has given me another day to enjoy even the simplest of things that many take for granted, like the swaying of trees, the breeze of the wind, the warmth of the sun, and the smell of rain. Life exists in more than humans and animals. It dwells inside of the nature that surrounds us every time we step out the door and drive or walk to our many destinations throughout the day. As simple as it may be, I am thankful for the life in me and around me.
-ChiAndrea Barnes, 23, UA senior in journalism
I am thankful for those in my life who challenge me. The people who don’t take my bullshit, who ignore my walls and who push me to back up almost every word that comes from my head and heart. Without them, I would get so wrapped up in my own head and my own limited perceptions of the world that I probably would have stayed a timid, soft spoken little girl who was too afraid of confrontation to ever stand up for herself. Without these people, these friends and family members–even strangers–the thoughts I have and the desires of my soul would stay forever trapped in the maze of disorganization that is my brain. My thoughts and feelings would go unchecked and instead of flourishing would wither. I am grateful to these people for never being intimidated or too selfish to want to help me sort through all the crap. They help me grow as a person and are always there with suggestions, advice, or just to pick a fight to see if I can handle myself. I love them dearly and would be lost without their guiding support. Not only do they challenge, but they do so in order to encourage me to find my own way. They don’t have to agree with the things I say or do, they just want to make sure that I have considered every aspect of my choice. Thank you for keeping me sane and on top of my game.
– Clara Goode, 22, senior at The University of Alabama
I’m thankful that three of my friends have already gotten married. While I loved being a part of their big day, I’m thankful that the spending spree of one-wear dresses and shoes is over for the year. I’m thankful for no more bridal teas and wedding showers. I’m thankful for not having to wear a hideous dress, and stand in front of 500 people I don’t know again, at least until March. I’m also thankful that my baby sister is coming home from Maryland for Thanksgiving, even though the majority of the time will most assuredly be spent talking about her upcoming nuptials to a Navy man. Which leads me to a thankfulness of journaling. I have so many things going on in life that I have no control over, it is a great stress reliever to be able to put into words exactly what I’m thinking. And lastly I’m thankful for student loans, without which I would be unable to purchase (aside from tuition) four more bridesmaid dresses this coming year.
-Katie Wood, 23, University of Alabama, Graduate Student
I give thanks for home-cooked meals, most especially those whose primary ingredient isn’t butter or refined sugar. As a college student, eating well – a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, hormone-free animal products and other unpackaged things – is difficult. Most on-campus dining options offer an abundance of greasy, fried, cheese-drenched and cavity-inducing sweets, but ask for a fresh salad, topped with nuts and a dressing that isn’t as fatty as a hamburger, and you’re out of luck. I’m not asking that campus dining become the latest version of Whole Foods, or that college students give up their late-night snacking, but instead I must express my gratitude for all things healthy as I anticipate a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. Nothing is better than coming home to scents of freshly grilled asparagus, roasted sweet potatoes and homemade stuffing heating over the stove. As a college student, it’s easy to express gratitude for homemade food since we rarely get to consume it, but still these healthy foods deserve praise. They bring us together to celebrate the holidays, remind us of our abundance and unite us. Cooking meals at home, sitting down to the table together and breaking bread provides fellowship and nourishment that I must be thankful for.
-Katherine McClellan, 21, a Senior at the University of Alabama
I’m thankful that I’m the oldest grandchild. When I was younger I would whine about not having an older brother or how all my younger cousins were just so annoying. Of course then I didn’t realize that I had four years all to myself with my parents, or that I never had to worry about hand-me-downs. Or that I got the most time with my grandparents. When I was younger I didn’t realize that taking the special geology trips with Granddaddy that only I was old enough to go on, or remembering what it was like to go to the beach with Grandmamma would be so special. But it is. I’ve lost two of my grandparents this past year. And while it was harder for me to say goodbye than it was for my sister or cousins, I got 20 years with them. 20 whole years. I think about my 6 and 7-year-old cousins and feel sad that they won’t remember the swing in the back yard of my Granddad’s house, or my Grandmother’s strawberry pie that dad could never quite replicate. I’m sad, but also incredibly thankful that I had all those years to make those memories and so many more.
-Avery Driggers, 21, Senior, University of Alabama
I’m thankful for my mom — for her excellent cooking, plentiful hugs and happiness to have me home.
I’m thankful for my dad — for our long talks, for his loud humor and antagonizing antics (but don’t tell him that).
I’m thankful for my sister — for the familiar comfort of reuniting with my best friend after so long.
I’m thankful for my grandparents — for their baked goods, for their genuine interest in even the most trivial things going on in my life.
I’m thankful for my cousins — for their company, for playing the same games we played at Thanksgiving ten years ago.
I’m thankful for aunts and uncles — for the bottles of wine and cheesy jokes they bring along.
I’m thankful for my home — for the comfort it brings each time I set foot inside, for the close quarters it provides this crazy family.
I’m thankful for Thanksgiving break — for a week off and no longer.
I’m thankful for turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie.
I’m thankful for the pandemonium of Thanksgiving, otherwise it just would be the same.
– Kerie Kerstetter, 22, University of Alabama student
I am thankful for deviled eggs and corn casserole and sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese and dressing. I’m thankful that I’m no longer a vegetarian. I’m thankful for turkeys. I’m thankful for my mom and my dad and my brother. I’m thankful when my professors cancel class. I’m thankful that I might actually graduate soon. I’m thankful for my bed and my super soft sheets. I’m thankful for Netflix and Grey’s Anatomy. I’m thankful that I’m not paralyzed. I’m thankful that I can take the stairs. I’m thankful that I have a home. I’m thankful for my ability to read and write. I’m thankful for comfy chairs and fireplaces and hot chocolate and Christmas trees. I’m thankful that Christmas comes after Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for babies. I’m thankful for t-shirts and jeans and tennis shoes. I’m thankful for Jesus. I’m thankful for pretty dresses and curling irons. I’m thankful for my dad (again). I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful for air conditioning. I’m thankful that I have so much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for Jason’s Deli and pickles. I’m thankful that I can go to school. I’m thankful that my family is healthy. I’m thankful for my granddad. I’m thankful for my grandmother. I’m thankful for my aunts and uncles and cousins. I’m thankful that I have hair. I’m thankful that I have all my limbs. I’m thankful that I have a car. [KNOCK ON WOOD.]
-Hailey Grace Allen, student at the University of Alabama