Football and turkey are great, but don’t forget the thanks

Published 5:59 am Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving has always been the stepchild of holidays. Unfortunate, but true.

The Christmas tree lots start filling up that day. Christmas decorations are up everywhere. Stores are understandable, but private residences?

Can’t you wait just a few more days?

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Far too many folks think Thanksgiving is only the opening act to Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year when normally well-adjusted folks turn into merchandise-hungry animals waiting for 4 a.m. sales. Those who think the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the NFL are violent haven’t been at one of those store-opening sales where shoppers, who often have been waiting in the cold for hours, battle for cheap electronic gear and free sweaters that might fall apart in a few months. Maybe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell should consider levying fines for some of the Black Friday excesses instead of some ticky-tack hits on quarterbacks. The world would be a better place.

It’s a big football day, as the NFL plays a tripleheader for those trying to sleep off the abundance of too much turkey and dressing on the couch.

Speaking of that, if only the Egg Bowl was back on its proper Thanksgiving Night time slot. Nothing is better than eating turkey sandwiches and watching Ole Miss and Mississippi State meet in the annual grudge match. The lure of TV money has ended this great tradition and it’s something that really needs to make a comeback, pronto. Playing that game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving is like playing the Iron Bowl pitting Alabama and Auburn on Friday. It doesn’t belong there, but when you’re the SEC and receiving dump truck loads of cash from these networks, you’re at their mercy. Pity.

Or the holiday gets branded “Turkey Day,” intimating that the de riguer dish, turkey, is the reason for the holiday. Nothing is better than smoked or fried turkey, but is that cartoonish bird that Ben Franklin thought should be our national bird the reason for a holiday? Of course not.

How can anyone turn their back on a day designed to reflect and give thanks all of the good things that happened during the year?

There’s so much to give thanks for. Despite the great economic hardship, we live in the greatest country the world has ever known. We went to the polls on Nov. 2 and changed a government completely without a violent revolt, something that can’t be said for other countries.

We have great men in our military who sacrifice family time this holiday to defend our way of life in places both distant and sometimes unpronounceable.

So when you’re plotting your plan of action at the mall for tomorrow or grousing at the prospect of eating turkey for the next few weeks, stop and give thanks.

You’ll be glad you did.