Thankfulness treasure for which it’s worth digging

6 mins read

If you think too long and too hard, you can find yourself succumbing to the dreariness of the news cycle. It seems like Lady Justice has pulled off her blindfold and slapped on a MAGA hat. 

But no, there are still things for which to be thankful. Here are a few of mine. 

I am thankful for the healthcare professionals and public officials who persist in trying to save us from ourselves. The pandemic has taken a toll on so many people in our nation and around the world. I’ve seen and heard of much loss, too much of it unnecessary and self-inflicted. They should not have to weather threats of harm to them or their families as reward for their efforts, but they do. God bless these saints. 

I’m thankful for my family and friends. Our family circle was broken this year, but it endures. I can always turn to those closest to me to be recharged when my emotional batteries start running low. I try to return the favor by offering encouraging words and maybe leaving a smile on a face that came to me covered in sadness. 

I’m reminded that when we have the right people around us our burdens are shared and our joys multiplied. 

I’m thankful for the continuing gift of music. The Verzuz matchups evolved from their rap battle roots to become celebrations of artists who have given so much richness to our lives with their voices and musicianship. The pinnacle of this year’s lineups for me was the one featuring Earth, Wind and Fire “versus” The Isley Brothers. 

Both groups have remained relevant for decades and crafted music that transcends genre to become part of the cultural fabric. 

I’m thankful for having a decent man in the White House. Joe Biden’s critics deride him as Sleepy Joe and portray him as feeble. Maybe because he does what presidents did before social media became a way to skirt accountability and partisan platforms allowed the easy spread of lies and misinformation: he works for the American people. Quietly. Competently. All while reaffirming his belief in an America that matches and exceeds its self-image. 

Yes, he is old but he is also “old school,” in ways that remind us the country is only as good as we make it when we work together, not against each other. 

I’m thankful to those of you who recommended Heather Cox Richardson to me when I mentioned I wanted to read more women columnists. She is a prodigy who reports almost daily on the powers shaping our lives. She provides context, especially historical, and points us to the roots of the ideological battles of today’s politics. She’s a treasure. 

The equally impressive writer Michael Harriot recently left his position at The Root website. He’s working on “Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America.” A blurb states the book will look at “more than thirty little-known stories about the experiences of Black Americans, from the Tulsa Race Massacre to the history of policing.” I can’t wait! 

I’m thankful for streaming platforms. I know most people are ready to return to what passed for “normal” before the coronavirus, but I’m not convinced the virus is as ready to move on as we are. I spend a lot of time reading, listening to music and watching TV shows I missed when they debuted. Robert and Michelle King’s “Evil” was a fantastic discovery. 

The show launched on CBS a couple years ago before moving to the Paramount Plus platform for its second season. It feels like a combination of “The X-Files” and the old “Night Stalker” TV shows, with a healthy consideration of faith and human frailty. Not many shows can be laugh-out-loud funny and oh-God-what-was-that scary at the same time. Good stuff. 

Speaking of laugh-out-loud funny, I’m thankful for comedians Tony Baker and Shuler King. Both take viral video clips and turn them into hilarious ruminations on the absurdity of life and how seriously we too often take ourselves. Or maybe we don’t take things seriously enough. In either case, I’ll never be able to see an alligator again without imagining it’s humming “What A Fool Believes” while it waits for its prey to draw close. 

Finally, I’m thankful for this newspaper, for the service it provides the community and the opportunity it extends me through this column. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and, “Go Tigers!” 

Terry E. Manning lives and works in Savannah, Ga. He is a Clemson graduate and worked for 20 years as a journalist. He can be reached at teemanning@gmail.com. 

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