Be Thankful

My Annual Giving of Thanks
By Furman Bisher | Wednesday, November 22, 2006, 05:06 PM

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Holidays, what a joy. I doubt that any country dives into holidays like us Americans, but that’s just supposition. Bastille Day is the only foreign holiday I’ve ever encountered, and France shuts down for that one, at least in Normandy, where I was in desperate need of an overnight accommodation. Approaching Caen, I noticed repetitive signs that advertised “Hotel de Ville.” Several of them. Must be a palatial place, I thought, and I kept following the markers. I was in luck, I chortled, when I saw only a couple of cars in the parking lot, but no sign of life. Then it hit me, right between the eyes.

Translated, I had arrived at the City Hall in Caen. No room in the inn. I spent the night in a telephone booth room over a small cafe, and gave thanks for that, which brings me around to the annual Thanksgiving Day mission of sharing these Thursdays with you, sometimes musing, sometimes flippant in nature:

I’m thankful for the cat’s meow — when that means he wants to get out.

I’m thankful for the sound of a waterfall, not some Niagara roar, but the trickle of water over rocks.

I’m thankful that in this twilight of my life, I still have enough hair to have to visit Cookie for a tonsorial treatment.

I’m thankful that the Oakland Raiders and Randy Moss finally got together, the hand of destiny at work.

I’m thankful for eye glasses; can you imagine what a blur the world would be without them?

I’m thankful for the sound of golf spikes — the real thing — on a gravel path.

I’m thankful when I get to church and see that the songs for the service are ones I know the words to.

I’m thankful, driving down the hill to home, to see a plume of smoke curling up from the chimney.

I’m thankful I grew up in the radio, not the television age.

I’m thankful I’ve grown to appreciate the railing on stairways more than I used to.

I’m thankful I’ve found out that “Bompa,” loosely translated means me, “Grandpa.”

I’m thankful I grew up when a corn-shucking was known as a social event.

I’m thankful for the driver who thinks to look before he backs up.

I’m thankful we don’t own a parrot, and so is the cat.

I’m thankful I can still find a place to get a typewriter ribbon.

I’m thankful for the sight of thunder clouds after a long dry spell.

I’m thankful that wrinkles don’t hurt, unless you look in the mirror.

OK, if life begins at 40, what happens at 80?

I’m thankful for the styptic pencil, something only a few of us old shavers can identify. But what happened to it?

I’m thankful for the mountain colors this year, which I seem to say every year, so who needs New England?

I’m thankful for the parent who seems to enjoy being one.

I’m thankful for the golden sun up across the marshes at St. Simons. God does paint with a beautiful brush.

I’m thankful for the disc jockey, the guy who played records and chattered away through your radio, like a neighbor across the fence.

I’m thankful for corned beef and cabbage, any time, any day.

I’m thankful the telemarketers can’t get to us any longer. Take that!

I’m thankful for ol’ John Shea, something a little private here for our best man and a friend like no other.

And I’m thankful that we’ve been able to share another Thanksgiving across the table, now don’t forget your nap.



  1. Furman, you old rascal. Great to see you’re still kickin’. Hell, I’m glad I’m still kickin’. Have a great Christmas. Dan Hruby, San Jose Mercury News retired

  2. Hi Furman. Just a question. Do any of your books mention legendary minor league player Jesse Morgan “Rube” Eldridge? He was my great-uncle and I’m trying to do as much research as possible on his career. Did you happen to know him?
    I live near your hometown, by the way, in Trinity, N.C.
    Thanks and all my best,
    Dwight Davis

    • Dwight, you bring back a name from deep in my past. I remember Rube when he pitched around North Carolina, out of Trinity, and what a pitcher he was! Unfortunately, he doesn’t appear in any of my books. My oversight, I’m sure.

  3. Furman,

    I want to congratulate you on your retirement from the AJC. I also want to wish you many healthy years to enjoy yourself and continue your posts on the Web.

  4. By god, you can WRITE!

  5. Furman,

    I Read your “Thankful” article in yesterdays (11/26/09) AJC. I live in one of those smaill towns you mentioned. Just wanted to say thanks for recognizing us and let you know that Deepstep is one word. People always try to split it into two but it is indeed one word. Just wanted to give you a heads up. Keep up the good work in your retirement.

  6. Mr. Bisher, I have had the blessing of reading your articles for the past 40 years and will cry forever the day you finally do stop writing. Your essays are a history teacher`s treasure in seeing things the way they used to be. Sadly, those young bucks in your profession are no longer asked to be as adept as you and your colleagues were back when one had to be the best to get any readership and advancement. That is to say you will never be equaled and forever cherished. For my own selfish desires I pray you write up to the moment God says to come to dinner in the big house. Thanks for all the years……

  7. I’m thankful to have found this site. Although I’m quite late, congratulations on your retirement.

  8. Furman,
    Your book, “Thankful”, has been one of my prized possessions for many years. I have not quite reached into my 90’s but I’m real close. I still recall your early days with Danforth, Outlar, Roberts, Giles, MInter and of course Grizzard. I look forward to your articles as often as you write them. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

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