Being extra thankful at Brownspur this year

Published 11:10 pm Saturday, November 25, 2006

As most regular readers will have surmised since last week’s column, we had a new reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving at Brownspur: Betsy and I have become grandparents finally. Sean Robert Irwin ain’t a week old as I write this, and while he is (as noted last week) the same size as the trophy bass on my den wall (although the doctor didn’t use my super-accurate tacklebox scales to weigh the kid), it seems like he is awful small, whereas an eight-and-a-quarter-pound bass is huge in a landing net. No, they haven’t let me put him in the landing net to check, either.

You don’t reckon baby doctors nowadays get paid by weight, do you? If so, someone representing the family needs to be present at weigh-in, to be sure the doc doesn’t weigh his or her own thumb. I can remember buying a pound each of hoop cheese and bologna when I was in charge of getting the jungle lunches for hunting or fishing trips, and in some stores, the grocer would also weigh his thumb on the meat scales, if you know what I mean.

Football teams sometimes use those same type weigh-in tactics: if a team has a really great lineman who weighs in at 265 pounds, he will often appear in the official program as 240 pounds, so as to lull the opposing lineman in an upcoming game. I never had that problem — being great — but I’ve seen fudging on weight start as early as high school football and carry on through college and the pros. It’s been over a dozen years since the Great Ice Storm, but I still recall reading that some electrical genius had figured out that the weight of the ice on the three wires between two of those high transmission line poles (which all broke off then) was greater than if you had hung the entire offensive and defensive lines for every NFL team between two sets of poles!

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Having said that, let us all be thankful for electricity that comes into the house without making a motor noise. And may God bless those folks on the Gulf Coast who, over a year after Katrina, still are having to use generators or live in FEMA trailers.

Back to this new state of granddaddyhood, I am thankful to be around and to hold and rock The Kid. On our first child, I got Betsy and new daughter Christie back from the hospital to our apartment a thousand miles from Brownspur, supervised by Betsy’s mother Miss Mable, hoisted my seabag, and a chopper picked me up to catch up with the carrier for a two-month deployment. I didn’t see my new kid again for nearly three months. When Adam, our second child, was born, I was still recovering from a broken back, so I was restricted in picking up things weighing as much as a dirty diaper. When B.C., the new mother in the family now, was born, I crushed my right hand in a cotton gin lint cleaner a week later, so again missed out on the ritual of holding a newborn.

Having said all that, let me go back and once again express thankfulness for not being shot at recently, for still being able to walk, and for having a right hand that works pretty well except now and then in cold weather.

All this thankfulness we are officially expressing at this time of year is supposed to be to God, to the Almighty who created us so miraculously all the way back to the original-model grandparents, and still creates today. If you are thankful to your own father or mother, or grandfather and grandmother, well, that’s icing on the cake, and you belong to tell them that. But you should also express that gratitude to your Maker.

And while you’re at it, be thankful that you live in a country and state that still allows you – nay, even gives you a holiday from work – to publicly express thanks to God. I know that we sometimes get caught up in the negatives of the way the “legal system” and the Guv’mint have bent the rules about that, but most of us ain’t got to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, or the Fofa July, do we? And, having said that, let us be thankful for the people who do have critical jobs that require them to give up their holidays to keep the rest of us safe to celebrate ours: the police, firefighters, servicemen and women, nurses, doctors, emergency teams that collect us after wrecks or restore power after holiday storms, or answer 911 calls on holidays.

We have a lot to be thankful for in Brownspur USA in 2006, don’t we?