Coosa Valley News is proud to welcome guest columnist David Dawson, who has granted CVN permission to run its annual Thanksgiving column. David was the sports editor for the Rome News-Tribune for years, but now makes his home in Nashville as he serves as the Assistant Director of Athletics Communication at Vanderbilt University. *Editor’s Note* We always loved reading David’s Thankful Thanksgiving article, so it’s an absolute pleasure to share his version of 2022 with Northwest Georgia.
As I sat down to write this year’s Thanksgiving column, my mind wandered back to the early days of my journalism career, when I first started working as a sportswriter for the Rome News-Tribune.
At the time, I was a big fan of columnist FurmanBird, who wrote for the Atlanta Journal of Constitution. I particularly enjoyed Furman’s annual Thanksgiving column—so much so that I decided to write one myself. (That is, I stole his idea. Even his format).
As it turns out, Jim sacrificed his own Thanksgiving column to get mine going, although I didn’t find out until many years later.
I really don’t remember much – or actually anything – of what I wrote in that first Thanksgiving column. It was probably a mixture of sentimentality and sarcasm, the latter being strong. I was a bit more cynical at the time, and probably stabbed Vinny Castillo, who I resented for taking Mark DeRosa’s playing time.
Now, more than 20 years later, the Thanksgiving tradition still lives on, but the writer’s perspective has changed significantly. The older version of me has different priorities and a different mindset. I’ve become more composed, to be sure (aren’t we all?), but beyond that, I think my understanding of true gratitude is much greater than it used to be. It is now a daily part of my life, beginning with the first breath of each new morning.
And today, on this special day, I am grateful….
• For group texting with my family, especially on football Saturdays.
• The most underrated and underused service in America for public libraries. (You all know they let you borrow their books right? Free!)
• For early morning Mountain Dews.
• Daily unsolicited hugs from my youngest son, Luke.
• For the drum fill at 1:30 of the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?” (Still gets me every time)
• For special dates with my wife April at Carrabba’s. Delicious food and a hot date – what more could you ask for?
• For hairdressers who are less concerned with chatting than with the cut-cut.
• For the dedication of the doctors who took care of my sweet parents. Both my father and mother have had heart related surgeries in the last two years and they are both doing great!
• For my church. And my pastor. And our student chaplain. And the children’s staff.
• For my eldest son Jonah’s insight, generosity and creativity.
• For consecutive SEC wins. anchor down!
• For completing the renovation work in our house. (For now).
• For those times when the waiter or waitress brings the salad on time.
• For the people who read this column every year. I appreciate you both very much.
• For my boxing fan. I can’t sleep without you, buddy.
• For every day I don’t have to wear long pants – and those days have been plentiful since the pandemic began.
• For the Tres RAs. (If you know, you know).
• For the way our dog Chloe sprawls out at the foot of Jonah’s bed each night while serving as the world’s most comfortable guard dog.
• For the feeling I get standing with other believers and singing about the “goodness of God”.
• For living just an hour away from my mom and dad, although I still don’t get to see them as often as I’d like. Maybe that will happen when they retire. Or maybe if I do. (Not sure which will happen first).
• For the times when the sky was clear when I rode over the mountains—and for God’s protection when it wasn’t.
• For midday Mountain Dew.
• For our boys being homeschooled. (Don’t tell anyone, but I think I have a crush on her teacher).
• For cherished memories of my personal and telephone conversations with Mrs. Ann. Oh how I already miss her words of encouragement.
• For our ugly old battered shed that has become my drum studio.
• For night swimming on any hot July evening.
• For compliments from my father. He always knows exactly what to say.
• For the sweet hours of quiet at my sister-in-law’s house after Thanksgiving, when the den is quiet, the Christmas tree twinkles and the satisfied eaters nod off quietly while the cowboy game is played.
• For the silly inside jokes between the three of us Dawson boys.
• For nighttime mountain dews.
• For the times I’ve reached my goal without getting lost. (This has actually happened three times in the past year).
• For Nerf football games in the front yard with Jonah and Luke.
• For the big-hearted veteran sports editor who, all those years ago, was willing to sacrifice his own Thanksgiving column to make room for a young reporter.
• Finally, once again, I am grateful (for the 23rd year in a row) to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. And while I’m at it, Merry Christmas!