During this holiday season, I’m thankful for: • Thanksgiving Day itself, a time when we can cast aside the problems of the world and concentrate on family, blessings and good food. • that first sip of coffee on a cold morning -- the way it soothes the throat, warms the body and comforts the spirit. • a good nap when I’m not really expecting the opportunity to get one. • the crooners and torch singers of the 1940s and 1950s -- Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee -- who now come to us via the magic of satellite radio. • candy bars of all kinds -- Three Musketeers, Snickers, Kit Kats, Butterfingers. • flowers that are placed in church sanctuaries throughout this county, Sunday after Sunday, in memory of good people who have left us -- people who are gone but certainly not forgotten. • historians such as the late Shelby Foote, who have such a way with words and descriptions that they can bring long-ago occurrences to life. • the serendipitous occasion of meeting new, intriguing friends, no matter what your age or theirs might be. • the occasional snowfalls we have here in Kershaw County, especially the ones that provide a gorgeous blanket of white and then go away quickly the next day as the sun comes out. • the good health that allows me to continue running after 35 years of pounding the pavement, even though my knees are rickety, my hamstrings are hamstrung and my pace isn’t what it used to be. • a handful of new television shows this season that are worth an hour’s time – “Revenge,” “Unforgettable,” “A Gifted Man.” • the recent revival of upscale note cards and stationery, perhaps signaling that just maybe, the art of handwritten correspondence isn’t entirely dead. • the amazingly recuperative powers of a hot shower after a hard day at work. • people who fight horrid illnesses yet manage to keep smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. • Ray Charles’ rendition of “America The Beautiful.” • kick-off at the South Carolina-Clemson rivalry on a glorious autumn afternoon. • the cardinals that congregate each morning around the bird feeder outside our kitchen. • people who can sit down at a piano and play any tune they’ve ever heard, all the while making it look effortless. • belted Galloways, those chuckle-inducing cows that look like big, overstuffed Oreos. • skyscrapers and taxis and the hustle and bustle of large cities, along with the fact that I can visit them without having to live in them. • dawn, by far the most peaceful time of the day, and the way the world cranks up shortly thereafter. • Bess, who has proven to me that grandchildren are just as precious as I had always heard. • veal Marsala, chicken tetrazzini, fried clams, grilled asparagus, messy cheeseburgers. • comedians who can still get laughs without getting down in the gutter. • the ragged old sweatshirts that keep me warm on winter nights. • my favorite iPod tracks -- the dulcet tones of Eva Cassidy; the graveled-voice soul of Van Morrison; the Sweet Baby Jamesness of James Taylor; and the Tams’ old beach music classics. • jockeys who can stay aboard their thundering steeplechase horses as if they were just riding a merry-go-round. • Highway 97 around Liberty Hill, which almost makes you feel as if you’re in the mountains. • the thousands of people in Kershaw County who quietly volunteer their time to good causes, never seeking anything in return. • the innocence of little kids on a playground, too young to be bothered by a world that is often tawdry. • golf, a lovely-but-at-the-same-time wretched game. • my old Peter, Paul and Mary CDs, which are timeless though Mary Travers is no longer with us. • family, of course.