During this holiday season, I’m thankful for: • Jerry Lee Lewis’ improbable version of “Over The Rainbow,” with its inventive piano riffs and his “way above the chimbley tops” vocalizing -- perhaps the greatest feel-good song I’ve ever heard. • Kids opening their presents at Christmas, flinging paper everywhere in a mad attempt to get inside the boxes. • Waking after a day of rain and wind to sunny skies and a gentle, clearing breeze. • The days when songs we called “instrumentals” could make the Top 40 list -- “Classical Gas,” the incomparable guitar masterpiece by Mason Williams; “Theme From a Summer Place,” by Percy Faith and his orchestra; and “Love Is Blue,” by Paul Mariat. • The women I see out walking together in downtown Camden, enjoying the chatting and friendship as much as the exercise. • Discovering, after decades of listening to music, great new groups like the Milk Carton Kids, who sound like a modern-day reincarnation of Simon and Garfunkel. • Those gorgeous days when you decide on a whim -- if you have an understanding boss, of course -- that it would be a perfect time to take an afternoon off and do exactly what you wish. • TV shows Blue Bloods, Downton Abbey and Chicago Fire -- and the DVR, that amazing invention that allows us geezers to watch those shows without having to stay up past our bedtimes. • South Carolina, where the beauty is breathtaking and the people are not only friendly but generous, ranking in the top five in percentage of disposable income given to charity. • Cheeseburgers, red snapper, veal marsala, fried chicken and, just to provide a tiny touch of proper nutrition, grilled asparagus. Oh, yes, don’t forget chicken tettrazini, tiramisu and fried clams. Gosh, where do we stop? • Seasoned flight attendants, who must put up with an endless ration of you-know-what from irritable travelers who want to blame them for everything. • Those Ethiopian and Kenyan marathon runners who can churn out mile after mile at breathtaking speed -- and the plodders at the back of the pack who manage to slog out 26.2 miles through sheer determination and perseverance. • The pre-dawn hours -- the best part of each day.
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