Thursday, November 27, 2014

Three Things Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm a big fan of Thanksgiving and the three F's: family, food and football! What can I say? I'm from the Midwest, this is what we do! Give me turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pie (with Cool Whip) and I'm a happy guy.

In honor of this special day I'm going to post a couple of thoughts and tell a funny Thanksgiving story.

*I'm thankful for so many things (in no particular order): my wife and her boys, my kids, our home, my job(s), our cats, our good health, my family and their good health -- especially my mom who at 77 is still active and happy -- my brother and three sisters (RIP Joni), the ability to participate in sports, especially running, my good friends, most of all those who supported me when I was down, my faith and all the other things that I hold near and dear in my life. I am blessed and try to remember that every day, not just the fourth Thursday in November.

*Congrats to everyone who ran a race today! I've raced a few times on Thanksgiving and it's always a lot of fun. Plus, when you drop 700-800 calories before a big dinner that's even better! I used to run a 4-mile race in Batavia, which is a fun event that at the time had a few hundred people and went along a beautiful path along the Fox River. The race organizers changed the course because the number of runners got too big for the trail and now almost 2,000 people run the race!

I'm hoping to run a 5K in Schaumburg on Saturday. It all depends on Kevin's (and mine) basketball schedule. We are playing in a tournament in Kankakee, which is about 90 minutes away, and if we win on Friday night I'll have time to run, if we don't, we play too early on Saturday morning to make it. If I can't make that one, there is another run in Schaumburg next weekend, and I'm hoping to get into that one. We don't play until 4 p.m. next weekend so I can fit it in!

Heck, I may run both of them. I still have my goal of breaking 30 minutes by the end of the year, there's still time!

*I think everybody has a good Thanksgiving story. Here's mine. When I was in high school, my family traveled a lot, and all of our trips were done by car. I spent a lot of time riding (and later driving) all over the Southeast as we traveled with my dad on his work trips and rolled those into vacations. Usually we took my dad's company car -- he was given Buick LeSabres -- and others we went in a black 1975 Ford fan that had wall-to-wall shag carpet and these weird, leather-type walls. My dad had bought the van and installed a couple of chairs and windows, and bingo(!), we had a conversion van!

So in 1984 my parents decided to visit my uncle and his family in Alexandria, Louisiana. So my parents, my little brother (who was six at the time) and I piled into the party van and headed south. After running out of gas in Missouri and spending the night in Senatobia, Mississippi, we finally made it to Louisiana.

We were there for five days total and had a great time. We ate cajun food and played golf with my uncle, who was a retired major in the Air Force and had flown a refueling jet in the Korean War and an attack chopper in Vietnam. He later flew for Air America and at the time of our visit transported via helicopter people to and from the oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. My Uncle Bill was an interesting guy.

On Wednesday we piled back into the van and headed for a couple of days in Houston. When we arrived there it was super cold and the hotel he had picked had a pool -- but it was outdoors. That was a problem, because my brother Tim was a pool fanatic at the time, every place we stayed had to have some type of pool. I'm serious, he was crazy about pools. One night we were staying at a hotel and my mom woke up in the middle of the night to see my brother standing at the window of the hotel staring at the pool!

(Disclaimer: Despite our nine-year age difference, my brother has long been one of my best friends, and currently lives in Atlanta with his wife, Jenn, and works as a golf professional at River Pines Golf Course. He also takes full ownership of his pool obsession.)

So on Thanksgiving, my dad and I got up and played nine holes of golf -- in 32-degree weather, it was like hitting rocks -- and then moved to another hotel with an indoor pool that was about an hour outside of Houston. So by the time we golfed, moved and my brother frolicked in the pool, it was late in the evening and we hadn't had Thanksgiving dinner! So we drove back into Houston and the restaurants we tried were out of Thanksgiving food. Eventually we settled on dinner at Denny's, since by then it was one of the few places left open. The only highlight of the Denny's is that it had a Pac Man machine that had a boost button that made Pac Man go super fast. Tim and I pumped a few quarters into that one.

It was certainly memorable and is a funny story, but in the end we were spending time together as a family and we had a lot of blessings in our life to be very thankful for. We took a lot of trips but that one was one that sits atop the list as one of my personal favorites.

Needless to say, in my family we are rarely bored! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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