Coosa Valley News is proud to welcome guest columnist David Dawson, who has granted CVN permission to run his yearly Thanksgiving column. For years, David served as sports editor for the Rome News-Tribune but now calls Nashville home as he serves as Assistant Director of Athletics Communication at Vanderbilt University. *Editors note* We always loved to read David’s “Thankful Thanksgiving” articles, so it’s an absolute pleasure to share his 2022 version with Northwest Georgia.

When I sat down to write this year’s Thanksgiving column, my mind drifted back to the early days of my journalism career, when I first started working as a sports writer for the Rome News-Tribune.

At the time, I was a big fan of columnist Furman Bisher, who wrote for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution. I especially enjoyed Furman’s yearly Thanksgiving column — so much, in fact, that I decided to try to write one of my own. (Which is to say, I stole his idea. Even his format).

My sports editor, Jim O’Hara, was kind enough to let me — a young-and-green sports writer who had only been on staff for a few months — have a prime spot in the Thanksgiving Day issue of the RNT.

As it turns out, Jim sacrificed his own Thanksgiving column in order for mine to run, although I didn’t learn about that until many years later.

I really don’t remember much — or anything, actually — that I wrote in that first Thanksgiving column. It was probably a mixture of sentimentalism and sarcasm, with a heavy amount of the latter. I was a bit more cynical back then, and I likley took a jab at Vinny Castillo, whom I begrudged for taking playing time away from Mark DeRosa.

Now, more than 20 years later, the Thanksgiving tradition is still alive, but the writer’s perspective has changed considerably. The older version of me has different priorities and a different mindset. I am more mellow, to be sure, (aren’t we all?) but beyond that, I think my understanding of true thankfulness is much greater than it once was. 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 thankful ….

• For group text messages with my family, especially on football Saturdays.

• For public libraries, the most underrated and underused service in America. (Y’all do know that they let you borrow their books, right? For free!)

• For early-morning Mountain Dews.

• For unsolicited hugs from my youngest son Luke on the daily.

• For the drum fill at the 1:30 mark of the song “Do They Know it’s Christmas Time?” (Still gets me every time)

• For special date nights with my wife April at Carrabba’s. Delicious food and a hot date — what more could a guy ask?

• For barbers who are less about chit-chat, and more about cut-cut.

• For the dedication of the doctors who have taken care of my sweet parents. Both my dad and my mom have undergone heart-related procedures in the past two years, and both of them are doing great!

• For my church. And my pastor. And our student pastor. And the children’s staff.

• For the insightfulness, big heartedness and creativity of my oldest son Jonah.

• For back-to-back SEC wins. Anchor Down!

• For the fact that the remodeling work at our house is done. (For now).

• For the times when the waiter or waitress brings out the salad in a timely manner.

• For the people who read this column each year. I appreciate both of you very much.

• For my box fan. I can’t sleep without you, buddy.

• For any day that I don’t have to put on long pants — and those days have been plentiful since the start of the pandemic.

• For the Tres RA’s. (If you know, you know).

• For the way that 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 when I stand with other believers and sing about the “Goodness of God.”

• For living only an hour away from my mom and dad, even though I still don’t get to see them as much as I like. Maybe that will happen when they retire. Or maybe when I do. (Not sure which one will happen first).

• For the times when the skies have been clear as I’ve driven across the mountains — and for God’s protection on the times when they weren’t.

• For mid-day Mountain Dews.

• For the fact that our boys are homeschooled. (Don’t tell anyone, but I think I have a crush on their teacher).

• For cherished memories of my conversations, in-person and on the phone, with Mrs. Ann. Oh, how I already miss her words of encouragement.

• For our ugly, old, beat-up shed that has become my drum studio.

• For night swimming on any random hot July evening.

• For compliments from my dad. He always knows just what to say.

• For those sweet hours of tranquility at my sister-in-law’s house after the Thanksgiving day meal is eaten, when the den is quiet, the Christmas tree is blinking and the satisfied eaters are quietly nodding off during the Cowboys game.

• For the silly inside jokes between us three Dawson boys.

• For late-night Mountain Dews.

• For the times when I have reached my destination without getting lost. (This actually happened three times this past year).

• For nerf football games in the front yard with Jonah and Luke.

• For the big hearted, veteran sports editor who was willing to sacrifice his own Thanksgiving column to give the space to a young reporter all those years ago.

• And lastly, I am thankful once again (for the 23rd consecutive year) to be able to wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. And while I am at it, a Merry Christmas!