Giving thanks for Manny, growlers, waxwings and carbonara

Things to be grateful for on Thanksgiving 2013

November 27, 2013|Dan Rodricks

Happy Thanksgiving 2013. Let us give thanks for the food we are about to eat, the wine we are about to drink, the football game we are about to watch — Ravens versus Steelers, NBC, 8:30 p.m. — and the couches on which we are about to snore.

May we be truly grateful for a great many things ...

That most of us do not have Julius Henson's chutzpah problem. It's so bad, he probably needs to see a doctor about it. Convicted of violating state laws for his role in a vote-suppressing scheme during the 2010 Maryland election, Henson is now running for the state Senate. My diagnosis: swollen chutzpah gland.

If you have decent health insurance through your employer, or Medicare, and you do not have to face all the inexcusable problems with and Maryland's insurance exchange.

That you can afford a computer, a smartphone, access to the Internet and email. Be particularly grateful for the "send later" button; it has prevented a lot of us from saying stuff we probably shouldn't say, and kept more than a few of us employed.

I was hoping to give thanks for the Orioles giving Baltimore a World Series exactly 30 years since the last one. Oh, well. At least they gave us the Chris Davis bobblehead.

And Chris Davis gave us all those home runs.

And Adam Jones proved that a guy can achieve greatness and chew gum at the same time.

And let's give it up for Manny Machado's OMG play at third base. Extra thanks to the trainers and doctors who are taking care of him.

I'm thankful that the Ravens have won two Super Bowls in 13 seasons, while the Colts have won one in the 29 seasons since they left Baltimore.

Joe Flacco has a lot to be thankful for: Even before winning the Super Bowl and getting that big contract, he got the Haribo endorsement and, one assumes, all the Gold-Bear gummi candies he wants for the rest of his life.

I am grateful that I was able to see the voracious feeding of 40 cedar waxwings in a holly tree, the afternoon hatch of the Drunella grandis fly on a Pennsylvania trout stream, and the frantic flight of a squirrel out of my trash can when I pulled off the lid.

I'm grateful that Baltimore beer is available in growlers again.

Let's show some appreciation for the police officers of Baltimore — the professionals who, despite ample opportunity to become demoralized and jaded, are still committed to making the city safer.

Be thankful for the farmers' markets and the grocers who have expanded shopping opportunities for city residents — despite the bottle tax.

Be thankful that most of us contribute something to society besides snark. Thank yourself for not becoming an angry, mean crank who posts anonymous personal attacks against others on the Internet.

Let us continue to be grateful for the tools and amenities that have made modern life more convenient, efficient and tolerable: the flush toilet, the weed whacker, GPS and SaladShooter.

I'm not app-happy, but I'm grateful for Tune-In, which seems to get me just about any radio station in the galaxy.

I want to thank Pandora for introducing me to some great music I might not otherwise have heard.

And Netflix for streaming every season of "30 Rock."

I am grateful that Ludovico Einaudi went on a trip to Africa and composed an exquisite piece called "I Giorni" ("The Days") and that violinist Daniel Hope recorded it.

Be grateful for the new no-texting-while-driving laws; they will save lives, including yours and mine.

I am grateful for bartenders who actually listen to my order for a Manhattan — extra sweet, a little more vermouth than bourbon — and make it that way.

Give thanks if you can read.

Give thanks if you have become disciplined in your reading of Internet posts and are now capable of discerning fact from fiction, mindless assertions from informed criticism.

Give thanks if you pay attention to stuff.

Give thanks if you remember stuff.

Give thanks if you took Ronald Reagan's advice: "Trust but verify."

Give thanks if you're not ridiculously dim.

Be thankful you're not the fellow from Virginia who ran up $202,000 in E-ZPass tolls and fines because, he says, someone told him the toll booths on the Dulles Toll Road were unmanned after 11:30 p.m.

Let us give thanks . . .

For having reached a point in life where you no longer sweat the small stuff, and where you do all you can to encourage the young people around you; they need every bit these days.

For another year with an elderly family member; let's savor the time we get with them.

I'd also like to express thanks for Honeycrisp apples, even if they're more expensive than the rest.

And I say thanks for spaghetti alla carbonara, if only once a year. Long ago, food writer Calvin Trillin said it should have replaced turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, and he was so right.

Dan Rodricks' column appears each Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. He is the host of "Midday" on WYPR-FM.

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