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CHRIS TRAINOR


Hey, look at that. Thanksgiving week is here.

You remember Thanksgiving, right? You know, the one with the turkey. It’s that holiday that used to come between Halloween and Christmas, back in the days before the Christmas season began at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 1.

Truth be told, in this particular year I think a lot of folks are ready to go ahead and embrace some Christmas cheer, however early it might be.

But, there’s still some room for Thanksgiving in there -- at least there should be. There’s so much to love about it. It’s got all the F’s: food, football, family and friends. If we’re lucky, we can all have a big crowd over to the house and make it through the day without having to utilize our homeowner’s insurance policy. That said, if you’re hosting the family this year, you might want to at least brush up on your deductible.

With Turkey Day approaching, I am, as I do each year, focusing my column on those things -- big and small -- for which I am thankful.

Before we go any further, I must issue my annual disclaimer: The idea for a Thanksgiving “thankful” column wasn’t mine. For years it was made famous by late Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Furman Bisher, a treasure among Southern scribes. Bisher passed in 2012, but he left readers with warm memories, and for that we’re thankful.

And I’m thankful anytime my home heating unit actually works when I cut it on for the first time on the first cold night of the fall. It seems to only happen every few years. Most years I cut it on for the first time, get nothing in response and am left cursing and calling my dad for advice at 10 at night. I’m thankful for him, too.

I’m thankful for hot shot freshman quarterbacks and mostly reliable senior kickers. My beloved Gamecocks are going to need those, and whole hell of a lot more, in next Saturday’s grudge match against Clemson. It will be the 114th meeting in the rivalry, the 277th time Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has done The Dab and the 312th time USC coach Will Muschamp has nearly had a stroke on the sidelines.

Despite the fact that my wife and daughter literally waited until I was in Kansas City to buy him, and despite the fact that he chews everything (including baseboards, shoes, clothes, the corners of furniture, phone chargers, etc.), I’m thankful for our dog, Ollie. This will be his first Thanksgiving. I’m sure he’ll end up eating a bit of turkey. And if we don’t watch him closely, he’ll also eat the plastic the turkey was wrapped in, the bag it was brought home in and the tires on the car we drove to the store to get it. Happy Thanksgiving, Kansas City Dog.

I’m thankful that, after a long courtship, Partnership Alliance and county officials were finally able to announce the impending arrival of Japanese carbon fiber manufacturer Teijin in Greenwood County. The $600 million investment will bring 220 new jobs to the county, an economic win not only for Greenwood, but for the Lakelands area. It was an announcement that was a long time coming, and welcome news in a county always fighting for new jobs.

I’m thankful that Starbucks did some Christmas-y cups this year, that way people can fuss about other things on Facebook, like politics, Pokemon, Ebola or a gorilla getting shot at the zoo.

I remain thankful that, 27 years after its initial run in theaters, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” remains a fixture during the holiday season. I don’t think I’m overstating things to say that it’s now considered a classic Christmas film, perhaps as popular as it has ever been. You can even buy the film’s trademark glass moose mugs in stores. Comedies don’t typically age very well, but, more than a quarter century later, “Christmas Vacation” is an exception. (“Can’t see the line, can you, Russ?”) Chevy Chase and crew’s holiday romp will have its first TV airing of the season at 9 p.m. Nov. 30 on the Freeform channel.

I’m thankful for fast food restaurants that still have regular soda machines, and not those choose-a-thousand-flavors touchscreen soda machines that cause lines to back up longer than Disneyworld while someone mixes a grape/strawberry/lime/vanilla Mello Yello Zero.

I’m thankful for my grandma’s deviled eggs. Wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without them.

And I’m thankful for newspapers printed on actual paper, for clean sheets right out of the dryer, for lots of previews before the movie starts, for hot dogs from the Rough House, for old “Tom and Jerry” reruns, for Index-Journal publisher Judi Burns, for my daughter’s soccer team (The Tornados), for bowl trips with my brother and my buddies, for noisy box fans, for that person who is willing to give you a jumpstart when your battery is dead and for the new A Tribe Called Quest album.

Here’s hoping you and your family have a happy Thanksgiving, and that you have your own list of things that make you thankful.

Chris Trainor is a contributing columnist for the Index-Journal. Contact him at ChrisTrainorSC@yahoo.com. You can follow him on Twitter@ChrisTrainorSC. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.