Grateful reflections on life

On today’s holiday there will be some interesting football matches for many of us.

You pit the Cowboys against the Giants. I’ll cheer for the Giants, probably in vain. I have an irrational dislike for cowboys. I don’t understand myself. Dallas didn’t do anything to me. Jerry Jones was nice to me.

The other game — and there’s no logical reason for anyone outside of Mississippi to care, but I kind of do — is the Egg Bowl between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, which features two of the least attractive coaches of our time.

The annual Mississippi spectacle certainly hit rock bottom in 2019. An Ole Miss player scored a touchdown, which was celebrated by simulating a dog urinating on Mississippi State lawns, and was flagged for misconduct, requiring the crucial extra point kick to be assisted 15 yards up, resulting in the kick missing, giving Mississippi State a one-point win, allowing it to enter the Bowl and not Ole Miss.

Consider this: One nation cast its tryptophan-laden eyes on a primitive sport from a much-maligned state on Thanksgiving night and got an eyeful of vacation memories in the form of a student-athlete’s simulated dog pee to show its disrespect for rival colleges, albeit rivals Colleagues from Starkville.

This holiday should be about much more than football and classlessness. It should be about more than my favorite thing the day after, which is a destroyed plate of turkey, dressing, and leftover mashed potatoes, which are usually consumed while the hogs battle rival Missouri counterparts in the aforementioned primitive sport.

And it’s not about the parade on TV in the morning. Sometimes when I remember my childhood, I turn this on. And I’ll endure maybe five minutes watching large vehicles of vague form and purpose roll slowly across the screen while uninteresting people talk about uninteresting large vehicles of vague form and purpose.

The real purpose of the day is to reflect on one’s life, to recognize and give thanks for the things that make life better – in other words, for the right and healthy context.

For example:

I’m grateful that there’s a positive, redeemable role for everyone, like writing an occasionally readable or informative newspaper column or, in the case of failed football coach Chad Morris, recruiting KJ Jefferson from rural Mississippi as quarterback for the Arkansas Razorbacks, what allowing the Hogs to win several games they wouldn’t otherwise have won and thereby making many of us feel better in some ways.

On this day may you all find reasons to be grateful for those you may have ridiculed and only loathed.

I’m grateful for enriching revived friendships from decades ago, like the one with the classmate who’s now a Trump-disapproving conservative evangelical who emails links to Trump-ridiculous columns by Bradley Gitz that I might not otherwise read would. And the Sunday School teacher and mentor from half a century ago at the old downtown East Side Church of Christ who left to do his PhD at Penn State and has now returned to be close to his grandchildren and in the audience every Wednesday morning sitting as I teach the Behind the Headlines class in the LifeQuest program.

May you all have the opportunity to say thank you for the unexpected reappearance of a loved one whom you may have forgotten as a defense mechanism to lose touch with them.

I am grateful for the devoted companionship of a dog who, through our selfish domestication of wolf offspring over the centuries, has become best friends we would not otherwise have.

May you all in your lives have a Roscoe standing at the bottom of the stairs barking authoritatively at you at the top, telling you to come down and let him out immediately so he doesn’t have to pee on the carpet, and a Sophie to jump up and put her front paws on yours into your lap and look lovingly into your eyes to say, “Even though you’ve turned my vicious hunting instincts into lapdog rascals, thank you for letting that bunny come over here and under the scales to see me from time to time.” a reason to sniff, drool, chase, bark, wake neighbors, reconnect with my instinct to be nothing but a hound who’s never caught a rabbit, but sure enough is a friend of yours. “

And I am grateful for critics, not that I heed what they say, but for the enrichment of the honor of reading, listening, and responding.

May you all rejoice at a challenging reviewer like mine who took the time to write after a column featuring arrow shots the other day: “The zoo keeper has to take those arrows away before you get hurt. You probably weren’t born with a calcified mind, but you seem to be dealing with “something”. Do you drink or use opioids?”

I’m grateful for good red wine, chilled white wine, and for sore muscles nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and nothing stronger.


John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame. Email him at [email protected] Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

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