Andrew Dys

Things for which I am thankful

Nobody has more to be thankful for than I do.

I am thankful for a bunch of cops, jailers and courts workers who refused to let a man, in and out of jail for more than 30 years as he battled the bottle, die without a memorial service.

I am thankful for Van Brown, the mechanic on Rock Hill's Main Street, who has fixed, rigged, cajoled, wired, welded, epoxied and caulked a 1986 Mercury Cougar into giving me at least 50,000 extra miles of driving. I am equally as thankful that last bounced check I gave him a few weeks ago didn't rebound off his tool chest and cut his chin.

I am thankful for Charlotte spending millions of its taxpayer dollars on light rail for yuppies, sports stadiums for millionaires and public art for a crowd that loves tax money spent for the enjoyment of about 19 people. I love to make fun of Charlotte, where the official city recreation activity is reading the tax bill, followed by a boredom-induced coma.

My ears are thankful for the great Dave Friedman, radio voice of the Winthrop University men's basketball team. Friedman can make a guy dribbling off his foot exciting. Through his broadcasts, he took me to the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands this week, when the only place I was allowed to go was the grocery store. As of last count, I have been sent to the store four times since Saturday. Friedman goes to the beach, I go get milk and eggs.

Those readers who praise me and those who say I am a jerk, thanks to you, too. One lady from Fort Mill wrote to me Tuesday after I had a column about men helping out on Thanksgiving. Said she usually is a fan but her husband does all the cooking. I "got under her husband's skin" for implying all men on Thanksgiving are lazy, good-for-nothings.

Let me be clear: All husbands are not lazy. Just me. And almost everybody I know. Of course, most people I know gamble, talk loud and cuss.

I am thankful for couples that smooch in public.

I am one, maybe the only one, who is thankful for the drought. For the one simple reason that I have not had to cut my lawn since Memorial Day. It is the worst in my neighborhood, by far, with bare patches among the weeds we use as bases for kickball games with neighbor kids. Those neighbor husbands clearly are not lazy. When the rain comes, many toil in those yards, and some wives do, too. Yet, because of this wonderful drought, no longer can neighbors shake their heads in disdain at my sloth. Their lawns stink, too.

I am thankful for the branches of the York County Public Library. You see resumes updated by people who don't have computers but have aspirations of a better life. Job-seekers. Teens working on school projects. Old and young reading books and magazines. People learning about their community, state, country and world. There isn't a TV in sight.

Almost all the services, paid for by you and me, are free.

Like dreams.

That is one tax that works.

I am thankful for those who will not be at home to read this today. They don't talk about the hungry, the poor, the broke, the broken. They do not go to meetings about the poor. They do not hold symposiums about the homeless. They silently and invisibly help feed those without and clothe them and give them hope.

If they don't hear the word "thanks," I say it now.

Reminds me that cops, firefighters, paramedics and nurses and the production people at this newspaper, and more, will be working today -- as most of us overeat and belch and laugh and ask for more pie.