The good, the bad and the thankful

  • By Geoff Kirsch
  • Monday, November 20, 2017 12:09pm
  • Neighbors

Ah, Thanksgiving, that magical time of year when we all take a break from our busy lives to gather in the spirit of gratitude, togetherness and marshmallow topping.

But there’s more to Thanksgiving than weekday drinking and socially acceptable public pants unbuttoning (although, admittedly, those are two pretty good things).

My favorite Thanksgiving custom — and I mean aside from sitting around a living room with family and friends, each of us engrossed in our own personal electronics? That’s right: going around the table and giving thanks.

Now, since you probably weren’t at my Thanksgiving dinner — although I did stream the whole thing on YouTube Live (spoiler alert: it didn’t trend) I offer my own list for 2017.

This year, I am thankful for:

• Reflective outerwear.

• Breathable underwear.

• Club soda, as both a stain-remover and homeopathic stomach preparation.

• The proliferation of retail holidays, like Black Friday, which is now followed by Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday and When-the-Eff-am-I-Getting-my-Own-Day? Wednesday.

• Gravel.

• Ice melt.

• Gravel mixed with ice melt.

• The “First Thanksgiving,” held by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621, to mark the successful completion of one full year living in the “New World.” Moreover, I’m especially thankful for the residents of America at the time — you know, the Native Americans? — who joined these immigrants in their three-day feast, as opposed to issuing travel bans or menacing them with Tiki torches, polo shirts and khakis.

• The official kickoff of eggnog season.

• Hoodies, Carhartts and beanies — “haute couture” for fat, bald dudes.

• Durkee fried onions and cream of mushroom soup. And you can hold the green beans; their empty nutrients only get in the way.

• 50-50 bleach-water solution.

• Babysitters who are still too young to drive or date, so they’re actually available to babysit.

• Automatic backups to the cloud.

• Sriracha.

• Mayo.

• Sriracha-mayo.

• Gorilla Glue.

• My shop-vac — couldn’t sweep my kitchen floor without it.

• My pressure washer — couldn’t mop my kitchen floor without it.

• My mag-torch, not only for lighting the woodstove, but, in a pinch, toasting crème brulee.

• Crème brulee.

• The addition of “Talladega Nights: the Legend of Ricky Bobby” and “Trading Places” to Netflix.

• Good drainage.

• Snow, of any accumulation.

• Conscientious pedestrians.

• Conscientious motorists.

• Vitamin D, however I can get it.

• Brussels sprouts, for providing an alternative to kale; beets for providing an alternative to Brussels sprouts.

• The ability to find obscure street addresses without resorting to Google maps.

• Carabiner clips, and while we’re at it, bungee cords.

• My newfound habit of sharpening my axe. If only I was as conscientious about tightening the head …

• Protective eyewear. But not protective ear plugs — those are for wusses. What’s that? You’ll need to speak up.

• Our current president, who has inspired me to get back into shape, donate to the American Civil Liberties Union and try even harder to control my temper. That’s the last thing anybody needs — another angry, orange man.

• Never quite getting around to taking down the Christmas lights from last year — now I don’t have to put them back up!

• Ski lockers — so much less crying and yelling in our lives, and way less expensive than family therapy.

• The road construction in my neighborhood finally wrapping up, although I never did get to avail myself of the porta potty. Oh, well —next summer, when they tear up the street yet again.

• The fact that I live in a city with more public radio stations than McDonald’s franchises.

• Beards: nature’s balaclava.

• Baseball caps: the poor man’s toupee.

• My mailbox actually surviving last winter; fingers crossed for 2017-18, but better stock a few spares just in case.

• Alaska’s official state firearm: the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 (although I prefer to defend myself as nature intended — with a Taser).

• My wife, who remains the family’s primary bread-winner, and she eats gluten free, so we’re talking really expensive bread, which only tastes good with a whole lot of butter smeared on it.

• Amazon Prime (but only after I look local first).

• The photo I took with Sarah Palin and my then-baby daughter at the 2008 Governor’s Mansion Annual Holiday Open House; nine years later, and it’s STILL getting likes on Facebook.

• The upcoming XXIII Winter Olympics — the perfect excuse to sit on the couch for weeks on end firmly convinced you’re doing something worthwhile.

• Most of all, in 2017, I am thankful for humor. Honestly, we could all stand to take everything a lot less seriously. Except fire safety — better stay vigilant about that.

Happy Thanksgiving, Juneau. May all your holiday gatherings be free of really uncomfortable political conversations with people you thought you loved.

• Geoff Kirsch is an award-winning Juneau-based writer and humorist. “Slack Tide” appears every second and fourth Sunday.

More in Neighbors

Toys collected during the annual Captain’s Toy Drive. (Photo courtesy of the Juneau Charter Boat Operators Association)
Neighbors briefs

140 new toys and fishing rods collected for annual Captain’s Toy Drive… Continue reading

Laura Rorem, a member of Resurrection Lutheran Church. (Courtesy of Laura Rorem)
Living and Growing: Faithful aging

“GOD put me on Earth to accomplish a certain number of things.… Continue reading

A still frame from a production of Tlingit “Macbeth” at the National Museum of the American Indian in 2007. (Photo provided by Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: SHI to sponsor its first-ever juried film festival

Event to be held during Celebration 2024

The Dakhká Khwáan Dancers, who were named lead dance group for Celebration 2024. (Photo by Nobu Koch courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: SHI launches contest for Celebration 2024 art design

Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) is holding a contest to solicit a design… Continue reading

Stacks of dog and cat food sit on pallets after being donated during a previous Holiday Cat and Dog Food Drive hosted by the Grateful Dogs of Juneau. (Courtesy Photo / George Utermohle)
Neighbors briefs

14th annual Holiday Cat and Dog Food Drive starts Dec. 4 From… Continue reading

A large foamy heart in a Juneau creek formed by decaying organic matter (dead leaves and twigs) at the Twin Lakes area Nov. 27. (Photo by Denise Carroll)
Art in Unusual Places

The Juneau Empire welcomes reader-submitted photos of art in unusual or unexpected… Continue reading

The author getting ready to host a holiday dinner for her family in 2022. (Photo courtesy of Patty Schied)
Cooking For Pleasure: Stuffed with turkey sandwiches? Try stuffing turkey enchiladas

Now that you have eaten all the turkey sandwiches you want, all… Continue reading

Page Bridges of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Juneau. (Photo courtesy of Page Bridges)
Living and Growing: Heartbreak Hill

Trying to write about beauty and our need for it is hard.… Continue reading

A public notice about one of several Thanksgiving proclamations President Abraham Lincoln issued during the Civil War. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum)
Living and Growing: Give thanks with a grateful heart

Happy Thanksgiving! Once again we celebrate what is a distinctively American holiday,… Continue reading

A female bear with her cubs: bears have direct-development life cycles, looking like bears from the time they are born. (Photo by Jos Bakker)
On the Trails: Animal life cycles

There are two basic life-cycle patterns among animals. Many animals have complex… Continue reading

(Jessica Spengler/CC BY 2.0 DEED)
Cooking For Pleasure: No trauma pie crust (that actually tastes good)

The secret is keeping all of the ingredients very cold.

Maj. Gina Halverson is co-leader of The Salvation Army Juneau Corps. (Robert DeBerry/The Salvation Army)
Living and Growing: Be thankful for the opportunity to care for ‘Others’

As Thanksgiving quickly approaches, we are reminded of the importance of being… Continue reading