By Lloyd Graff

America the beautiful

Thanksgiving comes in 15 days. I offer 15 things I’m thankful for.

1) Living. I don’t take it for granted. Five years ago, it would have ended if not for a great surgeon, luck, and God knows what else.

2) My wife Risa, love of my life, friend forever, always the most beautiful girl in the room.

3) My children, Noah, Ari and Sarah, all adults who try to keep me real and have surpassed being great kids, to become my friends and confidantes, too.

4). The freedom of owning my own business. Despite the stresses of trying to make it work month after month, year after year, I enjoy being the “go to person” for important decisions.

5) The good days. When I actually feel like I move the ball. When I feel like I’m still on top of my game, or at least that I’m still in the game.

6) The bad days. I get to have them.

7) My love of baseball and the Chicago Cubs. This is for real. It is a precious thing to have a lifelong affair with a team, a sport, a history of players and statistics and memories of games and the people I experienced them with. Hey, Hey!

8) My parents, sister and brother. My parents Leonard and Thais gave me life and the best they had to give. My sister Susan, 13 months younger than me, has always made me feel special. My brother Jim has been a constant, despite the competition of brothers.

9) Never being hungry or feeling in a state of want.

10) Breath. Every morning I recite a prayer of thanks. I always give thanks for breath — for still being able to breathe without thinking about it. When you’ve known the struggle for breath, you will fully understand.

11) Seeing and Hearing. For me, both of these senses have declined over the years, but I am grateful for what I can still summon.

12) Writing. I started writing little pieces for Reader’s Digest and Letters to the Editor for the Chicago Daily News, when I was 12. Still love it.

13). My ancestors who fled Russia a hundred years ago. I would have been a lousy Russian.

14). Television. I love to watch Sports, Friday Night Lights, Charlie Rose interviews and Seinfeld reruns. I’m such a boor.

15). America. What a country. What an idea. What a future.

Question: What are you thankful for?

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12 thoughts on “Thankful

  1. Stephanie S.

    Beautifully written! I concur with Ed! It’s what you said, just changing out the names to fit my family! Thanks to you, Lloyd, for reminding us to be grateful for the amazing blessings we have in our lives and for your commitment to sharing your thoughts with us all year! Reading your blog is a bright spot in my week!


  2. Steve Parker

    Very nice piece and well stated.
    I would also like to add (partly in jest) that I am grateful for you having reconnected the link in your email so that I can read the remainder of the article without having to search your website for it.
    Great job Lloyd, I look forward to reading your work each week.

  3. Dick Adelmeyer

    great job listing the fifteen, thankful that I can still celebrate thanksgivings with
    my dad and mother-in-law, children, brothers and sisters and now even my
    grandchildren and being able to see a lot of this great country filled with some
    of the nicest people on earth, some days it is amazing to be here.

  4. Kelly Hagberg

    Really the Cubs!
    I gave up on them in 1969 (they broke my heart).
    Go White Sox!
    I guess there is always next year (except for the Cubs).
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  5. Glenn Kalis

    Gimmie an Old Style, a David Berg hot dog, a #2 pencil, a program, and a bleacher seat anytime, rain or shine.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. Gus Madison

    I’m with Sara on this one!

    Lloyd, I love ya, but your statement “it would have ended if not for a great surgeon, luck, and God knows what else” is incongruent with “Every morning I recite a prayer of thanks”. Luck…? I don’t think so. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

    Good job on the list and reminding us of our blessings!

  7. jeff jones

    Thanks for reminding me to stop and be thankful. I preach this same thought to others often – “today is a gift.” It was good to have it put back to me.

  8. Lucy Glib

    Great piece! I actually teared up, reading it on my iPhone during the middle of a hectic work day. I won’t bore the masses with my list of 15, but I’ll offer five:

    1. My parents, who understand my sense of humor, support my decisions, and truly made me who I am.

    2. Music. I may go a day or two without listening to it, and then I remember how it can instantly transform my mood for the better. Fleetwood Mac, Hanson, Duran Duran, blink-182, Styx, Fountains of Wayne, The Beatles, the UVa Hullabahoos … and much more in between.

    3. Facebook. Honestly, a life-altering invention. It’s put me back in touch with so many interesting, inspiring people.

    4. Howard Stern. I’ve probably heard his sonorous voice more than any other over the past 16 years or so. I’m a certified Super Fan, and (generally) proud to admit it.

    5. My boyfriend, who stumbled into my life unexpectedly, although it’s hard now to remember a time when I didn’t know him. He’s consistently been there to halve my sorrows and double my joys, and I think you’ll agree he’s a pretty nice guy.

  9. Noah Graff

    I’m thankful for my wonderful family. I’m so lucky to have such great people in my life to be close to.

    Very thankful to live in one of the best countries in the world and being in the more prosperous half of the population. I know I take my life for granted when I think about what it would be like living in Syria, or Afganistan or a destroyed place like the Philippines right now. Us Ameicans really have won the lottery to live where we do.

    Salsa dancing. It’s a magical, wonderful feeling to do so, whether at a club or stretching my mind to keep improving. Chicago has a lot of great places, to do it and its so fun to get to do it wherever I travel worldwide.

    I’m thankful for great movies and TV.

    I’m thankful I get the wonderful feeling that I get from creating videos of my own, and showing them to the world.

    I’m thankful to have a job I enjoy going to most days. I work with a few fun and brilliant people with mutual respect for one another. And theres very little negativity in my workplace. I’m lucky to have a great boss and that i get spend a ton of time with my dad who is simply awesome in so many ways. I get to meet people everyday. I get to travel and learn new things all the time. I get to write blogs for thousands of people to read when I am able to get off my ass. And get a decent wage. Oh, and healthcare, which I have to have for a pre existing condition. Life is too short to not like going to work. It is where one spends the majority of his or her time in the course of life.

    And last of all, I am thankful for my girlfriend, Aka Lucy Glib. She is truly a wonderful, extraordinary person. One of the kindest, most loving people I know. Also attractive, interesting and intelligent. A rare combination of great things. I’m so lucky to have her in my life.

  10. Bill Adams

    I give thanks for Jesus Christ And the freedom he gives us.
    I am thankful for the country we live in.


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