I wanted to write Thanksgiving beer post, but everyone already beat me to the “10 Beers to Pair with Turkey” idea and Stan had the satire down pat, so I figured I’d skip adding to the pile of festively uninspired listicles.
Besides, Thanksgiving never quite felt like my holiday. It felt like a day we cooked a huge bird as a meal because we were supposed to, because we didn’t have school or work, because everyone else was doing it, and it was weird to say, “oh no, we don’t do Thanksgiving” like some kind of horrible emotionless alien. As an expat you learn to adapt and blend in where you can, which means adopting the traditions and customs of your new land, even if they include bizarre things like pumpkin flavored beers and coffees. As we’d inevitably celebrate – sometimes with American friends, sometimes with our English-playing-American family unit – I came to realize that the food was just a catalyst, cranberry- and gravy-based lubrication for a mental moment of acknowledging and appreciating who you are, who you love, and who loves you, too. To give thanks is universal, a human default. Thanksgiving is just an end of November conduit for channeling the human spirit.
I leap-frogged off of Bryan (with a pass through Spin Sucks) and decided to mash my calloused writing nubs against the keyboard to express my own thanks. Much like I don’t need Valentine’s day to show my love, I don’t need Thanksgiving to give my thanks, because I actively try to do it everyday, in little ways. That said, a special spiritual power resides deep in the booming caverns of directly and purposefully saying “thank you.”
The original assignment was to write down all the things you were thankful for in 10-minutes, but since I have a mortal fear of counting down clocks from years of playing Nintendo, I’m just going to keep writing until my brain says, “OK, that looks pretty good.” I was never very good with rules, anyway.
So, in no particular order of favoritism, nor intentional slight from accidentally leaving someone out, I am thankful for:
- My wife and best friend, Tiffany, who despite not even liking beer, tolerates and then encourages my hobby-turned-second-job because she knows how happy it makes me.
- My dad, who somehow, in ways I still don’t understand, inspires even more now that he’s gone.
- My mom, Denise, for having the generous foresight to give birth to me, and being an unwavering, enthusiastic cheerleader no matter what I do.
- My sister, Becca (who completes the trifecta of “super important women in my life”) for always putting me in my place, and understanding me the way only a sibling can.
- My cats, Pandora and Prometheus, for their dog-like loyalty, dogged commitment to laziness, and amazing ability to always make me smile.
- Stan Hieronymous, who, through a single retweet about 2 years ago, gave me the courage to write about beer the way I want to write about beer.
- Kristi Switzer, for taking me seriously and giving me a chance to work on projects I only would have dreamed of as a post-grad writing whelp.
- Cathy Alter, for hard but important reviews of my work, and giving me enough emotional strength to finish a masters thesis I was tempted to give up on.
- Candace Johnson, who always gives me advice no matter how clumsily I ask for it, and makes me a better editor, even if she doesn’t know it.
- Justin, for being friendship immortal, the unrelenting encourager, the one I always look up to and look forward to seeing again.
- Randy, for the memes and sanity checks.
- Bryan, for being equal parts muse and comedian, wise and wise-cracking (plus I guess all that data is pretty good).
- Melody, for being my writing opposite, my Hopkins-bestie, and for generally using her powers for good.
- My boss, Becky, who will probably never read this, for her flexibility, understanding, and uncanny propensity to never stress me out.
- Alan, for the Twitter chats, and reminding me that my voice actually matters sometimes.
- Phil, for being my first, and longest-lasting, never-met-in-real life blogging friend.
- Beth and Betsy, for being some of my most loyal readers, and for commenting on this blog more than anyone else.
- Jeff Alworth, for being the kind of blogger I aspire to be, for his excellent writing, and peerless industry insight.
- Mike, for showing me that my near future is going to be way more rewarding than I could have imagined.
- Chuck Wendig, for countless literary kicks in the pants, hours of entertainment, and proof that dedication to your own way is a worthy and glorious pursuit.
- The Mid-Atlantic Beer Bloggers – Scott, Ed, G-LO, Liz, Doug, Josh, Andrew, Jake, Carlin, Sean, and Matt – who have created and fostered a community that becomes more and more important to me every day.
- My keyboard, for its daily masochism and thankless devotion to our cause.
- My camera for fluttery shuttering and elegant aperturing.
- My left arm, for not giving up, even thought it totally could have (maybe should have) by now.
- Heavy Seas Beer (namely Hugh, Caroline, and Tristan), for always having an open door, full kegs, and enough pirate in their beer to please my inner child and outer adult.
- Jailbreak Brewing, for opening dangerously close to my home, and being delightfully helpful anytime I have a silly question.
- Hopkins Scribes, for their artistry, talent, and writerly reciprocation.
- The dirt in my yard, for growing things when I really needed some life in my life.
- My neighbors, for being the family we chose.
- My hands, for being my single most important tool.
- My brain, for thinking my hands get too much credit.
- My eyes, for being my doorman to the beauty of this world.
- This blog, for giving me an outlet where all other outlets would have said no.
- Tolkien, for giving me a light for when all other lights go out.
- My running shoes (in whatever incarnation they’re in now) for pounding pavement to uphold the veneer of vanity.
- My shower, for being the brainstorming supercenter of my entire existence.
- Notes A through G, majors and minors, melodies and harmonies, and the decadent vibrations of life.
- England, for my cultural grounding, for my family, for all that real cask ale.
- America, for opportunity even at the worst of times, for order even in chaos, for dry-hopped and barrel-aged freedom.
- Beer, for being a near inexhaustible font of ideas, topics, and creativity, whether in kettle or on page.
Some other friends have played along too! If you decide to join in, shoot me a link, and I’ll add you below: