In this time of such uncertainty, upheavals, terrorism, taxes and crime, I'm excited to write a happy column about gratitude. And even though giving thanks seems particularly topical on Thanksgiving, duh, I give thanks every single day for the following:
1) First and foremost, I'm grateful for Chuck, without him, nothing else really matters.
2) Being raised by people who had to struggle.
3) Growing up in a small town.
4) Knowing the secret to Mary Johnson's sweet potato pie.
5) For the continuing good health of my loved ones.
6) For Lyletta Robinson's (Woodlawn Wonder, "I Hate My Developer") holiday pies.
7) For my best friend Tissy Eggleston, who has been with me through thick and thin.
8) For having had Susie Sager, my bestie from high school, in my life who left us way too soon.
9) For longtime friends Carolyn and Wade Teeter, Tommy Hundley and Rod Lavender.
10) For knowing the correct way to make fried green tomatoes.
11) For having lived during, and been actively involved in, the Golden Age of Playboy.
12) For truly knowing the genius of Hugh Hefner.
13) For PAWS Chicago and all the other charities that support animals.
14) For having a platform, Candid Candace, to share all the good news from Chicago and beyond.
15) For having a working knowledge of the rare book world that's endlessly fascinating.
16) For owning J.K. Rowling's very first book that brought me, and so many others, back to reading.
17) For stunning sunsets.
18) For having a "room with a view".
19) For being an American and loving it no matter what, warts and all.
20) For a mom and dad who knew how to have fun and encouraged me to do the same.
21) For having traveled the world when we were younger.
22) For the memory of Morocco.
23) For the Paris hotel, Relais Christine, where we stayed during our honeymoon.
24) For road trips with Chihuahuas.
25) For any non-profit that provides people with better lives.
26) For the views of the Mississippi River that only a native would know.
27) For having in-laws I love--Nancy and Os Steinwald and their families.
28) For being born with a sense of curiosity and love of adventure.
29) For the change of seasons, really.
30) For having a beach in our "backyard."
31) For having had the opportunity to interview great stars like Al Pacino and so many others.
32) For having an older father who taught me more than any books could have.
33) For having a disgruntled black man help raise me and teach me what it looked like from the other side.
34) For the Dupo Firemen's picnics and any other small town picnics or celebrations.
35) For having seen a rooster crowing contest.
36) For my step-family in Columbia and Waterloo--My late uncle Marvin, Aunt Lora, cousins Cindy, Mark, Conan, Mandy and their families and, of course, my wanderer/film-making cuz Steve Lowry.
37) For the sound of train whistles--when I was little, they put me to sleep.
38) For being old enough to know what I like and don't like.
39) For people who are honest and have a sense of humor.
40) For Jimmy Greenfield--the Chicago Now Community Manager.
41) For Joyce Winnecke and Colin McMahon, who believed in me and saw my potential for the Tribune column job.
42) For David Lawlor--who is my tech guru and who makes my blog possible--and who, along with his family, are such wonderful friends.
43) For our epic trips to St. Tropez and the French Riviera--these good times can never be duplicated with great fun-loving friends.
44) For the "geeft shop" at the Hotel du Cap--Tissy, you know what I mean.
45) For Club 55, our favorite restaurant on earth.
46) For my love, interest and knowledge of antiques--thank you Paul Gonzalez and Tony Duquette.
47) For small, yippy and always wildly entertaining small dogs. You know who you are!
48) For a man who loves me unconditionally and still makes my heart flutter.
49) For knowing the joy of fried turkeys.
50) For everyone who is missing from this year's Thanksgiving table.
51) For Mary Johnson's wisdom, kindness, compassion and patience and for teaching me how to cook and tend a real garden.
52) For being excited to discover new things to be grateful for.
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Filed under: human interest
Tags: Al Pacino, Candid Candace, Carolyn Teeter, Charles Jordan, Chicago Tribune, Chihuahuas, Chuck Jordan, Club 55, Colin McMahon, Dupo, Dupo High School, French Riviera, giving thanks, Hotel du Cap, Hugh Hefner, J.K. Rowling, James V. Johnson, Jim Johnson, Joyce Winnecke, Lora Stott, Mary Johnson, Nancy Steinwald, non-profits, Os Steinwald, Paul Gonzalez, PAWS Chicago, Playboy, Relais Christine, Rod Lavender, Susie Sager, Thanksgiving, Tissy Eggleston, Tommy Hundley, Tony Duquette, Wade Teeter, Woodlawn Wonder