Things will probably be a little different this year.

Thanksgiving, perhaps the greatest and certainly the most underrated holiday on the year-end calendar, arrives next week and, this being 2020, brings with it some uncertainty.

Many are choosing not to have their normal large gatherings on Turkey Day, out of an abundance of caution amid the continuing global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against the typical big gatherings, and Gov. Henry McMaster has implored folks to “test before turkey” and perhaps consider celebrating outdoors this year.

Still, we’re thankful, for many reasons. As has long been tradition, I’m using this column space on the weekend before Thanksgiving to share a few things — big and small — for which I’m thankful this year. As ever, I must disclose the idea of the “thankful” column did not originate with me. Rather, it was made famous, for decades, by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Furman Bisher, whose Thanksgiving columns were revered across the South. Bisher passed in 2012, but the spirit of his columns lives on.

And so, I remain thankful.

I’m thankful for an internet connection and a strong wi-fi signal.

I’m thankful for high tide on Edisto Island and being able to sit on a screen porch in the dark of night and listen to the waves crash onto the shore.

This year, more than any, I’m thankful for the nurses and the doctors and all of those frontline workers who have toiled throughout this pandemic, putting their own lives at risk to do the things that must be done, despite the fact that some of the people they have been charged with looking after have been too stubborn to take even the most basic precautions. And still, they soldier on. And thank God they do.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’m thankful for grocery store stockers and cash register clerks and pizza delivery guys. For waitresses in masks and dental hygienists in PPE and all the folks who aren’t able to work from home. But still they hustle and adapt and play their part in helping the world go around, even when that world, at times this year, has seemed poised to go flying off its axis. To all of those workers who have been steadfast in the face of unprecedented times, I hope you get an extra piece of sweet potato pie today. Maybe even two. You deserve a lot more than that.

I’m thankful for those law firm TV ads for George Sink (All 9s!) and Akim Anastopoulo (Don’t scream!), if only because the fact that they are now back on the air means that, mercifully, the political ads have ended. I was beginning to think Lindsey Graham and Jaime Harrison were going to literally move into my house.

This has been a year where people have, at long last, rediscovered the drive-in theater, and for that I’m thankful. Of course, folks in the Lakelands have long been hip to the Auto Drive-In — my beloved “Mighty Auto” — down in south Greenwood. But as COVID-19 chased folks from traditional indoor theaters in 2020, people across the nation got back in the car and headed for drive-ins near and far. For many youngsters, they were experiencing it for the first time. For those of us with a few more miles on the engine — pun intended — it was a chance to rekindle memories of times gone by.

And I’m thankful for the Charlie Brown Christmas special, for Rodney Scott’s barbecue, for used bookstores, for the Lakers bringing the NBA title back where it belongs, for fat Thanksgiving morning newspapers, for stores that keep hand sanitizer right up front, for forgiving editors, and for small towns where Friday night lights still ring out.

This Thanksgiving will probably be a little different for some of us. But we’re thankful for another year, another chance. And we’re thankful for each other.

Be safe, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

Chris Trainor is a contributing columnist for the Index-Journal. Contact him at You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisTrainorSC. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.