Garrison: 2021 Thanksgiving Thankful List

Annual Columnist
Southern Utah

Each November, I compose a “Thanksgiving Thankful List” for the preceding year.

My wife, Deb, and I enjoy our life in red rock southern Utah and have many things for which we are thankful.

I hope sharing them brings a smile and acknowledgement that even the seldom thought of can be a source of thankfulness.

My 2021 Thanksgiving Thankful List:

  • I’m thankful for colors—they make everything, well, colorful. I know, I know, Ansel Adams’ black and white photos of the American west are great. But have you seen the exact same image Adams took in color? Or the great transition from black and white to technicolor in the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939) movie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of old black and white movies. The starkness of black and white fits many subjects.
    • However, can you imagine living life without color? Think of what you miss. In language, blood red would be sort of blackish. When depressed, a person would not have the blues, they would have the greys. Redheads would be known as greyish blackheads. Not my kind of world.
  • I appreciate only having two eyes. I wear contact lenses, have for decades. You’d think by now I would have mastered the art of placing the lenses in my eyes. Unfortunately, not. Some mornings it seems as if I spend hours (actually only a few minutes that seem like hours) placing those tiny bits of curved round plastic on my eyeballs. If I had three eyes, I’d probably spend about half my life poking myself in the eyeballs.
  • I’m grateful for squares. How could you play checkers or chess on a board with circles or triangles? And what about the long-running TV game show, “Hollywood Squares”. It wouldn’t be the same as Hollywood Rectangles or Hollywood Circles. On the other hand, boxing rings, which are of course square, might be rings if squares did not exist.
  • I’m thankful for electromagnetic waves. In physics, electromagnetic radiation consists of waves of the electromagnetic field, propagating through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy. It includes radio waves (including TV waves), microwaves, infrared light, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays. All these waves form part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
    • Among many other things, the electromagnetic spectrum, specifically radio waves, allowed for the development of cordless and cell phones. Can you imagine the tangles if all we had were true landline phones which do not rely on radio waves? You’re in the food store with your landline phone, instead of carrying a cell phone, and you and everyone else is trailing a five-mile-long cord—what a mess.
    • So, thanks to all those scientists who untangled the electromagnetic spectrum. Especially Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor and electrical engineer, who developed techniques and equipment to utilize radio waves over long distances to communicate—radio which eventually led to cell phones.
  • Be honest, who doesn’t love butter? I certainly do and am thankful it exists. You have a piece of toast and some jelly. You could smear the jelly on the toast, but it needs a layer of butter between the toast and jelly. Or consider the epitome of butter slopping—corn on the cob. Place the hot corn on the cob on your plate and melt about a quarter pound of butter all over the corn. Tip the plate up a bit so there is a small lake of butter in which you can roll the corn cob. Take a big bite and feel the corn juice and butter slither down your lips and chin. That’s food eating heaven for me.
  • There are many reasons to be grateful for cats. One just about everyone shares is when your cat cranks up their little motor—purring. When your cat is content, you may hear a gentle rumble as they breath in and out. According to the latest research, cats also often purr when they are injured or sick. It seems as if the rhythmic low frequency purrs can help heal wounds, build muscle, repair tendons, ease breathing, and lessen pain and swelling. Other research suggests that listening to a cat’s purr lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease in humans. Compared to people without cats, cat owners have a 40 percent less risk of having a heart attack.
    • So, when our furry family members, Bob and Willa, turn on the purr machine we know it is helping them and us. They also are cute and playful. What a deal.

I hope everyone recalls the many things, obvious and not so obvious, to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Editor’s note: Author Tom Garrison has written a Thanksgiving column for the Los Alamos Daily Post for several years. He is an avid hiker of more than 35 years and his latest book, Hiking Southwest Utah and Adjacent Areas, Volume Three was awarded 2nd place in the non-fiction category of the League of Utah Writers published book contest (August 2021). It is available at and the Desert Rat outdoor store in St. George. He can be reached at