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A DAY FULL OF THANKFULNESS

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We are thankful for much on this annual celebration, from the insanely meaningless and superficial to the incredibly moving.

I don't know about you, but this day of family and football was always a big deal for me.

Christmas also involved family, but with our crew being so spread out, as well as the holiday falling on varying days of the week, getting together was not always easy.

The predictability of Thanksgiving lent itself to more consistent gatherings, and occasionally included extended family.

We spent many a holiday in Duncan, OK (both of my parents were born and raised near there), generally with a number of folks from my Dad's side of the family. Big card games, contentious rounds of golf, and the usual copious amounts of food were eagerly anticipated.

And then there were football games.

This was back in the day when most of us were still rabid Dallas fans. Even in later years, as the holiday celebration evolved with the inclusion of new family, my obsession with all things Barry meant a guaranteed annual viewing of his exploits as described by John Madden. Given that my Mom was such a fanatic, if the celebration involved her, the schedule definitely anticipated game time.

As I reflected this morning, I started thinking about both the superficial and meaningful things that I've always been, and continue to be, thankful for.

I'm glad I live near family that enjoys tradition for the holidays, and also enjoy some sports.

I'm surprisingly happy that I have an extended social media "family" that allows me to obsess to just the right extent (I think) over all things Oklahoma State. As my brother has often said to me, when shared, joy is multiplied and grief is diminished. Nowhere is that more true than with my Cowboy family, although I think we also multiply our collective anxiety sometimes...

Video games are fantastic, and it gives me an opportunity to bond with my son that my father didn't have with me, although we didn't need it. We had golf.

me and dad

(circa late 60's)

I'm so thankful that I have a lifelong friend (Daren Livingston) who I rarely get to see, but when we speak or see each other it feels like we've been hanging out all along.

old daren pic

(I'm in the back, Daren in front. His dad is on the right. We were at the Ben Johnson Memorial Steer Roping in Pawhuska in the early 70's)

Oh, and he's a Sooner. I know I "wax poetic" about not liking OU on this site, but this relationship helps me keep my perspective on things and understand that my "hate" for that team from Norman runs about as deep as my love for spinach. It is only a game, after all.

(Remind me of this on 12/6)

The relationship I have with my siblings is much the same. The five of us cover just about every corner of the lower 48 (Washington/Oregon/Oklahoma/Georgia/Connecticut), and I speak to some more often than others, but when we get together the connection is evident. I regularly wish we lived closer together. I will get to pay a visit to the OK crew the week of New Year's.

sibs

I'm so glad my Mom passed along her passion for football, and her love of OSU orange. I will never forget those 1:30pm home kickoffs and lunch in the Alumni Room.

I look forward each football season to "Picks from Joes." King, this is like the mob. Once you're in, you can't ever leave.

I've very greatful for Grammy and Papa. Lisa's parents are a huge help with our collective work schedules, so the fact that my in-laws live awfully close is not so disastrous...

grammy and papa

It makes me happy every time I see this sign...

Tulsa Pete

I'm thankful for friends who take pictures when they shouldn't...

water shot

For my golf brothers...we're missing Steve, who unfortunately was away at his mother's funeral. Thinking of you buddy...

golf brothers

And my birthday brother. I love our special lunch!

birthday brother

I'm very thankful, after struggling with a job I had grown to hate, for finding a new job that I enjoy immensely. There's more travel than I care for at the start, but that will calm down in a couple of months. That travel has obviously impacted my time with family, but also my ability to contribute here. That's going to continue through the end of January, so don't be surprised when you don't see my name on many (or any) posts. That leads me to my next item...

I'm so happy to have such a great group of contributors at CRFF. When I took over site management 14 months ago, all I wanted to do was create some consistent content so we could have fun talking about OSU athletics. This is a labor of love, not a labor of pay, so this is done because I need the outlet and I have no other place to go (not many OSU fans in Stamford, CT).

The site is not a big deal, and since starting in 2010 had yet to pass 600,000 pageviews in a year. Compare that to FSU's Tomahawk Nation, who regularly hits that number and more in ONE MONTH.

Well, with the help of the team I mentioned above and you, CRFF surpassed 1 million pageviews for the year at the beginning of November. My co-manager, Chris Ross, has been instrumental in pushing our content out in multiple formats and on multiple channels, and with my job situation we could not have done it without him.

Thanks guys...it is a pleasure every day.

Finally, I'm so thankful that I have a wonderful wife who tolerates my obsession. She has absolutely not one care in the world about most sports, but gets it enough that when I come to bed late after a game, her first question is "Did they win." If the answer is no, she always responds "I'm sorry baby" with sincerity in her voice. And she likes orange. Love you, Lisa.

lisa and robert

And to my son, Josh...I know you don't get the sports "emotions" just yet, but you understand that I love orange and Oklahoma State, and you get the difference between that and OU.

Thank goodness for that.

robert and josh
robert and josh 2

Be greatful, thankful, and travel safe if you are out and about. If you can, share some warmth and gratitude with those who need it more than you. If you need, make sure you are available for those around you who would provide comfort and love. Trust me, they are there, waiting for you, in either circumstance.

God bless, and GO POKES!!!