I’m thankful for Dale Jr., Duke-UNC hoops, Dabo, Mighty Dog Daisy and ...

Thursday, 23 November 2017, 05:01:43 AM. Retired Charlotte Observer sports columnist Ron Green Sr. returns with his annual Thanksgiving Day column.

On Thanksgiving Day, I’m thankful for many things, some of which I have undoubtedly mentioned before:

▪ Dale Earnhardt Jr. He did it right. His daddy would be proud.

▪ It’s not all that long now until the first Duke-North Carolina basketball game of the season.

▪ The chance that Tiger Woods might thrill us again.

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▪ The PA playing and the crowd singing “Sweet Caroline” after a Panthers victory. Like the song says, “So good, so good.”

▪ This city. It could use some fixing, like maybe starting with traffic and certain politicians who have already been fixed, but generally speaking, I pretty much love it.

▪ Beth, my wife, gentle of heart, sweet of smile, generous of soul and cute as heck.

▪ And our extended family, all of whom have Beth’s qualities, well, except when it comes to making pecan pies.

▪ The good feeling of being at home on a rainy winter night when the wind is scratching around the windows and doors.

▪ There’s no law that says we have to eat Brussels sprouts. You could look it up.

▪ Dabo. The name, the guy.

In January, Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney proudly holds the national championship trophy after the Tigers beat Alabama for the title in Tampa, Fla. David J. Phillip AP

▪ Say what you will, I like summertime, that plain old watermelon-eatin’, gone-fishin’, thunder-boomin’, mosquito-slappin’, shag-dancin’, iced-tea-sippin’, sweat-drippin’ summertime in the South, best viewed from beneath a shade tree.

▪ Stepping outside on an autumn morning. It makes me want to hug Mother Nature.

▪ Mighty Dog Daisy keeping watch at the front door to tell off anyone who might dare to walk down the street. As the late sportswriter Red Smith might say, Daisy weighs about as much as 35 cents worth of liver. And Fitz, another relative dog, who will chase a tennis ball as long as you keep throwing it and don’t need Tommy John Surgery.

▪ A pat on the back.

▪ Generosity, which makes you and someone else smile.

▪ Putters that actually work. I’ve never had one, but I’ve heard there are such things.

▪ Summer twilights when the faithful gather at the baseball park to cheer on the village nine and perhaps to sip a cool one. That place rocks.

▪ Those Friday night football games in those long ago days when we were in high school. How sweet the memories. And college football Saturdays with leaves all red and gold, a chilly day, bands blasting, old friends tailgating and heroes are born, at least for a day.

▪ Fried chicken, of course, with rice and gravy.

▪ A fairway at sunset, with a lone golfer stealing a few more minutes out of the day.

Ron Green Sr. is thankful for memories of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. Jeff Siner jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

▪ Remembering Arnie. And Dean Smith.

▪ The Head Shop, which feels a little like it ought to be in Mayberry.

▪ Pinehurst; Linville; the Augusta Masters. A little bit of heaven fell to earth one day.

▪ School teachers.

▪ Christmas lights through frosted windows, warming a world’s heart.

▪ “Friends” reruns. “Blue Bloods.” “NCSI Los Angeles.” And speaking of friends, them, too.

▪ Book stores and libraries. James Lee Burke writing about the bayou and po’ boys. Cheesy Western novels where guys are slapping leather every couple of pages.

▪ The Hornets, big men so breathtakingly graceful they should wear ballet slippers.

▪ The Checkers. That’s got to be incredibly hard, what they do on skates.

▪ The 49ers, Davidson, Johnson C. Smith, Queens, all of our guys.

▪ Beth and Edie and I went to Lincolnton to celebrate an old friend’s 90th birthday. There were a lot of hugs and smiles. Everyone stood or sat outside in beautiful sunshine, ate barbecue and cake and sang “Happy Birthday.” All of that reminded me of how sweet life can be.

▪ Pass the turkey, please.

Ron Green Sr. is a retired Charlotte Observer sports columnist

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