Many of us will sit down at family tables today and offer a list of things we're thankful for (before we dig into a feast that's truly thanks-worthy). Lots of the items on our lists are obvious – family and friends, roofs over our heads, all the blessings we are lucky enough to have in our lives.
But if you're looking to spice up your "thankful" list, we have a few suggestions for you. Some folks have endured things on Thanksgiving that we are grateful to be able to skip. Your family might appreciate hearing that you're thankful for health, happiness and one of these more unusual items…
1. I'm thankful I don't have to endure a dropkick for that last helping of pumpkin pie. Professional wrestler Robert Bradley James did – well, maybe. We don't have confirmation that he actually received a piece of pumpkin pie for it, but he did celebrate Thanksgiving 1981 by winning his very first professional match on a tag team with his father, "Bullet" Bob. James went on to WCW and WWE success, making appearances on Sci Fi and RAW.
2. I'm thankful the doctor didn't skip my birth in favor of a Thanksgiving dance. That's what happened to Viola Huber, and it was a notable enough occurrence that it made it into her obituary, 99 years later. We're glad to see that the doctor's absence didn't seem to have any effect on Huber's longevity or health – the nurse, teacher and mother of three was gardening right up until the last summer of her life.
3. I'm thankful I don't have to march a band of teenagers around a football field today. Plenty of high school band directors do, and Louis Scarci was one of them. As director of The Mount Lebanon High School Band Rockettes, he was at the University of Pittsburgh Stadium for the WPIAL football championship game on Thanksgiving Day – a day when most of us are content to watch the game on television. Scarci's band also performed at half time for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
4. I'm thankful I don't have to dance in tights out in the cold on national TV. Suzie Bernard Hawkins was a Rockette, an integral part of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The weather report in New York City isn't too bad today… but there have been plenty of years when it's much more pleasant to be at home with a bellyful of turkey watching the parade, rather than high-kicking in it. After dancing in hundreds of Rockettes productions, Hawkins moved – maybe not too surprisingly – to Arizona.
5. I'm thankful I'm not spending Thanksgiving escaping from oppression. All joking aside, this one is for real – Ilsa Cole spent Thanksgiving 1938 on a ship bound for the United States, fleeing the Nazi regime in her birthplace of Germany along with her new husband. They made a life here, and he served in the U.S. Army while she worked to promote tolerance and fight anti-Semitism. Though Cole lost much of her family in the Holocaust, she was proud to have started a new family in her new home, calling it "her own personal victory over the Nazis." Her remarkable story reminds us how truly thankful we should be today.
Written by Linnea Crowther