Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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Despite your misgivings about politics, about sports, your mortgage, or paying off college loans, there really are more things to like than you realize…even if you have a warm bed and a place to sit down.

Years ago, when I was still umpiring minor league baseball, I met an old gentleman from the Knoxville area who frequently visited the ballparks when we worked in Knoxville and Chatanooga.

His name was Red Simpson, himself a former umpire in the 40s and 50s, whose favorite encouragement to young umps trying to find their way, was:  “Remember, the umpiring is always better than the playing.”  Meaning, it didn’t matter how bad a day you had, your average was going to be higher than young ballplayers trying to hit a 95 mile-per-hour fastball.  He was right, of course.

Sonny_thumb0211Red stayed in touch with some of us after we left baseball, and for years was good about sending a note during the holidays to let us know he was still around, still active, and still optimistic, even as he reached the age of 90.

Remember, he would say in a thanksgiving note, “You really do have more to be thankful for than you realize.  If you have a warm bed and a place to sit down…you’re better off than some.”  I found one of his notes recently and it made me pause to think.   There really is nothing we take more for granted…than having a bed and a comfortable chair.

There won’t be many who think in those terms on this Thanksgiving, given the political climate of the country, or their inability to pay the bills for things they bought and didn’t need.  But if you think about life in Red Simpson terms, and scale back a bit to appreciate even your next breath…none of us have much cause for unhappiness.

Consider:

1)  If Donald Trump does what he says he can do…creates jobs, cuts debts, protects the country, and brings the dream of prosperity back to the average schlepp…that’s a good thing for America.  Maybe not the individual who only worries about himself and his “rights”, but what’s good for America always works out to be good for Americans.

2)  If you have a job, make it the best job you can.  And treat it like an opportunity to prove that you’re worthy of an even better job.

3)  If your kids are happy and prosperous, take some consolation in that because you had something to do it.  Rest…and admire your work.

4)  If you have a friend, or a relationship, that you look forward to seeing, or talking to, you’re a very, very lucky person.  If you take the time to figure out what a “true” friend is you’ll know what I mean.

5)  If you have a habit, and history, of making good decisions…you have a lot to be thankful for.  Statistically, people who make a living studying things like this say that only one in five do.

6)  If you’re still excited by the prospect of watching others compete…if it reminds you of the better days of your own competitive experience…that’s a benefit you never knew then that you’d have.

7)  If you have more than a thousand dollars in the bank or in a retirement account, you’re better off than 60% of Americans.

8)  If you have a car, regardless of age, that you own free and clear…you’re better off than 70% of Americans.

9)  If you own your own home, free and clear, you’re better off than 80% of Americans

10)  If you have a place to go today, an opportunity to spend time with people who truly matter to you…or with people who truly want you to be with them…take the time to consider why.  And when you figure that out take the time to smile about that.  Feel good.  And give thanks!

Have a good Thanksgiving. We can all go back to what feels normal…tomorrow!

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