Monday, November 21, 2011

This week we gather around the family table, carve up the turkey, ladle out the gravy and cross our fingers that Aunt Sophie doesn't get too deep into that vat of port wine. You know how she gets.
It's Thanksgiving.
It’s a time to reflect on all the things we are thankful for and those with whom we've had the pleasure of sharing those moments.
After 13 years of continuing to carry the torch of one of the world’s greatest wordsmiths, we are thankful for all of you who have made it possible for us to continue to provide scholarships to those deserving kids from across academia. Without you, this dream may not have been realized.
We thank major contributors over the years like the Barron Hilton Foundation, The McCormick Tribune Foundation, the St. Louis Rams, the PGA of America, American Honda, ESPN and the countless others who have given year after year to make sure that the future journalists we help know who set the bar to which they all look to rise.
We are thankful for the countless volunteers who have given their time and energy to help the JMMF move forward through the years.
We are thankful for the judges who have scrutinized the essays to select the top writers from the crop of prospects and helped fund the ‘Judges Award.’
We thank our hard-working Board of Directors who give their time and energy to help further our efforts.
Most of all, we thank Jim Murray for his insatiable wit and wisdom that carried us all through 38 years of laughter, tears and the occasional tirade.  Without Jim our ship would not have a star by which to sail.
So, as you sit down to your turkey and dressing and tip your glasses of vino (not too much for Aunt Sophie), remember the ones who are with us, the ones who have moved on and the ones who have left an indelible mark on our very souls, to which we say, "Thank you . . . for a real good time!" 
Please remember the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation in your year-end charitable giving.
And to get you ready for Thanksgiving Day, here is Jim Murray's first Thanksgiving column with the Los Angeles Times, from Nov. 23, 1961 . . .
November 23, 1961, SPORTS

A Reason For Thanks

Jim Murray

   Thanksgiving Day. A time to count your blessings, sew the turkey, uncap the cider and be thankful the Indians aren't out there any more. Just the Russians.
   The world of sport has it's reasons to give thanks to this day along with everyone else. Walter O'Malley can give thanks for Chavez Ravine.  So can Don Drysdale and Duke Snider.
   Floyd Patterson can give thanks for Tom McNeeley and a boxing commission that isn't squeamish about the sight of blood. McNeeley's blood.
   Barron Hilton can give thanks for San Diego. Sid Gillman can give thanks for Barron Hilton.  Both of them can give thanks for Conrad Hilton.
   Ralph Houk can give thanks for Whitey Ford, Whitey for Luis Arroyo.
   Here are some others and their reasons for being grateful this Thanksgiving morning:
   The New York Yankees — for the American League.
   The American League — for the New York Yankees.
   The Cincinnati Reds — that nobody got hurt.
   Roger Maris — that the pitchers aren't as fast as they used to be but that the ball is faster.
   The Stanford Indians — that the season is almost over.
   The Georgia Tech team — that nobody got killed.
   Georgia Tech's Chick Graning — that he has some teeth left.
   Alabama's Darwin Holt — that he doesn't have to pay Chick Graning's dental bill.
   The American Dental Assn. — that someone does.
   UCLA or USC — that Ohio State doesn't want to come to the Rose Bowl.
   Wilt Chamberlin — that he didn't start smoking as a boy.
   Joe Stalin — that he finally got out of the Communist Party.
   Nikita Khrushchev — that grave-robbing isn't a crime in Russia.  That neither is grave-filling.   Sugar Ray Robinson — that there are so few fighters around nowadays who can beat an old man. Or an old lady, either, for that matter.
   The Los Angeles Rams — that the Chargers left town when they did.
   Billy Wade — that George Halas doesn't believe what he reads.
   Bob Waterfield — that he at least has Jane Russell to go home to.
   The Los Angeles Blades — that people who like hockey even like bad hockey, and that some people can't tell the difference.
   The Los Angeles Dodgers — that they didn't win the pennant and have to play the Yankees in the Coliseum. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
   The Sugar Bowl — that the South is waking up enough so they can at least invite a team that has some freckle-faces on it.
   The Rose Bowl — that everybody wants to go there except the Big Five which would just as soon not start the New Year in a suicide attempt.
   Bill Rigney — that he's with an old established firm and not one of those fly-by-nights in San Francisco who get jittery and fire you for finishing third.
   Dan Reeves or Ed Pauley — that one of them can quit suffering with the Rams come next season.
   All of us — that we can give to the Mercy Bowl, not get from it.  And that we can go to it and not listen to it from a bed.
   And now, if you don't mind, I think I'll turn my attention to the turkey and the bicarbonate of soda. And a Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

* Reprinted with permission by the Los Angeles Times

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