Legendary writer Furman Bisher caught the University of Georgia's football team succumbing to Georgia Tech 7-0 in 1950, then took in every rematch for decades until 2007. Bisher died March 18.
Photo: AJC File
Photo: AJC File

Furman Bisher: I'm thankful ...

Editor's Note: Legendary The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist Furman Bisher wrote his first column as Atlanta Constitution sports editor April 15, 1950, and in 1955 he began a Thanksgiving tradition: His “I’m Thankful…” columns, which often hit on the popular culture of the day, were a hit with readers and continued for 57 years. Bisher died March 18, 2012, and it seems most appropriate that we have his words from November 1955 grace our pages again this Thanksgiving Day, even when many of the people he references have faded from memory. Count us thankful for Bisher. — Ray Cox, sports content editor

I’m thankful for the right to play the game you want to play and back the team you want to back, though it isn’t necessarily set forth as such in the constitution.

I’m thankful for a profession that gave us a Grantland Rice and the philosophy that came with him.

I’m thankful for the right to call an umpire a blind bum.

I’m thankful for drivers who dim their lights on the highway without waiting for you to dim yours.

I’m thankful for guys who hit home runs in the last of the ninth inning with the bases loaded, especially if they’re on our side.

I’m thankful for “September Song,” as recorded by Walter Huston. In tones hoary and uneven, but with a feeling that only he could give it.

I’m thankful for a kid like Jimmy Orr, who just went out for the team.

I’m thankful for open fireplaces and the crackle of burning logs.

I’m thankful for little boys, who litter up a home with toys and junk and dirty clothes and love.

I’m thankful for the quiet that falls over a big stadium, and then the chilling sound of our national anthem.

I’m thankful for ice cream, chocolate, vanilla, peach, cherry, almond toffee, lemon — just ice cream.

I’m thankful for rain, and the way it makes you glad to be inside.

I’m thankful for Walter Alston, who repaired some of the damage that Arthur Godfrey had done to world humility.

I’m thankful for good neighbors and a nice street to live on and pine trees and even the skittering little squirrels that dig up the bulbs and run like the dickens.

I’m thankful for Jimmy Morris, who was a good, unselfish captain on a game leg.

I’m thankful for “Monitor” and “Nightbeat,” and programs like that that show radio isn’t surrendering.

I’m even thankful for television once in a while.

I’m thankful for men like Whitlow Wyatt, Tonto Coleman and Clyde King, who prove that one needn’t compromise his beliefs and principles for sports.

I’m thankful for Norman Rockwell’s covers on Saturday Evening Post.

I’m thankful for baseball fans like Granny Phillips, who requires of her Crackers only that they show up to play.

I’m thankful for a coach like Blanton Collier, who’s got the good grace to say that he was outcoached, whether he thought it or not.

I’m thankful for the smell of burning leaves on a crisp autumn day.

I’m thankful for payday.

I’m thankful for the way cute dames look on Saturday afternoon at the football game and sorry for them when it starts to rain on their sartorial investments.

I’m thankful for the courteous bus drivers and friendly cabbies.

I’m thankful for disc jockeys who realize that the purpose of their show is to play some music.

I’m thankful for the view you get as you come over the mountain that stands guard above Manchester.

I’m thankful for 6 p.m. in the winter when the lights begin to flicker in the windows and mothers go out to call in the roamers.

I’m thankful for thick steaks, medium well.

I’m thankful for the way Eddie Heywood plays the piano.

I’m thankful for politicians. I may as well be. We’re going to have them, anyway.

I’m thankful for comebacks like Tommy Byrne’s and thankful that one could happen to such a nice guy.

I’m thankful I’m not an undertaker.

I’m thankful for spring training and the sweetest time of a sports writer’s year, and I hope they don’t ever move it from Florida to Alaska.

I’m thankful for “16 Tons” and how Tennessee Ernie sings it out the bottom of his toes.

I’m thankful for sports editors like Bill Rives of Dallas and Tom Siler of Knoxville and Fred Russell of Nashville and the character they give our business.

And most of all on this day, I’m glad that 30,000 will see the Georgia freshmen play the Tech freshmen at Grant Field so that some tyke will have a better life.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X