Tomorrow, as you sit down with your family or friends over a huge turkey (or Tofurkey) dinner, take a second to be thankful for living in Memphis. I know I will.
If you're stuck for reasons why you should be thankful for Memphis, here are 10 good ones:
1. Memphis doesn't feel like anywhere else. There are some cities that may be cleaner or safer or open later, but there's no other city that comes close to having the amount of pure, gritty, beautiful soul that Memphis has.
2. Basketball season. Between the Tigers and the Grizzlies, you can almost catch a live game every night between November and March.
3. Ghost River beer. The guys that make Ghost River swear that the beer is so good because the water in Memphis is so delicious. All of their beer is made locally at their brewery on S. Main. Though you can't buy it at the grocery store, you can get their three constant brews and their seasonal brew on tap at bars all over town (or in kegs at their dock).
4. The Greenline. Since the seven-mile paved trail that runs from Tillman to Shelby Farms opened earlier this year, it's been packed with bikers, walkers, joggers and skaters. There's nothing else like it in the city, and I'm so thankful that it's been a success. We can only hope that it will be expanded deeper into Midtown and East Memphis in the future.
5. Easy traffic. When I asked you guys what you were thankful for on Facebook and Twitter, a handful of you mentioned how easy it is to deal with Memphis traffic. I know I might not always think so when I'm trying to go to YoLo at 5 p.m., but compared to other cities, even our worst rush hour traffic is easily managed.
6. There's so much to do. So much, in fact, that I've been blogging about Memphis for more than a year, and I haven't even come close to seeing or doing everything I've wanted to. If you wanted to go out every night, you could. If you wanted to hear a band every day, you could. If you only wanted to shop at locally owned shops and eat in locally-owned restaurants for a year, it would be fairly easy.
7. We're making progress. It's amazing how much progress we've made in the last two years. We've got more locally grown food, a vibrant outdoor concert venue, brand new festivals and events, new bands and all sorts of movers and shakers making their own opportunities. Memphis is a city where you have the opportunity to create the community you want to live in. Think about that, then do it.
8. Holes in the wall. The best Cajun food in Memphis is served up in a yellow brick shack on S. Florida (Deju Vu). The best hot wings come from a shopping center on Getwell (Ching's) and one of the best bars in town is covered in graffiti and named after being poor and hungry (The P&H.) You can eat at chain restaurants in Memphis, but I'm not sure why you'd want to when our best food and drinks come from holes in the wall and dive bars.
9. The weather. Yeah, I know it's probably not supposed to be 70 degrees in late November, but I don't see most of you complaining. You're all too busy hanging out on the Greenline.
10. The people. Memphians are some of the warmest, friendliest, nicest and most wickedly funny people I've ever met. We're generally pretty relaxed and we know how to have a good time. We're also resourceful, creative and attractive (no matter what other people think).
As for me, I'm thankful for every single person that reads this, that comments or emails me, sends me tips or asks me questions. Thank you for making what I do so incredibly special.
Have a great Thanksgiving holiday. I'll be back on Friday morning – for now, I've got a ton of baking to do.