Sunday High 5, Jan. 12

Here’s the top five things I’ve thankful for from the past week.

5. Space heaters — The Polar Vortex came and went this week and no place was its presence felt more than in my bathroom. You never really think about how much of a blessing flushing is, until it’s gone. Fifteen minutes with a space heater, however, returned my blessing and got everything back flowing correctly.

4. My un-decorated neighborhood — I love Christmas and Christmas decorations, but around the second week of January, seeing them up really starts to depress me. They’re kind of remind of that guy sitting at the bar at 2 a.m. still trying to convince everyone to take shots. It’s time to call it a night and move, dude. Thankful most of neighbors feel the same way and have packed away their inflatable mangers in a timely fashion.

3. The Bowl Championship Series — Monday night we witnessed the final BCS title game when Florida State came back to defeat Auburn, 34-31, and next year we’ll have a college football playoff of sorts for the first time ever. The BCS has taken a lot of crap over the years, myself included among those dishing it out, but truth be told, it gave us some pretty stellar games. My top three: FSU defeating Virginia Tech, 46-29, in 2000 (homer pick, my bad,) Ohio States’ 31-24 win over Miami in 2003, and Texas’ 41-38 win over USC in the Rose Bowl in 2006. Man, Vince Young used to be awesome.

In the end, the BCS is a lot like that goofy neighbor everyone has. You complained about him abusing his clothesline privileges by drying his unmentionables in public, but when you needed to borrow a weed eater, he always came through.

2. The most useful list ever — This week I stumbled upon this BuzzFeed list of 24 things you can learn on the internet for free. HTML coding, foreign languages, and my favorite, easy ways to make GIFs are including on this wonderful curation of information.

So kick off your socks and jump in! You’re welcome.
Jack Black Pool on Make A Gif

1. James E. Williams — This week marked the two-year anniversary of my grandfather passing away. For 29 years I had the pleasure of hanging out with and getting to know this man and each day, I like to think I’m a little more like him.

He grew up in Christiansburg and played football, basketball, and baseball at Christiansburg High School. He spoke at graduation and while reading the list of sponsors, recalled calling a local hair salon a “saloon.” He blamed the previous night’s festivities for that one.

He worked in South America along the Amazon for a while where he amassed stories of head hunters and knife fights, and later served along side the Flying Tigers in the Pacific during World War II. He told me the coolest thing he ever saw was the Taj Mahal, which he viewed from a train. During this time he also had a pet rum-drinking monkey named Squeaky. Honestly, how cool is that?

Over the years he dropped all kinds of wisdom on me including, but not limited to, “Blood is like whiskey, we just keep making it,” and “It’s better to be pissed off, than pissed on.” Even into his 90s he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning watching sports and he never could wait to tell me about some sweet behind-the-back-pass he’d watched Rajon Rondo drop the night before we talked. See, I get it honest.

It’s been two years since I’ve been able to watch a game with him or hear him retell the fabulous stories of his youth. That sucks.

But it’s also been two years since he’s woke up coughing or had to use a cane to get around and that doesn’t suck at all.

I’m thankful for the time I had with him and jealous of where he wakes up each day now. Can’t wait to see him again.

— @TravisKWilliams


About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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