If family, friends and food on the table rank near the top of the list, the events of Oct. 10, 2012 rank somewhere a little further down. Probably somewhere ahead of a memorable 1978 Boy Scout trip to South Padre Island, Tex., and somewhere below the 1973 Volkswagen SuperBeetle I drove in high school.
I believe when done with the proper amount of reflection, empathy and humility, the act of expressing gratitude before a Thanksgiving feast is a profound exercise. Recognizing that everything has its proper place -- and that there are many far less fortunate than I -- today I offer the following bit of personal history, which is neither profound nor particularly humble.
Late in the afternoon of Oct. 10, on the third hole at Swan Lakes in Layton, I finally carded my first hole-in-one.
For the record, it was from about 136 yards out and I hit a 9-iron. My teenage son, Tyler, was the witness and although it took a while to register what had just happened, I must say, after nearly 35 years of trying, it was everything I hoped it would be.
Without going into too many boring details, it went pretty much like this: I teed up my optic yellow Bridgestone (I use them because they're easier to see, not because they're trendy), turned to my son and said, "Well, here goes. I'm still waiting for that first hole-in-one."
I knew I hit it flush and even posed a little as I waited to see the ball come down. I figured it was going to be close; it bounced once, then twice and finally disappeared.
As I stood there with a silly grin on my face, wondering if perhaps I'd just seen some sort of optical illusion, my son jumped into my arms and something like, "Nice shot, dad. You did it!"
I bring this up today -- Thanksgiving Day -- because I really am grateful for the entire experience. In the grand scheme of things, it hardly ranks as high as, say, my children's health or my wife's incredible patience with me. Still, as someone who's enjoyed a lifelong love of golf, it certainly was a "payday" kind of moment. The fact I did so while playing with one of my kids made the whole thing even sweeter.
I'm thankful for "payday" moments.
Look, I realize my experience wasn't all that unique. Each year thousands of golfers record holes-in-one, some for the first time, some for the 10th.
But each one is a magical experience ... a payday.
In 2011 I got to write a column about Bryce Jensen, a delightful man who aced hole No. 16 at the Ogden Golf and Country Club.
He was 96 at the time.
A few weeks ago Darin Hogge, a longtime golf buddy of mine, decided to take his son out for one final round this year. They got to No. 17 at Crane Field and, what do you know, Darin drew an ace.
On Nov. 10, we here at the Standard-Examiner ran a tidbit about Layton golfer Cliff Corey, who after years of trying, finally got his first hole-in-one. A few weeks later he added another, then third a few weeks after that.
In all, he aced holes 3, 5 and 7 at Swan Lakes.
(And here I am bragging about getting ONE).
It's Thanksgiving Day, a day to reflect, to appreciate and to spend time with loved ones. It's a time to consider lose less fortunate and to give of yourself.
It's a time to watch a little football and eat a lot of turkey. Or is it the other way around?
Oh and when it's my turn to share a few of the things I'm thankful for, you better believe I'm mentioning the events of Oct. 10.
That hole-in-one won't be the first thing I mention ... but it'll still rank ahead of the green beans.