I hope everyone bundled up nicely and survived what seems like the hundredth blast of freakishly cold weather this year. I also hope you all have great plans for Thanksgiving, doing whatever it is you want to be doing. Whether it’s a hectic weekend of traveling to visit family or a quiet night alone with pizza and Netflix, I hope it’s grand!

I’m just planning a laid back dinner with local family and will otherwise be counting down the minutes until the Iron Bowl, but first I’d like to take a moment to share a bit of gratitude.

Above all, I am thankful for my beautiful family and friends. I feel so fortunate to be surrounded by so much warmth and love and I appreciate the amazing people in my life more with each passing year.

I am especially thankful for my sweet, fun and loving mother is absolutely nothing like “Mama” June Shannon. I’ll admit I’ve never seen more than a few minutes of “Honey Boo Boo,” but I have definitely kept up with media coverage of June’s “career,” including her recent Dr. Phil interview. Yikes! Those poor kids! I guess it was all fun and games until we realized those kids are actually stuck with that family long after America loses interest.

And speaking of disappointing TV characters, I am very thankful I am not Bill Cosby’s lawyer right now, and — let’s be honest — even more thankful I’m not his naïve young protégée.

At the time of my deadline, numerous women have come forward accusing Cosby of sexual assault in a fairly consistent manner, and thus far his only response has been to refuse to comment and to threaten journalists who dare to speak of such things. The story seems to be gaining momentum with each passing day, and things really aren’t looking good for Cosby right now.

It’s so weird how everybody seems to have scuttled right past that first set of allegations from 2005. I really don’t even remember the story, although I was studying for the bar exam at the time and was basically locked in self-imposed isolation.
Still, it kind of amazes me how so many of us were able to gloss over it entirely. Denial is a powerful thing I guess. I don’t always agree with Bill Cosby’s viewpoints, but I had a lot of affection for the guy. How could I not?

From the time I was seven until I was almost fifteen, his sitcom was consistently one of the most popular shows on television.

It was one of the very few shows my entire family watched together, and I have very fond memories of gathering around the gigantic, 48 inch thick, rabbit-eared box to laugh at Dr. Huxtable’s attempts to sneak in a tasty sammich.

I was never really close to my own father growing up, and Cosby’s character was a pretty significant role model for me. I remember always thinking the perfect dad would be a cross between Cliff Huxtable and Andy Griffith, and for the majority of my life the mere mention of either of those men’s names would trigger a smile and a warm memory. These days, when I think about Cliff I just feel sad and confused.

As hopeless as the situation seems, there’s still that kid inside that hopes it all gets revealed as some big scam and it’s all a lie. The alternative, as increasingly likely as it seems, is a real heartbreaker for me. I guess I always should have known Dr. Cliff Huxtable was a fictional character, but I still feel so betrayed. It hurts to find out a childhood hero isn’t everything you thought. I dread the day my kids find out Spongebob doesn’t really live in a pineapple in the sea.

Moving on, I’m thankful to learn a hunter in Slovenia discovered a real unicorn back in August! Okay, so maybe scientists say it was actually the remains of deer with a rare deformity causing it to grow only a single antler, but it’s close enough to a unicorn to delight the 7-year-old inside me who always believed they were real. After the recent blow from Cosby, my inner child could really use some unicorns.

And speaking of delighting my inner child, I’m thankful the European Space Agency landed a probe on a comet on Nov. 12, launching a data collection process that will provide valuable information that will be studied for years to come. Besides all the scientific benefits, how cool is it to land on a comet? Very.

And finally, always the romantic, I’m thankful Charles Manson has found true love at last. He may be a deranged killer, convicted of murdering nine people back in 1969, but someone obviously found him positively DREAMY!

The 80-year-old mass murderer plans to marry his 26-year-old bride next month. Afton Burton, who prefers to be called “Star,” was only 16 when she learned about Charles Manson and the two began corresponding through letters and phone calls. At 19, she left her deeply religious family in the Midwest and moved to California to be near him, and they’re finally tying the knot.

Manson is lucky things turned out so well all those years ago. It’s always risky meeting a pen pal for the first time, and you never really know who might show up at that first in-person meeting. After all, he barely even knew her! She could have turned out to be some sort of psycho-killer!

At any rate, best wishes to the happy couple and in lieu of wedding gifts, I hope that poor girl’s family gets her some serious help.

Clearly this entire world has gone crazy, but I’m still thankful that I’m in it. And I’m thankful you’re in it. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.