Happy Thanksgiving From The Oilpressures!

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We are now entering what is one of my two favorite times of the year. The Month of May and the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s rival each other for which is my favorite. In my opinion, they are both equal – mainly because I have such happy childhood and adulthood memories of both. I do not have any personal miserable memories of either.

Many point to the 1973 Month of May as one to forget, but that was the first year that I had missed attending since 1966 (after attending my first race in 1965). In my sixty-three years I have missed a total of thirty-four Indianapolis 500s – more than half of my life. I’ve never missed a Thanksgiving or Christmas.

I know that many people have bad personal memories of Thanksgiving or Christmas, while growing up. My own wife grew up with a stepfather who saw any holiday as an opportunity to drink all day and force the rest of the family to endure his inebriated rants. Consequently, Susan and her siblings grew up dreading the holiday season.

I have so much to be thankful for in my life. As I’ve grown older, I have found that my Leave it to Beaver childhood was a rare thing. While growing up, I assumed everyone came from a warm and loving household. More and more, I have discovered that was not the case at all. As time goes on, I have found myself becoming more appreciative of my upbringing, and I’m ever so thankful that I grew up the way I did.

My father was responsible for my love of the Indianapolis 500. For many years, we went to the race as a family of five – myself, my two brothers and both of my parents. My mother finally admitted it wasn’t really her thing, so she stopped going after the 1969 race. When my father announced after the 1972 race that he was giving up his tickets, I was crushed. To this day, I still don’t know what made him do that. It was twenty years later before I returned as a thirty-three year-old in 1992. I am very thankful that I took him with me for the 1993 race. It meant the world to him to stand in Gasoline Alley the morning of the race. The following May, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and he passed away just six months later.

My mother lived another twenty-six years to the ripe old age of ninety-six, before passing away in the summer of 2020. I am very thankful that she was in good health until the very end. After my father died, we had many, many more good Thanksgivings and Christmases. In fact, at her last Thanksgiving in 2019, she prepared most of the food as we celebrated another Thanksgiving in the house I grew up in. Just a month later, we celebrated my fifty-sixth straight Christmas in the very same house we moved to when I was five. Not many people can say that, and I’m very thankful that I can.

What am I most grateful for at this Thanksgiving? That my wife, Susan, is still here. As most of you know, Susan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July of 2020 – just as my father had been, twenty-six years earlier. We were told she had twelve months to live. Only 20% with this disease make it to the one-year mark after diagnosis. Only 8% live beyond five years. Three weeks after her diagnosis, my mother suddenly passed away – as unexpectedly as possible with someone that is ninety-six. I can say with certainty that July of 2020 was the most trying month of my life.

Fast-forward almost seventeen months. After grueling chemo, surgery, more chemo and radiation – Susan is still here. Not only is she still here, she appears to be thriving. She is to undergo scans every three months for two years. The first scans were in August, just before the Music City Grand Prix, and they were completely clear. Just two weeks ago, she had her second set of scans and everything is still clear. Her hair has come back, her weight has come back and she has resumed all of her pre-cancer activities.

We are not ready to proclaim her as cured, but things look very good right now and we are so grateful for every day we have together right now. Last Thanksgiving, we were pretty certain that it would be her last and I would be alone this Thanksgiving. Either one of us could be hit by a car next week, but we are both very thankful that she has been given a new lease on life. We have both learned the lesson to not take a single day for granted. Fortunately, we appear to have more time together in front of us than either of us suspected a year ago. We are very, very thankful. We will say an extra prayer of thanks, as we pull up to tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner table.

Susan and I both want to wish everyone here a very happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend. We have been granted a second chance at the life we had grown accustomed to. Use our example to take stock of everything you have in your own lives. Never take anything for granted. It can be ripped away in an instant.

Susan and George Phillips

Please note: As usual for this time of year, I will not have a post here on Friday Nov 26 or on Monday Nov 29. As much as I enjoy this site, I have no desire to spend my Thanksgiving weekend behind a keyboard. I will return here on Wednesday Dec 1. Enjoy the long weekend! – GP

15 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving From The Oilpressures!”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, George and Susan. You have a lot to celebrate.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving Oilpressures!

  3. Wishing both of you all the best as you enjoy the holidays and head into 2022 and beyond.

  4. Maurice Kessler Says:

    There certainly is a lot of “Thanksgiving” this very special Thanksgiving Day for the Phillips family.
    We wish the two of you many more “Happy Thanksgivings”.

  5. Rick Johnson Says:

    A very Happy Thanksgiving to you both.

  6. billytheskink Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, Susan and George and all of us readers and commenters! We have plenty to be thankful for as Indycar fans, but even more to be thankful for with Susan’s health and George continuing to write for us here.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving, Team Oilpressure from The Frees (soon to transition from SkipinSC to SkipinFL.) See y’all in May in Indy (if not sooner.)
    Skip and Kathy

  8. James T Suel Says:

    Wishing you and Susan and family the best of the holiday.

  9. Thanks for an uplifting post. Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Leslie Bissell Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving George and Susan!

  11. I hope everyone is enjoying their Thanksgiving weekend. I agree that we have to focus on the positives in life and be grateful for every day. Cheers to you all.

  12. As the year nears it’s end, please renew my subscription to another one ear of Indycar coverage by The Oulpressure couple! Thanks for all you do and blessings to you both!!

  13. …..that should read…..”another year”. 🤦‍♂️

  14. Happy Thanksgiving to both of you, George and Susan. Enjoy your holiday season, and here’s hoping I’ll get to see you at the tracks in 2022.

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