Much to be Thankful For

As I grow older, but not necessarily wiser – I am amazed at how quickly the years are passing. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here again. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine months since we drove down to the season-opener at St. Petersburg in late February. Suddenly we are 186 days away from the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500, and I have a feeling it will be here before we know it. The years are passing by way too quickly. I’d like to think I have at least another thirty left in me, but that would put me at 94. This is a not-so-gentle reminder to make the most of what’s left and to take stock in all the things we should be thankful for.

First and foremost, I am grateful that my wife, Susan, is still here and that we can still enjoy things together. When she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two and a half years ago, things didn’t look very promising. But so far she has beaten it (she had clear scans again just a week ago), although the after-effects of the chemo have ravaged her body more than the cancer did. Things have taken a dip in the last ten days or so. In fact, she was admitted to Vanderbilt just last night (Tuesday evening) to run tests to determine why she has been so weak for the past couple of weeks. We have tickets to go to the Tennessee-Vanderbilt football game this Saturday in Nashville, but I’d say that’s probably out. Then in two weeks, we are flying out to Idaho to meet my grandson, who was born the weekend we were at Road America in June. I am hoping she is back on the mend and is up for that, but I may be going solo. But given everything she has been though – I am lucky to still have her, and I am very thankful for every day we have going forward.

I am also grateful for this site. In about five months, this site will celebrate its fourteenth anniversary. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would still be doing this heading into 2023, back when I started it in 2009 – but I’m still here and have no plans to retire, not yet anyway. I also had no idea what it would lead to. It sounds dramatic, but it is factual to say that this has been life-changing. I am very thankful for the site and for all of you who come here three times a week.

Third, I am thankful to have at least one more NTT IndyCar Series race in my hometown of Nashville. The racing itself may be lacking, but the event is fantastic. Those of you who live in Indianapolis already know this, but there is a lot to be said about sleeping in your own bed during a race weekend. What happens after the contract is up after the 2023 race, and the Titans begin construction on a new stadium? Stay tuned.

I am also thankful for family. Aside from my wife, I have two children from my previous marriage. My daughter was to join us for Thanksgiving, but that’s most likely not happening with Susan in the hospital. I will get to visit with my son and his family in Idaho in a couple of weeks.

In these unconventional times, I have sometimes felt the need to apologize for growing up in what I call a “Leave it to Beaver” household, and having a happy childhood. My parents had a good marriage and never divorced. They weren’t big drinkers, they never cheated on each other nor did either of them have a dark side. I guess that’s where I learned to take everyone at face value, because that’s what my parents did. My father worked, but my mother stayed home and raised three boys – my two older brothers and myself.

When my father died (ironically, of pancreatic cancer) in 1994, most assumed my mother wouldn’t last a year without him. She lasted another twenty-six years and just passed away in July of 2020 – about three weeks after Susan was diagnosed with her pancreatic cancer.

My two older brothers are still alive and well, and coming from a non-dysfunctional family – we all still talk on a weekly basis, even though we live in three different states. By March, both will be in their seventies; but all three of us have our health and none of us really feel our age. Unfortunately, since our mother passed away; we only see each other at the Indianapolis 500. But I’m grateful for that and that we still have a good relationship. When I learn of some siblings that have gotten mad with each other and haven’t spoken in years; I feel bad for them, but thankful I am not in their shoes. Life is too short.

I suppose many people approach Thanksgiving and think about all that has gone wrong in their lives. We can all do that. Some have more regrets or misfortune than others, but everyone can dwell on how rotten their life is. I choose to focus on how blessed I’ve been.

Lastly, on a lighter note – I am thankful that after thirty years, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix is moving away from Belle Isle. To the chagrin of a few, I’ve used Belle Isle as a figurative punching bag. I figure I won’t have too many more chances to get in many more jabs at it, so I thought I’d take one more shot. Who knows? The new downtown circuit looks a little boring, and I may eventually be longing for the days on Belle Isle…but I doubt it.


Susan and I want to take this opportunity to wish each of you a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Susan and George Phillips

Please Note: As I always do at this time of year, I will take some time off, so that I won’t be spending the Thanksgiving weekend from behind a keyboard. There will be no post here on Friday Nov 25 or Monday Nov 28. I will return on Wednesday Nov 30. Enjoy the long weekend! – GP

9 Responses to “Much to be Thankful For”

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, George. Sending good thoughts to Susan

  2. Leslie Bissell Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Prayers for Susan.

    I am grateful for so much, and Oilpressure is on that list.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Continued prayers for both of you! Happy Thanksgiving

  5. Rick Johnson Says:

    George, a very Happy Thanksgiving to you and Susan.

  6. northeastvista Says:

    Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to you and ALL your family.

  7. billytheskink Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving all y’all, especially you and yours George and Susan!

  8. Joe & Michele Porten Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving George & Susan! Praying for a speedy recovery for Susan.

  9. Thanksgiving blessings to all! Thanks for taking the time and many hours on your blog George. Your loyal readers appreciate it very much! Please renew my subscription for another year of excellent Indycar coverage! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: