A few of the things I’m thankful for

Published 9:37 am Thursday, November 26, 2020

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I’m thankful for the voice of Kate Smith, singing “God Bless America”. What a Great American she was! Her signature contribution for being a Great American was, perhaps, making the military men and women aware of her appreciation for their service to our country. I’m thankful when I hear Anne Murray sing, “What a Wonderful World.” If you have any doubts about our troubled times, Google her name and listen as you watch the video which confirms that even with so many misguided and angry people in the world there are countless heart rendering scenes and cogent messages that bring us comfort and hope.

I’m thankful for sweet potatoes, field peas, fresh tomatoes, watermelon and cheese pizza. Mostly I am thankful for cheese and seeing it made in small villages in the Alps. I am also thankful for hoop cheese, which I don’t see anymore.

I’m thankful for the stretch of highway 441 from McRae to Dublin to Milledgeville: few billboards and virtually no roadside trash through long stretches of greenery. I’m thankful for the scent of magnolia, quaint beach cottages, a taut line on my fly rod and the unadulterated pleasure of reeling in a trophy rainbow on the Chattahoochee with my friend, Jimmy Harris, proprietor of Unicoi Outfitters, looking over my shoulder.

I’m thankful for fields of waving grain, whispering pines, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, boat rides through the Marshes of Glynn on the Georgia coast on days that end up with Tom Mitchell, owner of the Frederica House, where wild Georgia shrimp and a cold beer contribute to a restful night’s sleep. I’m thankful for patches of silver queen corn in the Nacoochee Valley in White County along with modest country churches where humility envelopes hymns such as “Shall We Gather at the River,” and “Give Me That Old Time Religion.”

I’m thankful to be able to walk behind an English pointer, with regal bearing, on a fulfilling hunt with my friend Mackie Dekle at Boggy Pond Plantation in Moultrie… I’m thankful for memories of the days I hunted quail in the heyday of Callaway Gardens under the stewardship of Hal Northrup who introduced me to the late John Sale, a man who could carry on a conversation with a bird dog.

I’m thankful for columnists and writers like Mark Bradley, Steve Hummer, Ryne Dennis and Chip Towers. I’m thankful most of all that there are newspapers in my driveway every morning. I am thankful for that cup of coffee on my patio and the cardinal, in gleaming red, joins me and dances about, stimulating a “thumbs up” to him, one of the resonating scenes of nature. I’m thankful for the Georgia “G” on mailboxes all over the state which I see when I travel. I’m thankful for the 4-H club and what it means to so many kids across our state. I’m thankful for Johnny Mercer’s soothing and sobering lyrics — happy, encouraging words from a Great Georgian.

I’m thankful for cell phone towers and wish there were a couple more on Highway 15 when I drive to St. Simons Island, where I would live if I didn’t live in Athens. I’m thankful for those who sign their texts, those who return their phone calls and those who proof their emails. If we dressed the way we type, we’d all look like disheveled tramps.

I’m thankful for window sills that hold books, flowers and artifacts from memorable travel experiences and lament that in there somewhere was a phone directory which reminds me that I am thankful for those who still have listed numbers so that I don’t have to pay to reach out to them. I’m thankful for crisp French fries, Bubba Burgers on the grill during the harvest season when my favorite musical title is “Harvest Moon,” a song for all occasions—from the shower to Rotary Club meetings to hayrides.

I continue to be thankful for the lyrics of America the Beautiful. “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.” I’m thankful for Katharine Lee Bates who penned those indelibly inspiring words.

I’m thankful for the message of the first President Bush who called for a kinder, gentler nation. Let’s take those words to heart post haste. Happy thanksgiving!