The fourth Thursday in November is the day we have historically gathered with family and friends to give thanks for an abundant harvest.
Since fewer families now depend on farming, Thanksgiving has evolved into a series of activities that better suit urban lifestyles. It has become an extended weekend of family gatherings beginning with the traditional Thursday meal followed by four days of watching football and a mad rush into the holiday shopping season.
Thanksgiving is still a traditional time to reflect, and I want to share a few random thoughts of appreciation. I am thankful for:
• The men and women who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps to protect our liberty.
• The local police officers, paramedics, and firemen who respond to calls promptly and professionally.
• My wife, Jeanie, who bakes a great pie, has patience with me and is always supportive when things don’t go my way. It is obvious that I “married up”!
• My daughter, Kathryn, who makes me proud as she and Michael find their niche in life near Alexandria, Va. She also bakes some great chocolate chip cookies.
• Jeanie’s children, who are now my children. Neil and Brittany, Ben and Melissa and Eleanor have enriched my life and the grandchildren are a blessing.
• My fellow Rotarians and members of other local organizations that do great work in the community.
• My favorite month of October when the leaves are beautiful, football season is in full swing, major league baseball playoffs lead to the World Series and NBA exhibition games are on television.
• The Providence United Methodist Church family and the staff we depend on to keep things in good order. Special thanks to Dana McKay and Stacy Fisher who guide me in connection with my finance committee responsibilities.
• My senior pastor, the Reverend Diane Parrish, who preaches an inspirational sermon and has a sense of humor and cares about her congregation.
• Other members of the clergy who impact my life; Charlie Landrum, who cheerfully greets me before Rotary meetings; Wilton Moulder, who is quietly inspirational; Clay Jacobs, advisor and friend; and Tom Roan, a World War II combat Marine, who prayed with me during tough times. Tom has retired from his work as a chaplain at Piedmont Fayette Hospital but still stays in touch.
• Al Yougel of Keep Peachtree City Beautiful and his volunteers who pick up trash and litter from the right of way throughout the City.
• Scott Deibler, Bill Butler and Scott Richardson who schedule and manage the weekend golf group; Bill Jolin and the Flat Creek MGA Committee members that organize the monthly tournament competition; and Wilder Davis who runs the Thursday game. These guys have the patience of Job in dealing with our constant complaints and bickering.
• Six consecutive years of good weather on the fourth weekend in September for the annual Dragon Boat races and International Festival.
• Cheryl Earle, Jeanie’s friend, who brings sanity to our household every time she visits.
• Wendy Livingston, Amy Williams, Heidi Dawson and the crew at Windy Oaks Farm who diligently care for Hershey, my 32-year-old English riding pony. For those who don’t know Hershey, his movie credits include “A Simple Twist of Fate” with Steve Martin and “Something to Talk About” with Julia Roberts and Robert Duval. Hershey, under the show name “English Accent,” made several trips to the National Pony Finals and safely carried my daughter, Kathryn, to first place in numerous local, state and regional hunter competitions.
• My breakfast buddies at Mimi’s Good Food: Terry Garlock, John Currie, Mike King, Wayne Franz, Skip Ragan, et al. We banter good-natured insults during heated debate of the news of the day. Thanks to Stephanie, Michelle, Christina, Kylie and others at Mimi’s who treat us better than we deserve.
• Larry Winner, owner of LTD’s Lawns, who has done my lawn maintenance for more than ten years, is always willing to do something extra and never missed a scheduled day except when he was serving our country on active military duty.
• The freedom to vote and exercise my constitutional rights without facing retribution or the tyranny of an oppressive government.
• And finally, “Calamity Cal” Beverly who prints my political columns despite my point of view.
Enough Said! Happy Thanksgiving.
[Scott Bradshaw, a resident of Peachtree City, is a real estate broker and residential real estate developer. His family has owned property in what is now Peachtree City since 1820. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]