Random reflections on Thanksgiving

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The fourth Thursday in November is the day family and friends gather to celebrate and be thankful for good things that come their way. It usually begins an extended weekend with the traditional Thursday meal followed by four days of watching football or a mad rush to the airport. Others use the time to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and I will share a few of my random thoughts with readers. I am thankful for:

• The opportunity to observe holidays in Peachtree City without terror attacks, civil unrest and riots in the street.

• The men and women who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps to keep us safe and protect our liberty.

• The local police officers, paramedics, and firemen who respond to calls promptly and handle problems professionally.

• The freedom to vote and exercise my constitutional rights without facing retribution or the tyranny of an oppressive government.

• My favorite month of October when the leaves are beautiful and the seasons of my favorite sports overlap and evolve into a continuous television watching frenzy. Football season is in full swing, the NBA exhibition season is under way, and major league baseball playoffs and the World Series are October highlights. The month of October also features the beginning of the National Hockey League season, Major League Soccer and Ryder Cup Golf completion between Europe and the United States in even years. There is something for everyone in October.

• My wife, Jeanie, who bakes a great pie, has patience with me and is always supportive when things don’t go my way.

• My daughter, Kathryn, who makes me proud as she and Michael find their niche in National Harbor, Maryland.

• Jeanie’s children who are now my children. Neil and Brittany, Ben and Melissa and Eleanor and Chris have enriched my life and the grandchildren are a blessing.

• Jeanie’s twin brother Jerry and his wife Paula who host the entire family for Thanksgiving at their Doodle Ranch in Swainsboro. There are usually more than 50 siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins who sometimes travel from as far as Colorado, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia.

• My fellow Rotarians and members of other local organizations that do great work in the community.

• The Providence United Methodist Church family and the staff we depend on to keep things in good order.

• My Senior Pastor, Dr. Diane Parrish, who preaches an inspirational sermon, has a sense of humor and cares about her congregation. My prayers will be with her in December during scheduled surgeries.

• Other members of the clergy who impact my life: Wilton Moulder, who is quietly inspirational; Clay Jacobs, advisor and friend; and the memories of Charlie Landrum, who for years cheerfully greeted me before Rotary meetings; and the deceased Tom Roan, a tough World War II combat Marine, who prayed with me during extremely tough times.

• Jim Christian, my trainer, who keeps me more physically fit than I deserve considering my poor eating habits and careless lifestyle.

• Al Yougel of Keep Peachtree City Beautiful and his volunteers who pick up trash and litter from the right of way throughout the city.

• Kelly Richardson, Mike Morrison and Scott Richardson who schedule and manage my weekend golf group; Dave Padlo and the Flat Creek MGA Committee that organizes the monthly tournaments; and Wilder Davis who runs the Thursday game. These guys have the patience of Job in dealing with constant complaints and bickering from clowns like me.

• Seven consecutive years of good weather on the fourth weekend in September for Rotary’s annual Dragon Boat Races and international festival. The weather was marginal this year but we avoided rain and it was completed without a hitch. We raised almost $17,000 for Rotary to use in support of the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Network. Thanks to Peachtree City and the CVB for supporting the event.

• Cheryl Earle, Jeanie’s friend, who brings sanity to our household every time she visits.

• My breakfast buddies at Mimi’s Good Food: Terry Garlock, Mike King, Wayne Franz, Skip Ragan, John Harrell, Buddy, Wayne King, et al. We talk smack and banter good-natured insults during heated debate of the issues of the day. Thanks to Stephanie, Michelle, Melissa, Tammy, Emily, Ashley, Adessa, Linda, Eva, Efren, Mike, Tyler and others at Mimi’s who treat us better than we deserve.

• Larry Winner, owner of LTD’s Lawns, who has maintained my lawn for more than 15 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.

• And finally, Cal Beverly, editor of this newspaper who prints my political columns despite my point of view.

Enough said! Happy Thanksgiving.

[Scott Bradshaw, a Peachtree City resident, is a residential developer and real estate broker. He may be contacted at rand5474@bellsouth.net.]