I am thankful. I am thankful that while you may see other Thanksgiving columns appear at this time of reflection, you took the time to read this one.
I am thankful the editors allow me this space to share with you the things for which I am most thankful as well as a weekly platform to state my opinions on whatever I choose. I am thankful no one tells me what I can or cannot say and that you will let me know whether you or not you agree. And do you ever.
I am thankful for the late Furman Bisher, sports editor of the Atlanta Newspapers, who was to Thanksgiving columns what Michelangelo was to sculpture. He was also the finest writer of any and all things I ever knew. I am thankful for the times we spent together at St.
Simons listening to his stories about everyone from Ty Cobb to Arnold Palmer. He knew them all.
I am thankful to Hoagy Carmichael for writing “Georgia on my Mind,” and for Ray Charles Robinson, of Albany, Georgia, who turned it into a sacred hymn and for the Great State of Georgia making it the official state song.
Eat your heart out, North Dakota.
I am thankful for Murphy, my granddog of unknown origins, who is an official therapy dog and who goes into nursing homes, hospices and children’s facilities and brings a bit of sunshine to those within. Murphy is making a positive difference in this world and should serve as a role model for us one and all.
I am thankful for ice water and hot coffee and for both being on call when I need them. Sweet tea, too.
I am thankful I had a number of mentors in my life and the good sense to listen to them.
Dr. Raymond Cook, of Valdosta, who inspired me to stay in school when all my buddies had quit and gone to work. Jasper Dorsey, my boss at Southern Bell, who correctly discerned that I wasn’t as good as I thought I was and proceeded to make me better than I ever thought I could be. John Jacobs, the media mogul in Gainesville, and Roy Hodnett, the real estate tycoon at St. Simons, who showed me that you can be hugely successful in business and kind and gentle souls at the same time. I am thankful I let them all know what they meant to me before they passed away.
I’m thankful for modern technology — when it works. I’m not crazy about it when it doesn’t.
I am thankful for schoolteachers (including those in my family) and for public safety officials.
They educate us and protect us and I wonder why we don’t put them on a pedestal instead of overpaid professional athletes who do neither.
I am thankful for my parents. I didn’t get to pick them, of course, but if I had I could not have picked a better pair.
They taught me the value of hard work, honesty, love and faith in God.
They also taught me that education along doesn’t make you smart. Neither got past the seventh grade but they remain two of the smartest people I ever knew.
I am thankful for people who do the little things that mean a lot.
Regina, who cuts my hair like no one else can.
(She wouldn’t allow it, anyway.) Philip, a Great American, who drives me to out-of-town engagements. Olivia, the greatest clerk in the history of the world who comes out from behind the counter at the pharmacy to hug me even as she is waiting on customers. I don’t know what I did to deserve their friendship but I am honored to have it.
I am thankful for banana pudding, but aren’t we all? I am thankful that I can still find music worth listening to, movies where mutants and space aliens are not blowing each other up and funny people on television like Andy Griffith and Carol Burnett. It is getting harder and harder to do. Mean and loud and violent seem to be the standard these days. A shame.
I am thankful for the beloved Woman Who Shared My Name. I never thought I would outlive her, given my pedal-tothe- metal lifestyle and her quiet placid personality but life doesn’t always go the way we planned.
I miss her, but I have the memories and they are all good.
For that, I am most thankful. Happy Thanksgiving.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.