For all these things, I am very thankful

Published 7:48 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012

If you write a weekly newspaper column, you can’t really choose a topic on this particular week other than something about Thanksgiving. After all, it is the most American of holidays.

Sitting around with family and friends while eating turkey is a tradition celebrated in almost every family. In the past few years, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday have also become part of the week, as we try to cram just a few more opportunities to purchase gifts for that next big holiday coming up in December.

I am always glad to pause during this week and think about all the many reasons I have to be thankful. It should not take a special holiday to make us mindful of our blessings for I expect all of us have reasons to give thanks.

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I always start with giving thanks for my health and the health of my family. It is only when you have had severe health problems in the past that you appreciate what a year of good health means. I have been in that situation a couple of times in the past and never take good health for granted.

I am thankful for my mother’s recovery from what could have been a catastrophic injury to her leg and ankle. She now walks with a new confidence and is enjoying her new home in Atlanta.

I am thankful for my two daughters and our continuing good relationship together. We recently were sitting in a restaurant, just the three of us, talking. I could not help but think about how lucky I am to have them nearby and to have them as a part of my everyday life.

I am thankful for my two sons-in-law who make my daughters happy and complete. They are bright, hard-working, fun to be around and most of all; they love their wives and children. What more could a father wish for his daughters?

Ah, the children. I am thankful for every day that I get to spend with my grandchildren. Henry and Laura are a handful. They are smart, asking hundreds of questions. They are energetic with an intensity that can wear out an old man like me.

I wished for the chance to have a relationship with my grandchildren just like I had with my own grandparents. Even so, I marvel at how much I underestimated the sheer joy of being a grandparent. For the way each of them ran to me in the past week and grabbed me around the neck, I am very, very thankful.

I am thankful for the rest of my family, my church family, my friends, my many great employees, and for the fact that the year is almost over for Auburn football.

Finally, I am thankful to still be in love with my wife, Mary Lou, who after 34 years still puts up with me and makes me feel special in so many ways. Almost none of the blessings above would have been possible without her commitment to our marriage and her willingness to see beyond my faults.

I hope you take just a moment today to give thanks for the blessings in your own life.