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Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day 2017

walked into Quik and Handy to get breakfast this morning (a shameless plug for a friendly competitor) and got into line behind an old friend from my peanut days.  I asked how he was doing and in response he said enthusiastically, “I am GREAT!”   

Just that quick, he changed my thoughts about the coming day.  Instead of focusing on the long list of things I had to do, I said to myself, “You know what?  I am doing GREAT too”.   Attitude is so important in how we live our lives and often is the only difference between being happy or sad.

With my own attitude set for the day, I am going to focus on the many things I have to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day of 2017.

First, we always should be thankful for our health and that of our loved ones.   Short of a cold or two, and Will’s broken collar bone, 2017 has been an exceptional year for the Ponder family.   Could things be better?   Sure.   Could things be worse?  Absolutely.

I am thankful for the time we get to spend with our children and grandchildren.  Just this past weekend, after the Auburn – ULM football game, I watched the next two generations playing kickball for hours.   It is somehow comforting to see them play a game I enjoyed during my own childhood, especially since they have so much more to distract them these days.

I am thankful for the bounty on our Thanksgiving table.  Food has always been a big part of the holiday traditions in my family.  Turkey, dressing, and more casseroles than a big jar of mayonnaise could make.  This year, a simple steak for the smaller crowd that will gather at my sister’s house.   After all, family gatherings are really about so much more than the food.

I am thankful for the season of the life that Mary Lou and I enjoy together.    After 4 decades of doing the same thing, we are branching out and exploring a different world.  Whether in Auburn or in a foreign country, we are choosing to focus on the life ahead of us while savoring all the memories of the life we have already lived.

I am thankful for the long life of my mother and my father-in-law, both past four score and five, and for the birth of my first grandniece, Rachael Lucy Schwartz.   Between the youngest and the oldest of my family are four generations rich with joy, love, aches and pains.  87 years of living history, our own microcosm of life. 

I am thankful that forty plus years ago, I chose Donalsonville and Southwest Georgia to be my home.  This village helped raise my kids, supported me in business and politics and has given me that place we all yearn for called home.

I am thankful and proud to be an American.   Having visited over 20 countries around the world, I believe that more strongly than ever.  We have our challenges, but we will find our way.   

Finally, I am thankful for those that take a few minutes each week to read my column.  Your comments, emails and mostly kind words, make this a labor of love, never a chore. 

As you count your blessings this Thursday, remember that what you do with those blessings is the true measure of Thanksgiving.