Thanksgiving Blessings

Southern Hospitality

With Thanksgiving on the calendar this month, I’m devoting my column to naming some of the things I’m grateful for.

In the past, I’ve read posts on Facebook where people listed something they were thankful for each day during November. Some of it was pure fluff, like “I am thankful for green grass.”

Others were quite moving, like “I am thankful for my paycheck (even if my wife does spend most of it on new shoes for herself.)” OK. That last one was from Russell, but I was able to delete it before it was posted.

For starters, I’m grateful for 10 continuous and fabulous years of writing this column for Columbia County Magazine. Woo-hoo! Who would’ve ever thought on that fateful day when Kristy Johnson and I were chatting that she would offer me this fabulous gig! To Kristy and everyone at the magazine, I say thank you.

I’m extremely thankful for you readers, too, who let me share my stories and who attend my book signings and speaking engagements. For me, it pays off in more ways than one — new friends, new readers and new adventures.

I’m grateful for two beautiful daughters who give Russell and I so much love, joy and happiness. And two precious granddaughters who do the same.

I’m so appreciative that both of my parents are still living. At age 86, they are relatively healthy, all things considered. We’re fortunate to live only an hour away from them, so that means lots of visits.

Though I’m grateful that our daughter, Katie, has a job she adores in the nursing field and a husband she is madly in love with, I am sad that they moved to Charlotte for their medical careers. On the plus side, we’ll get to visit often, which is always fun.

I am thankful for the many friends that Russell and I have made through our church, our neighborhood and our jobs. And I’m very grateful that both we have reconnected with old friends.

Through Facebook, I found my BFF from high school, Carol, and we are now neighbors living a half-mile apart. We don’t see each other every day, but when we do, it’s like no time has passed. Russell has reconnected through Google with old college roommates from the mid-70s, and we’ve attended ballgames and dinner together.

Now while Thanksgiving is the time to share food and fun with family and friends, some of our Thanksgiving pasts — meals, that is — have not turned out so well. After having poor, inedible turkeys due to things like me catching the oven on fire or undercooking the meat, we have what our family now calls the Thanksgiving Hex. Even when we desperately secured a restaurant to cook our turkey one year, it was botched because they accidentally left the giblets in paper inside the cavity. Good thing we also cooked a ham.

Then there was the year we got food poisoning when we decided to eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant at the beach. And the year we roasted a turkey over hickory chips only to be left with a dried up, pitiful-looking pile of what I can only describe as sawdust.

So this Thanksgiving, let me tell you that I am especially grateful for Katie’s in-laws, Doreen and Nick, who will be cooking the holiday meal for everyone at their beautiful home.

I’ll be bringing a few of my favorite dishes, but thankfully — for everyone involved — turkey is not one of them.