Once again it is Thanksgiving Day and each year the list of blessings that I am obligated to count - no, "obligated" is not the right word - the list I am fortunate enough to be able to count seems to grow exponentially; so I'll get right to it.
I am thankful that Furman Bisher, whose format I unabashedly copy each day on this year, is still alive and kicking and writing columns about sports - and life. Ditto that for Larry Munson and Dan Magill. We won't have these three treasures forever, and we all need to appreciate them while we still can.
I am thankful for that first swallow of coffee each morning - and for the last drop, too - even when it's not Maxwell House. And I am thankful for the first vine-ripened tomato in the summer and the last mess of fresh collards in the winter. I am thankful for cornbread and sweet iced tea the year round.
I am not overly thankful for broccoli or spaghetti. I eat them both when served but am not overly thankful for either, if the truth be known.
I am thankful for those all too rare occasions when all three of my children have their feet under my supper table at the same time and the even rarer occasion when they are all asleep in their own beds upstairs.
I am thankful for Scott Foster and State Farm Insurance. Otherwise we wouldn't have an upstairs for them to be asleep in after this summer's calamity.
I'm thankful for Salem Campground and the wonderful preachers who have come there to spread the Gospel; men like Marshall Edwards and Jonathan Holston and Gil Watson, and men like John Bynum. And I am thankful that the salvation they preach is a free gift because I could never earn it in a million years.
I am thankful for the phone call or e-mail inviting me to speak at a church or function I've never visited, because I don't have to worry about telling the same stories I've told before. I am also thankful for the phone call or e-mail inviting me to speak where I have spoken before because that means they liked me enough to invite me back.
And I am thankful for Bill Rogers because he still laughs at the same stories he has heard me tell a half-dozen times a year at the various events he attends.
In fact, I am thankful for Bill Rogers in general because they just don't make many men as fine as him anymore.
I am thankful for Gregory House and Denny Crane. I know they are fictional characters, but I am still thankful for them because they make me laugh every Tuesday night and most weeks I really need a laugh by the time Tuesday night rolls around.
I am thankful for my lovely wife Lisa, who 25 years ago said she would take me for better or worse, and wasn't kidding.
I am thankful for the men and women of our Armed Forces who, even today, while the rest of us stuff our faces and watch football games on TV and plan tomorrow's shopping expeditions are scattered all around the globe, protecting our freedom and making it possible for us to stuff our faces and watch football games on TV and plan tomorrow's shopping expeditions.
And I am thankful for people like Jeff Wigington and Sidney Nation; for David Irwin and Nancy Bills and Richard Read who try their best, every day, to keep the bad guys at bay and keep our community as safe as possible.
I am thankful for in-laws, Benny and Bitzi Potts, because they have been the only parents I've had for nearly 10 years now and I don't know how I would get along without them.
And I am thankful that I am not anybody's father-in-law yet.
I am thankful for indoor plumbing. That's something nobody says often enough. I am thankful when water falls out of the sky, although it hasn't done it nearly enough as of late. And I am thankful for the sun, even when it isn't shining because no matter how dark the day, I know the sun will return - because it always has.
I am thankful to have been born an American. Look around and count the blessings all of us have received simply by virtue of being born here and you will understand why so many are willing to risk so much to join us - by any means necessary.
And although I understand that, I am still thankful when I make a business call and don't have to press one for English. I am especially happy when the person on the other end of the line has a Southern drawl, like mine, because I know then that we will be able to work out any differences that might arise.
And lastly, I am thankful that Alice Queen has given me the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings and hopes and prayers and dreams with all of you over the past decade. Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you all.
Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.