There was a time when I was much younger that I thought just about all the good things that could possibly happen to me had already happened, and I probably wouldn't find new things to be thankful for.
To my amazement and delight the blessings, in fact, did not run out, but multiplied. So on this Thanksgiving Day I'd like to share with you some of the things I'm thankful for this year:
Freedom, and the men and women who put their lives on the line so we can enjoy it.
The love of a good woman, and I've got the best.
Visionaries who can look at a problem and not see a problem, but see an opportunity to make their community better.
Randy Travis, Norah Jones, Johnny Cash, Warren Zevon, Russell Brown, Delbert McClinton, Bobby Bare, the Beatles and Johnny Mathis.
That the Chicago Cubs did not win the National League pennant and the Yankees didn't win the World Series.
Old friends who still keep in touch even though they are hundreds or thousands of miles away. Sometimes just the memory of past glories or high jinks is enough to keep the heart warm on the coldest of nights.
Families who sustain us through the ups and downs of everyday life. When we're down they lift us up, and when we're up they push us ever higher.
A loving and caring God who offers us his grace no matter how disgracefully we act.
People with a sense of humor, people who can make us laugh even when we don't want to.
Canada, for sending us interesting people like Mike Weir, Wayne Gretzky, Peter Jennings, John Candy, Raymond Burr, William Shatner, Keanu Reeves, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, all those Lynx players and David Hunter, my pastor.
Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, petite sirah, pinot noir, zinfandel, sangiovese, mourvedre, grenache, cabernet franc and malbec. They're good for your heart.
Ed McIntyre, for his annual unity fish fry and all the other things he does to try to bring black and white Augustans together.
People who read, whether it's newspapers, books, magazines or cereal boxes. But I'm especially thankful for people who read newspapers.
Thurmond Lake, especially on a cool, crisp evening when the sun is going down.
Teachers, who do so much to mold our children into responsible, knowledgeable adults, even when those children and sometimes the parents don't appreciate what they're learning.
Bread and pasta, no matter what the Atkins diet says.
Softball. Just when I think it's time to hang up the spikes before I embarrass myself even more I get an occasional hit or even catch a ground ball and I think I can hang on for one more year. A softball team is a beautiful thing.
People with a sense of humor who can laugh at themselves.
Michael, who does more to warm my heart than anyone. At 11 he continues to amaze and delight me more than I thought was possible. Just as I'm about to get mad at him for forgetting to do something, he'll pop in to show me the latest lizard he's caught. If only we all could see the world through the wondering eyes of an 11-year-old. If only I had half the energy of an 11-year-old.
Snow, especially when I can just visit it and not live in it.
Kathleen and all the wonderful cooks at our church who sustain our bodies while we get nourishment for our souls.
Big, fat, dark, smelly cigars, one of the real forbidden pleasures in our health-conscious society.
Bela Fleck. Bela Lugosi. Bela Bartok. Boris Karloff. Elsa Lanchester.
Broken-in blue jeans.
People who hold public office. Even though we may violently disagree with something they've done, we should admire them for giving up their time, energy and even sanity to try to perform a public service. But I'm especially thankful for the ones who think like me.
Heaping mounds of hot, juicy turkey that we will eat with abandon at our house today. And what I think of as the traditional side dishes: dumplings, sauerkraut and stuffing.
When you gather around your turkey or fried chicken or barbecue with the mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and cranberry relish, I hope you'll take time to remember all your blessings. If you're like me you've got a lot more to be thankful for than you realize.