I’ve written numerous Thanksgiving articles over my 22 years of penning this weekly column and I find that they have begun to sound alike. Me stating what I am thankful for every year just seems to get to be an aimless search for things to just fill out the column.
Don’t get me wrong! I am very thankful for so many things and so many people in my life that I could never list them in this small space. Have you ever tried to sit down and list all of the things that you are thankful for? It is a tough thing to do. You are sure to leave out something that is very important and sure to list something that sounds silly. I know. I’ve done both.
I’m an American male who turned 68 years old on November 11. I have always lived in a small southern town in the greatest country in the world. I have been taught small-town, Christian values by two parents who worked very hard every day to provide for me what I needed to get an education and grow into a well-rounded citizen. They supported me and believed in me. They were my first great gift!
I attended an outstanding elementary school and one of the best high schools in the State of Georgia. My teachers were excellent and always devoted to making me a better disciplined and smarter person. I was always encouraged to follow my dreams and to do my best.
I have attended two churches since the age of five and love both of them dearly. The lessons that I was taught by teachers and pastors as well as other scripture-practicing members has shaped my life.
I was given just enough athletic ability to be able to earn college scholarships and turn those into college degrees. I wasn’t talented enough to become a professional athlete, but I did use my athletic ability to help shape my post-college direction.
I married the girl that I know God placed here for me. There was never any doubt! She was beautiful, intelligent, loving, and personable. After 44 years, she still is!
Karen and I were blessed with two beautiful daughters who have made us very proud. The years that we shared together as they grew up were magical. They have now evolved into wonderful wives and mothers. I could never ask for more.
Our two sons-in-laws are excellent men whom we are proud of. Our family is blessed to have added such trustworthy and honorable men.
We now have four super grandchildren who make us proud every day. They are just great kids who have been raised right!
I had a wonderful career as a teacher-coach-administrator in our local school systems. I have met thousands of great teachers, students, and parents and have been able to last long enough to make all of them friends.
I have been able to share so abundantly and learn so much with teammates, friends, co-workers, pals, and even opponents. I have been trusted by so many to carry out jobs and to be responsible for so many in the areas of leadership in administration and coaching. If you have been a part of my life, in any way, I thank you for your contribution.
Lastly, I have been given the opportunity to enjoy many years of retirement with Karen and look forward to many more.
So this Thanksgiving column was a bit different from my others. Isn’t it obvious that I have a great deal to be thankful for? Yes, I’m Thankful. Thankful for all of the family, friends, and opportunities in my life.
Thank God for what he has given to me!
Jim Fowler is a sports columnist and retired teacher and coach who worked in the local school system for many years. He is a founding board member of the Thomaston-Upson Sports Hall of Fame and is also the statistician for the Upson Lee football team, and has written a book about the history of football at R. E. Lee High School.