Roy Exum: Why I’m Thankful 2021

Thursday, November 25, 2021 - by Roy Exum
When I was in my early 20s and was writing columns for the Chattanooga News-Free Press, I began a non-sports column of ‘Why I am Thankful’ every Thanksgiving and have embraced that tradition for, lo, some 50 years. The self-imposed rules are that each wish must be sincere, that snide negatives are not allowed, and nothing of a political tone. It seems I can’t recall as much as I used to on a given afternoon, but I still relish the attempt. From all of us at Chattanoogan.com., may you be surrounded with the warmth of today and, if you thank God for just one thing, it is said you can offer no stronger prayer.
 
Here are the things I relish today …
 
I AM THANKFUL that in the Bible Book of Psalms we read, “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(118:24)
 
I AM THANKFUL that I grew up in an era when the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves, and the Washington Redskins were a tribute to Native Americans rather than an insult.
 
I AM THANKFUL for “Jokester Joe,” who shares the funniest joke imaginable with me every week, and for Larry Cloud’s emails that are brilliant.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the newly married girl who, one Thanksgiving Eve, called her mother in tears because she discovered her frozen turkey just had two legs. True story.
 
I AM THANKFUL for Rick Bragg’s sensational new book, “The Speckled Beauty.”
 
I AM THANKFUL for the Thanksgiving table belief: “Man, we may not have it all together, but together, we have it all.”
 
I AM THANKFUL for every time a golfer cards a birdie at Augusta National.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the number of first-time customers at the new South Broad Publix who are stunned at the hospitality that’s being shown. The parking lot is full every time I drive by.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the lives of ‘Scrappy’ Moore Jr., Mike Austin, Frank Kinser, and ‘Big Bob’ Caldwell.
 
I AM THANKFUL the infrastructure boost has renewed hopes for a Soddy-to-Harrison bridge over the Tennessee River. What a Godsend that would be for our northern county.
 
I AM THANKFUL for that ‘pop’ whenever you take a hardy bite out of a red delicious apple.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the 20 years of service Jim Hammond has given Hamilton County as our noble sheriff and that he has groomed Austin Garrett as his most-able successor.
 
I AM THANKFUL Tyner is getting a new high school building but, please, let it be as pretty as the new Publix store on South Broad Street.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the years of compassion my anesthesiologist Chris Young has given to thousands at Erlanger Hospital. The man is a treasure and, trust me, I’ve got first-person proof.
 
I AM THANKFUL for Cleophas Williams, my faithful sidekick who gets my one-legged self to where I need to be, and who is an infallible confidante and a valued friend. Plus, he’s the funniest guy you’ve ever been around.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the belief that in the Bible the message of “Do Not Fear” appears in some fashion 365 times. Did you know that? Once for every day of the year!
 
I AM THANKFUL for County Attorney Rheubin Taylor; I don’t really know why but, from afar, I admire and trust his wisdom completely. What a prize.
 
I AM THANKFUL for Red Bank High’s scrappy football team.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the commitment the State of Tennessee is about to make at the Moccasin Bend Mental Hospital because I believe mental struggles have never been greater in our society. God knows we must rise to the challenge.
 
I AM THANKFUL for my sister Ellen. She’s the most magnificent person I know.
 
I AM THANKFUL for 2nd Corinthians 9:15 which cuts to the chase: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
 
I AM THANKFUL that yesterday, this moments after I heard an elderly man had passed away, I was informed a delightful healthy baby had been born at almost the exact same time.
 
I AM THANKFUL for “Abraham,” a 13-year-old boy in Mississippi who was granted a ‘Make A Wish’ gift because he was terminally ill. But … hold on! … he miraculously got better so he used the gift to create “Abraham’s Table,” where the homeless will be provided a free meal in each of the next 12 months. Businesses, restaurants have now joined in, and, by golly, it is suddenly quite a big deal.
 
I AM THANKFUL for M.J. ‘Sunny’ Eberhart who – at age 83 – just became the oldest person to hike the Appalachian Trail.
 
I AM THANKFUL The Wall Street Journal just told 50,000 petitioners that they fully intended to publish Thanksgiving articles and that “we don’t bend to censoring.”
 
I AM THANKFUL for “tomorrow.” No matter how bad something may seem, give it 24 hours and, like as not, the sun will come out. And remember this: tomorrow is just one day away. Hang in there …
 
I AM THANKFUL for families who hold hands during the Thanksgiving prayer.
 
I AM THANKFUL Greg Vital is our newest state legislator … trust me, good things will come.
 
I AM THANKFUL for the line: “It’s only when you live the prayer of thanksgiving that you live the power of trusting God.”
 
And finally … my favorite line for decades…
 
I AM THANKFUL the Pilgrims bagged a turkey before they spied a ‘possum.’
 

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