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What Are You Thankful For?

With hands folded in prayer, with mind clear of worry, and with heart beating in calm assurance—in this month of thanksgiving—I use this page of my life to give thanks.

First, I give thanks for the miracle of life, knowing that in this slender window of time—without fancy and expensive shutters, streaked by many rains and flakes of snow—I have an opportunity to give back all that I’ve received.

Then, I’m beholden to my soul mate, my wife Lalie, for her loyalty and her wisdom. I do not know how such a blueprint for joy could have been designed more wonderfully. I just don’t doubt God’s master plan.

I give thanks for my children and grandchildren, and I want each one to know how proud I am to have been a part of their miraculous creation. I have a strong belief in generational flow and forward movement.

Before this sounds too much like a last will and testament, I want to speak to your miracles of Thanksgivings past—you know, the ones when the family gathered to feast on turkey and dressing, fried chicken, old ham and beaten biscuits, tomato aspic, cornbread, corn pudding, and shoo-fly pie.

“How about this baby boy and baby girl growing up so fast?”

“To tell you the truth, seems like only yesterday that we came home from the hospital.”

“Hospital, my foot! In my time we had ’em at home, first squall to goin’ off time!”

“Go on yourself, Grandma, didn’t you take a vacation and have to be brought home in a stretch limousine?”

“Pshaw!”

I am grateful for the laughter of long-ago voices because without it we’d be living in a desolate dust storm. After laughter might come a smile where there hadn’t been one before.

Yes, there are those imprisoned, impoverished, or disenfranchised people who’ve suffered lonely Thanksgiving days. Every prayer should include hope and help for those who have little or nothing.

A list of other precious things deserving a handwritten note of appreciation: fresh air to breathe, clouds filled with rain, pure water to drink, sunshine, and leather-bound books to read.

And teachers.

Surely it’s time to revisit a teacher in a nursing home, especially those who should’ve cracked our knuckles, but didn’t.

Doctors.

Remember the ones who made house calls? And those who didn’t bungle the surgery? Those assistants who emptied the bedpans, and those who wheeled you out to the waiting car?

Preachers.

Remember those who were always there when they were needed most? Those who knew when to stop preaching and simply hold your hand?

Even politicians. Especially those who are honestly dedicated to the public’s need. There are many deserving of our votes this election month.

Imagine the power we hold in our fingertips when we enter the voting booth this November and touch the names of those to whom we’ve decided to grant our favor and legitimate expectation.

November 11 is Veterans’ Day in the United States. Dare I not disremember those who’ve given their lives that I might live in freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment.

November is the special month set aside for giving many kinds of thanks, but every month should be a time for gratitude. Saying “thank you” has too often gone the way of saying “excuse me” and “I’m sorry for the hurt I may have caused.”

I want to say “Thank you” to the leadership of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, who’ve given me the opportunity to reach out to you for the past 15 years on this back page of Kentucky Living. And I also want to thank KAEC for naming me this year’s “Distinguished Rural Kentuckian.”

May I say, all of the readers of this column are equally distinguished. Without each one of you, there’d be no reason for the power sent down the lines to the places where you live and work.

Thank you!

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