I’m thankful that it is Thanksgiving again, a time when we can pause and reflect on the good things in life — the happy times and the uplifting moments. I’m thankful for the many out there who work to make our communities, schools and neighborhoods better for all of us.

I’m thankful for the joy of travel and becoming immersed in other locales, communities and landscapes that offer environments which are illuminating, enlightening and enriching — all the while appreciating home and the good feelings that wash over you when you return.

I’m thankful for fresh cut grass in the spring, its scent leaving you refreshed and clear headed. I’m thankful, too, for red, ripe tomatoes, mayonnaise, white bread and a Coca-Cola when tomatoes are in season. It is OK if you know a food expert who recommends against such; you can remind him/her that many of the good things in life are emotionally healthy if not best for your diet. A tomato sandwich with white bread and mayonnaise is one of them.

I’m thankful for firewood in winter; pumpkins, hay bales and harvest scenes in the fall; air conditioning and crepe myrtle and the start of football in late summer; the Masters, dogwoods, azaleas and April showers in the spring.

I’m thankful for school teachers who give of themselves for our kids and turn the other cheek when their patience becomes threadbare with rude behavior; they love what they do because they love kids and love their work.

I’m thankful for little towns like Helen and Suches in North Georgia … also Comer, Bowman, Clarkesville, Homer, Braselton, Rutledge, Ringgold, Summerville and Yonah Mountain (I know, it is not a town, but certainly a place for which to be thankful).

Then there is Pavo, Meigs, Ochlocknee, Leary and Richland in the Southwest corner of our state; Mt. Vernon, Lumber City, Cobbtown, Woodbine, Race Pond, Waverly, Tarrytown and Fargo in the Southeast; I’m thankful to be an aficionado of small towns and small town people, especially those who still value the Golden Rule.

I’m thankful for the sweet smell of honeysuckle on the backyard fence near my patio where I can sit in the morning with coffee and watch a cardinal chirp and dance. He is the prettiest red bird I have ever seen. I have named him Stan Musial, for the St. Louis baseball great.

I’m thankful for nurses who work long hours and provide tender, loving care to so many. They are unsung heroes always making somebody’s day with an encouraging word.

I’m thankful for Jaemor Farms in Alto. Fresh farm foods that connect you with the soil and the salt-of-the-earth folk who enjoy digging in the dirt, bringing to your table abundant fruits and vegetables. You feel good when you walk through the aisles with so many gleaming choices and options.

I’m thankful for Little League baseball, putt-putt golf, YMCA football scrimmages, 5K races for charity and housewives who take their daily walk in my neighborhood, smiling, chatting and feeling good about themselves.

I’m thankful for the Harvest Moon, corn on the cob, sautéed trout, Muscadine wine, boiled peanuts, country music, cheese toast, Chobani yogurt, nonfiction books and superstars who don’t act like it.

I’m thankful for the memories of yesteryear: my parents and their rigid faith; the austere life on the farm that makes me appreciate the good life that followed; time spent with successful people appreciating what a tape recorder and/or a pad and pen can do to enrich your life — simply learning by asking questions and taking notes.

I’m thankful for time spent in a duck blind in early morning in Louisiana; stalking a cock pheasant in a South Dakota grain field; following a bird dog on a point on a South Georgia quail plantation; catching a redfish off the coast of Georgia, a bone fish at Islamorada, a rainbow trout on the Chattahoochee and a brown trout on the Yampa River in Colorado.

I’m most thankful for family and friends, the No. 1 Bulldogs, good books, and soft music. Happy Thanksgiving!

Loran Smith of Athens, the long-time sideline radio voice of the Georgia Bulldogs, writes a regular feature column.

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