Sharon Anderson is unusually grateful for Thanksgiving.
She was thankful on Thanksgiving Day 1973 when her boyfriend, Jet, proposed to her at her parents’ home. She’s especially thankful that she spied the engagement ring in her coffee cup before she choked on it.
She’s more thankful yet for what happened six years later, when her husband was hoping her contractions were just a false alarm. He didn’t want to miss his mama’s amazing Thanksgiving dinner, but he did. Instead, the couple were at Coliseum Medical Centers greeting the arrival of their first son, John. The name means “gift from God.” Anderson was still under too much anesthesia to protest the middle name, so she’s grateful for her little John Wayne. She’s also grateful for Dr. Carl Schuessler, who gave up his own Thanksgiving meal to deliver John.
Some 15 years later, Anderson worried about John’s mild fever, stiff neck and sore throat. She’s thankful for the late John Paul Jones, the Macon pediatrician who realized that the minor flu symptoms were actually a life-threatening case of meningococcal meningitis.
The disease can be fatal or cause serious injury if not treated quickly. Anderson remains grateful to The Medical Center of Central Georgia physician Lowell Clark and other pediatric intensive care workers, who for two days didn’t know if they could save John.
Anderson said she likes other things about Thanksgiving, especially the orange and red colors that surround the holiday. She’s grateful that Jet proposed to her on Thanksgiving, and that they have three sons, John, Bill and David. She’s thankful that John arrived safe and sound, and that the doctors and nurses helped him through a tough time.
John works for a Columbus insurance company now. He’s healthy and married to his love, Jennifer, who is bearing their son. They’ll be at Sharon’s home in Macon today, celebrating Thanksgiving — and John’s 30th birthday. Fittingly enough, 30 guests are expected.
Thanksgiving also gives her a chance to reflect. One short hymn from her church, sung as the doxology in many churches, is also something of a motto: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
Sharon has just one tiny regret: that her wedding date was in June after their Thanksgiving engagement.
“I just adore Thanksgiving because, you know, it started 36 years ago when my husband put an engagement ring in my coffee cup at Thanksgiving dinner. This has all started since that day 36 years ago,” she said. She paused. “I wish I’d gotten married on Thanksgiving. It would have been very appropriate.”
* * *
Other readers wrote in to tell us why they’re grateful this Thanksgiving Day. Here’s a sample, some of them excerpts, of what they said. (More contributions are available on macon.com.)
I am thankful for life. I was in a tornado, had two stents put in, had brain surgery twice this year. I lost my job but I am so thankful for family. My family has been so good to me. Without them I don’t know how I would have made it. I love all of them so much — my man friend, sisters, brothers, cousin, children, grandchildren — all of them. And I thank God for all that he has brought me through. The storm has been rough, but I can say I made it.Lisa Rushin
I am very thankful when my mama, Delores Anderson, has an occasional day with less pain from her horrible arthritis. But I’m most thankful for the wonderful man she married 17 years ago, Alfred Anderson. A survivor of colon and lung cancer, he’s not only an angel but a miracle. He takes wonderful, loving care of “his honey” with a sweet smile, able hands and something delicious cooking in the kitchen every day. On this Thanksgiving and every day, I thank God for Alfred and mama and the stars in their eyes.Teresa HawkPerry
I’m thankful for fluffy towels warm from the dryer, peeks of blue sky and sunshine on a dreary day, and Google. For laps to hold babies, afternoon tea and fly swatters. I’m thankful for hot cornbread with fresh butter, catnaps in my rocker and friends who call just to chat. I’m thankful my wrinkles are mostly smile lines. For happy weddings, forgiving traffic cops and packages in the mail. That my husband loves me even on bad hair days. I’m thankful for catch-up days, lazy days, busy days and all the days that have led me to now. I’m thankful for life.Dawne BryanCochran
I’m thankful for my family, my friends, for the love of a beautiful young lady whom I’m proud to call my best friend, and for the wisdom and grace the good Lord has granted me through his guidance and teachings.Taylor R. MoultonMacon
I’m most and eternally grateful for the gift of life. On Aug. 16, I was taken to The Medical Center of Central Georgia in an ambulance, not knowing how sick I was or what was really wrong with me. I was in a coma for 16 days, and by all the reports given to me after waking up, it didn’t look like I would make it. But God’s grace and mercy brought me out. I received excellent care and compassion from doctors and other hospital staff, including physical and occupational therapy. But most importantly, I thank God for my darling husband, who never left my side. He has been my rock. I know that I have been divinely blessed and favored by God.Mary G. JonesMacon
I am not in the best of health these days, and my greatest blessing is my husband, Juddy Hallman. Without his constant love and support, my life would be much more difficult.Evelyn HallmanMacon
I’m thankful for Jesus Christ’s gift of eternal life, family and friends, and living in a country with so many freedoms, protected by the sacrifices of veterans. I’m grateful for the simple things — a warm throw on cold feet, a neighbor’s gift of homegrown tomatoes, a good cup of coffee, a dog’s devotion, a mountain view and riding the back roads on a three-wheel motorcycle. The best things in life are free: time with grandkids, enjoying a library book, sharing a laugh, watching the sun rise and set, hearing birds sing, a favorite song on the radio, the smile of a child with missing front teeth, being inspired by heroes and ordinary people.Debbie KitchensPerry
I don’t know if I can find the appropriate words to express how I feel about my family. I love each and every one of them very much, unconditionally, no matter where they are on their life’s journey. I believe that without the family structure and support system, we are incomplete in some important way. I wake up every morning and say thank you to God for my home, bed, food, good health and family. These are the basics. I would hope that every person would at least have these simple things, but many don’t. I try not to take them for granted.Cheryl HendrixMacon
I have so much to be thankful for, even though I lost my wonderful husband July 3. I’m so thankful for having him for 67 years. I’m thankful for still being in good health and being able to take care of myself at 85 years old. I’m thankful for my five loving children. I have three of them living here close by on my farm. They check on me night and day. I’m thankful for my county and the state of Georgia. I’m thankful for the good life I have.Vauneta SmithMcRae
I am thankful for family, faith and friends. I am thankful for my faith in God. This year my husband had his fourth open-heart surgery. God’s grace and love surrounded and sustained us. I am thankful for my precious family. We have grown stronger in our love for one another because of our 30-year battle with heart disease. ... We learned early on the important things in life. I am thankful for my friends who have uplifted us with their prayers and provided encouragement by their physical presence when we needed it most. So in this Thanksgiving our family is overflowing with gratitude that our husband/father will grace another Thanksgiving meal.Carol Willingham
Two years ago I was in a fiery truck crash after a head-on collision. Trapped in the truck with both legs crushed, I couldn’t get out. Suddenly, from nowhere, two guardian angels pulled me from the wreckage just moments before the truck exploded. I am truly grateful for Kim Carver of Milledgeville and Jeff Fredricks of Fort Valley for saving my life. May God bless them, and may they have the best Thanksgiving and Christmas ever.Bruce KeenLizella
I am most thankful that I live in the United States of America. Thankful that we can still call it “a nation under God.” Thankful for our armed forces, in the past and present, willing to fight for this country. Thankful we can vote, pray and have free speech. Thankful for all the needs in my life being met and most of the wants. Thankful for family and friends. Thankful for a loving wife and successful business. Thankful for the little things we all take for granted, like clean water, clean air, sunshine and rain.Paul WilliamsMacon
On any given day I am thankful for the obvious: good health, a loving family, my six-pack of grandchildren, terrific friends, a part-time job — and the list goes on and on. But today I am thankful that I was able to walk to my mailbox, get The Telegraph, bring it in the house and read it with understanding. Additionally, I am thankful for the newsprint on my fingers (which somehow winds up on my nose), and I fervently hope that the newspaper, as I have known it for 70 years, never goes away. Keep the presses rolling!Jane WinstonCenterville
I am the most thankful for my parents, Carl and Margie McDaniel. They taught me the difference between right and wrong and how to be responsible. I was also taught the value of working for what I want and to never expect or want anyone else to take care of me. My parents made sure I learned that anything worth doing was worth doing right. I also learned my love of God and my country from them. There was always love in our house, and I feel very fortunate to have them as my parents. I love you, Mom and Dad.Chuck McDanielMacon
I am so very grateful and thankful that when my mom passed away in September, she transitioned very peacefully and gracefully. She had been sick for so long. I am also thankful that my two grandsons are not in any gangs and they have two wonderful parents who stand behind them. Last of all, I am thankful that I am still able to get around on my own despite my multiple sclerosis. But because of my faith in God and my determination, I get around pretty good.Cynthia ThompsonMilledgeville
I’m reflecting on my thanks as I ready for my retirement at the end of the year. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to serve my country, with 22 years in the military and 21 years in civil service. I’m thankful for my freedom, for it came at a high cost. I’m thankful for my family, especially my wife, Sherrill, who has supported me all these years. I’m thankful for my good health. I’m thankful to be living in a country where you aren’t judged by the color of your skin or your religious beliefs. I’m thankful for life and the beauty it has for all of us to see. And, finally, I’m thankful to our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, for what he teaches us.H.E. “Skip” Roberts Jr.Warner Robins
I am thankful for all creation; my life and the lives of others; the food we eat; the water we drink and the air we breathe; for the United States; for the holy family and all the biblical figures and writers of Scripture; the Holy Spirit, and our Lord and savior Jesus Christ; my job; paid vacations; my material positions small and large; my pet; my wife; my parents and siblings; my wonderful church and all those whom I have met there; and my friends and neighbors. Finally, I am thankful things are not any worse than they are.Len CorriereMacon
I am thankful for life, health and strength, and for my family that the Lord has blessed me with. Most of all, I am thankful that I was not injured in the accident that I was involved in, which left me a little shaken but nothing broken. I thank God I am alive. With this economy, I am thankful to still have a job and able to help provide for my family, especially during this holiday season. This year is coming to a close. I am grateful that I wake up seeing another day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad.Audrey Tripp-Sebastian
I am very thankful for my family and talent. The reason I am thankful for my family is because they are always so caring and help me with my problems. I am very thankful for my talent in swimming because many people forget about swimming and just move on to other sports and they are missing out on the wonderful sport of swimming. I am so thankful for my life!Abigail Roslyn SmithMacon
It sounds so cliché for me to say I’m thankful for my husband, Frank. But in these tough economic times, he has really turned on his charm for me. He sometimes “overworks” himself to allow me to stay at home and raise our children. I always say I should be working to help out, but he insists that he can do it, and he’s always right. I am so thankful for an “old-fashioned” husband who believes that I should raise our children and not someone else. Honey, if you are reading this, I love you more than words can say, and I am so thankful for all that you have done and continue to do for our family each and every day!Sandy PhillipsLizella
I am thankful for each and every day. I try to live each day to the fullest because I am not promised tomorrow. I am also thankful for my Lord, Jesus Christ; my children; grandchildren; other family; and two very special friends.D. Lynn DinglerLizella
I am thankful for my family and friends; the incredible volunteers in Houston County who are making a commitment to fight cancer and participate in the Relay for Life; those on the Houston County committee, American Cancer Society representative Heather Gilbert, and all who have joined a team to help raise the vitally needed funds for research, prevention, services and education; our armed forces members and all the veterans who have made sacrifices for the freedoms we all enjoy; and for the law enforcement and fire department personnel who help to ensure our daily safety.Thaina L. Brown-BrakeWarner Robins
I’m thankful for the Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave his life so that I may live. I’m thankful for my church and blood family. I thank the Lord for sustaining me through these tough economic times. I’m thankful for life, health, strength and a good, open mind. I’m thankful to the Lord for protecting me from all evil and harm. I’m thankful for macon.com for enabling me to read the news every day. Laverne JohnsonMacon
There’s not enough space to list everything I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for the privilege to live in a country where I can worship God, the creator of heaven and earth. I’m thankful to have a Christian mother who has been through so much — losing her oldest son Nov. 4, 2008 — but never losing her faith in God. I’m thankful for my health, home, family, my church family with Garden Hill Baptist in Forsyth, and countless friends. I’m thankful I can write to my local paper, expressing an opinion without being censored as people in other countries are on a daily basis. I’m so thankful for our men and women in uniform who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom. May we as citizens of a great nation, the United States of America, never forget the freedoms we do have.Bruce HeltonForsyth
As a small business owner based in central Georgia since 1998, I have many things to be thankful for. My wife, Amy, has brought new talents and skills to our company in recent months. My brother Ryan and Monte Joiner provide the best service available and place our customers only second to their families. And lastly, as a small business, I’m thankful for those people and companies that have chosen to spend their hard-earned dollars with us when the need arises.Troy B. TarpleyMacon
I am thankful to God for my many blessings. I am thankful for my husband, Mike, and our 2-year-old daughter, Gracie. I’m thankful for my sweet, loving mama and the fun we share. I’m thankful for my daddy and the assurance that we’ll be together again one day in heaven. I’m thankful for my brother and sister and their families, Meme and Grand, aunts, uncles, cousins, the Wilkes family and my friends. I am thankful for our health. I’m thankful for Gracie’s wonderful sitter, Lynn, and her family. I’m thankful for my job and my Perdue Primary family.Heather B. WilkesBonaire
I am very thankful for my parents. I am thankful for food and drink, for my family, for having a place to go on Thanksgiving. I am thankful for this Thanksgiving break from school. I am thankful for my friends, who let me come over; for my mom, who lets my friends come over; and for my room. I am thankful for everything I own and for having a house to own. I am thankful for Thanksgiving.Lola Marie Carr