Ed Grisamore

Blessings are the bread of life

A few years ago, my family published a 22-page Thanksgiving cookbook. We called it, “Giving Thanks: A Collection of Pictures and Recipes.”

The photographs are a timeline of children and grandchildren, aunts and uncles, cousins and in-laws. Those recipes now have been passed down through five generations of apron strings – from cranberry sauce to pumpkin bars, green beans to macaroni and cheese.

Among the dishes worthy of the hall of fame are my grandmother’s legendary sweet potatoes and Aunt Mary’s dressing. (I actually made it last year and was quite proud of myself.)

For the past 28 years, I have published my own traditional Thanksgiving menu. I have shared my blessings, both big and small, on the pages of The Telegraph.

It is for these things I am thankful.

For neighbors who are there when you need to borrow a cup of sugar or set of jumper cables. … For folks who still use the dictionary, even though spell check and autocorrect are taking over our lives. … For recess. You’re never too old to go outside and play. …

That today I am not a butterball turkey. … For Brian Snitker and the Atlanta Braves, who made it fun to be a baseball fan again. … For every teacher who taught me, nurtured me and encouraged me. …

For the black Samsonite briefcase I have carried to offices, classrooms, conferences and through airports for more than 30 years. I bought it at the Key Catalog Showroom on Riverside Drive. It’s hard-nosed, heavy and practically indestructible, so I don’t care if people make fun of me. … For the late Billy Henderson, who asked me to write his book and whose sphere of influence was as far-reaching as any coach I’ve ever known. He taught me there are never problems, only opportunities. … For the three most adorable grandchildren in the world. (Sorry. The polls are closed.) …

That we hunkered down and made it through another fall hurricane. … For butterfly kisses, wind chimes, word puzzles, honesty, back scratches, summer adventures, sentimental journeys, the “Bubba Chair” and the power of prayer. … For the words of Danny Thomas, committed to memory, to remind us “takers” eat well and “givers” sleep well. … For heart of pine floors that talk when you walk across them. (It’s not a creak ... it’s character.) … For movies that give you goosebumps and heartfelt songs that make you cry. …

For the sign in my classroom, where I collect students’ cellphones in a basket at the beginning of every class. It reads: “Keep Calm and Put Away Your Phone. Just Pretend It’s 1995.” … For tomato sandwiches, hot wings, lemon drops, Waffle House hash browns, boiled peanuts and Ritz Crisp & Thins (highly addicting). … For McGill IV, my low-maintenance fish. …

That, for the 40th straight year, I resisted the urge to run in the Labor Day Road Race. … For the umbrella that’s not in the car when I’m in the house, and not in the house when I’m in the car. … For the ministry of evangelist Billy Graham, who died earlier this year. When I was in high school, I attended his crusade at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and watched my grandpa – the man I was named after – walk down and rededicate his life to the Lord. I will never forget it. …

For one-act plays, double checks, triple checks, barbershop quartets and Cinco de Mayo. … For bumping into old friends at the grocery store and trying to catch up on all the news before the ice cream starts to melt. … That even though I still don’t have all the answers, I enjoy the pondering. … For Ephesians 4:2. …

That I come from a long line of love – Delinda, Eddie, Grant, Jake, Summer Sterling, Danielle, Brewer, Sterling Gray, Ginny Pope, Mama Charlie and Papa Joel. … For absent friends and guardian angels.

For all your blessings, too.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Ed Grisamore teaches journalism at Stratford Academy in Macon and is the author of nine books. His column appears on Sundays in The Telegraph.

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