Charles E. Richardson

My problem with Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the holiday

I only have one beef with Thanksgiving — and it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving. It has to do with Christmas. I saw my first Christmas commercial before Halloween. The years are flying by fast enough without our help of trying to skip a couple of months in the name of commerce.

I know this newspaper and others are supported by ads, but can we define timely? Friday’s newspaper was huge and that’s fine by me. We didn’t put it out before the trick or treaters had their go at the candy in October. No, I’m not naive, if advertisers had wanted a Christmas ad on Sept. 1, we would have sold it to them, but, I would hope our classy advertisers are smarter than that.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ve noticed a number of my friends down in the dumps. They are worried and confused. They believed folks thought better of them than they obviously do. And it is more than the political situation that has us off balance. In fact for me, politics has nothing to do with the funk I found myself in. I grieve for our law enforcement officers. We’ve lost four in such a short period of time, three in the last couple of weeks. When people start taking pot shots at deputies, they’ll take pot shots at anybody. We should all be very nervous.

My heart also aches for Westside High School. The Seminoles have lost two students this year and it’s not half over — one student to a car accident and another to a house fire. How do you explain to a grandson who believes he is invulnerable, that life is like fine crystal that can unexpectedly shatter at any time?

I went down that dark road for but a moment and it was Thanksgiving that pulled me away from the cliff. If you’re like me — and I’m sure you are — all it takes is a look around to understand why we have good reasons to be thankful. Sometimes you just have to take inventory.

My pastor, Dr. Tolan Morgan, says the top five reason to praise God are: 1. He woke us up this morning. 2. He woke us up this morning. 3. He woke us up this morning. 4. He woke us up this morning. 5. He woke us up this morning. If you’re like me — and I’m sure you are — answer this question: How many funerals have you attended this year? Yeah, that’s what I thought. And we’ve got more to attend before the year’s out.

Longtime voice of WDDO Willie Collins passed away last week. A nicer man has never walked the Earth. He followed in the footsteps of Walter Jackson, the dean of gospel announcers. Frank Dean Martin, who sold ads for the station, passed away earlier this year — and the station they both loved passed away too. It’s off the air. I can see the three of them, Walter, Willie and Frank, sitting on their clouds telling stories. Frank will be doing most of the talking. Nothing’s changed.

Frank Johnson, the mayor of Unionville, also went to his heavenly home last week. I can still hear his booming baritone singing, “Ain’t nobody goin’ to turn me around, turn me around, turn me around,” as he led marchers from Unionville to downtown each Martin Luther King Jr. March.

My inventory starts with my wife. Why she continues to put up with me is anybody’s guess. I’m not handsome or debonair (don’t tell her that), and she sees the side of me that’s unedited — and she still loves me — at least that’s what she tells me.

I’m thankful that I get to write exactly what I want to write. How cool is that? Maybe I shouldn’t let that secret out of the bag. I write what I believe and I’m grateful for that freedom, because it’s the only way I can do what I do.

I’m thankful for the Middle Georgia community. I’ve got friends all over the area. I really believe I could pull my truck into the driveway of complete strangers having a barbecue, introduce myself, and before a couple of minutes passed, I’d be sitting down chomping on some ribs telling stories about who makes the best barbecue sauce. Do you realize how special that is? I wouldn’t try that in California.

But most of all, I give thanks to all of you who pour into me. I couldn’t do what I do without your constant input — sometimes praise, sometimes criticism — but that goes with the territory and I wouldn’t have it any other way.