I have had a few days to realize that the world did not end last weekend with the gridiron losses in Tuscaloosa and in New Orleans. Tech fans are still beaming over last weekend’s victory over North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets haven’t scored that many points since they set the all-time college football scoring record beating Cumberland College 222 to zip in 1916. The Georgia Bulldogs are going to the SEC Championship game in Atlanta, and all is well in our beloved state.
In a few days we will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving. This year, it falls on Nov. 22 – a day many of us will never forget. I think the JFK assignation was the beginning of the violence this country has suffered for almost a half century. Just an opinion, I could be wrong. Forty nine years ago doesn’t seem that long ago.
Thanksgiving is football, fellowship, food and family. There are a number of things I am thankful for. I am grateful for cold crisp mornings and bright sunshine in the afternoon. I would like to thank whoever invented seat warmers in cars. It is a good thing that we have our own newspaper and radio station and that there is something called a free press. I am thankful for an ability to disagree politically with friends and still remain friends.
I am so glad that I lay my head down every night in the town I grew up in. I promise you dear readers I rest here easier than any place I know of. I think it is marvelous that I live a 5 minute walk from the Piggly Wiggly and that they are open when I need stuff. I am grateful for the sound of the chimes at the First United Methodist Church on Sunday morning and the smell of leaves burning on an autumn afternoon.
Thanksgiving means food, and I am thankful for the chicken fingers at Burger Chick, the ribs from Owens, the enchiladas from Los Pinos, pizza and calzones from Papous, the catfish from Backwoods, the salmon and hoop cheese biscuits at Ridley’s Get and Go, and a BLT from Waffle House. I love the smell of soup or chili simmering on the stove. I am thankful for Crock Pots. I’ve learned it is hard to burn something in them.
I am grateful for the time I spend with my children. Hearing “you’re the best dad in the world,” is something I never tire of. My boys, David and McCoie, and daughters, Presley and Callie, taught me that there is such a thing as unconditional love. Aren’t we all thankful for our families? My first cousins Jim, Diane, Tommy and Beth, all live in Georgia. Beth lives at 409 Bowdon St., and that is handy for me when I run out of sugar, salt or flour.
Are you thankful for old friends? I am. Lifetime friends like Fay, Kay, Gail, Denver, Scott, Sam, Trisha, Melissa, Joe and others have blessed my life. I miss some old friends every day, like Jess Newman, Lee Roy Brooks, Gary Gray and Pauline Rambo. Mrs. Rambo taught me the principle of life-long learning.
I have gratitude to all of my teachers and professors for giving me an even field to play on by helping me to learn. I owe a debt of gratitude to Bud Jones, who taught Sunday School and taught us about Jesus and how He commanded us to “love ye one another.” I am thankful for the Tallapoosa Service Council and Ronnie Brooks’ leadership. I am grateful that I met Coach Paul Bryant and can claim Georgia Bulldog legend Coach Vince Dooley as a friend of the past few years, working with him in the same office at Kennesaw State. He is a remarkable fellow.
I thank the Lord about every day for the opportunities I had, and most of those began on the streets here in our town. I am so happy we live in a place where we are neighbors and friends and treat each other that way. I’m thankful for wonderful neighbors like Frank and Melissa who got an English bulldog a couple of weeks ago. They named him Hershel. I am thankful that when the key opens the door, Bama the cat gives me a hearty “meow” to welcome me home.
I am grateful for things like the sound of freight trains rolling through town about 10:30 at night to remind me that the 5 a.m. alarm is going to go off regardless if I’m ready for it to or not. I am thankful for a love and the magic of music. I am blessed to have played drums behind Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie, Travis Tritt, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steve Cropper. Thank you Sue Muse for your love of country music that rubbed off on me and I got to get paid for playing it on the radio for 36 years.
I am thankful for a teaching career that began in 2008 at Kennesaw State. I am grateful for meeting boyhood heros like Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Johnny Unitas, Bart Starr, and Roy Rogers. I am glad we’ve been able to enjoy the Andy Griffith Show since 1960. The show is still in syndication and Mayberry reminds a lot of us of our town.
Are you thankful for a mayor and city leaders who have a passion for our wonderful municipality? You certainly should. Not many cities that I know of have a mayor like we do who is on the streets at dawn making sure all is well. I am grateful for the police and fire departments and all of the first responders that serve us with untiring dedication. Include the folks that work at city hall who always are willing to help.
I am grateful for understanding “love ye one another,” and trying to live it. I am very thankful to all of you telling how you enjoy our columns in the Tallapoosa Journal. I am grateful to all of you. I am blessed. My cup overfloweth.
Rhubarb Jones is a Tallapoosa native and a Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Director of Special Projects in the Office of Development at Kennesaw State University. Comments and suggestions are welcome at P.O. Box 6, Tallapoosa, GA 30176 or via e-mail at email@example.com.