A List of Things I’m Thankful for

This week there’s been plenty of attention on shoppers getting carried away with bargains that went into effect on Thanksgiving Day.  Someone stabbed someone over a parking place right here in Tazewell County, Virginia about thirty minutes away from my house.  It made the news.  It also made me think about simpler times when people weren’t so wound up with things as they are now.  So in reflection I’m producing a list of things I’m thankful I had a chance to experience in my life.  Some of these things are already gone, but here’s my list, in no particular order.  I’m thankful:

  • for growing up in a time during which you could play “Cowboys and Indians” with little metal toy guns and you could play like you were dying with great emotional pathos and nobody minded.  As a descendant (partially) of Indians, and a descendant of people whose families were attacked and brutally killed by Indians, I can tell you I don’t mind a bit when folks use terms like “Redskins.”  People should get over theirselves.
  • for getting to go to Downtown Kingsport when I was a kid, when it was still a vital downtown with big stores.  I walked my legs off trying to keep up with my momma, but there were things down there and the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas shopping season was pretty neat back then before the days of the malls and shopping centers.  And the Church Circle nativity scene was so pretty before they repainted it.   I’m glad I got to experience that.
  • for growing up in a time when it was normal to go to Church every Sunday.  And Wednesday.  And sometimes Thursday.  And week-long revivals and Bible School, and singings and dinner on the grounds, and preaching that was unapologetically Biblical (King James Version), and full crowds.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty neat.
  • for growing up on a farm.  Learning about tobacco, milking a cow, taking cattle to market, fixing fence, growing a garden, putting up hay, walking the pasture, salting the cattle, getting to hold the electric fence until you felt the jolt and laughing about it, going berry picking, hog-killing time, applebutter-making, breaking beans and canning, driving tractors and shooting mistletoe out of tall trees with a shotgun.
  • for growing up during a time that school days were started with the Pledge of Allegiance, a prayer said over the loud speaker, and Mr Tildey coming around with a felt board about once a month telling us some of the most fascinating Bible Stories we’d ever heard.  And teachers who ruled the room with a paddle.
  • for the opportunity to take piano lessons.  Even though I went through spells I didn’t want to do it, I have enjoyed playing the piano, and later the organ, all my days.  And I’m glad I never had Mrs. Edwards, the teacher my sisters took lessons from.  She would hit them on the knuckles with a ruler when they hit wrong notes.  I think she had dementia.
  • for close proximity in my growing up days to grandparents and aunts and uncles.  I learned so much from them, and it was nice to have places to go that were safe and nearby.  Even though my grandfather got in trouble when I was little for coming by and picking me up for a ride to town without telling my mother.  Extended family is a blessing
  • for an excellent liberal arts education at Emory & Henry College.  This college was founded in 1836 (three years before Indian Removal) as a place of education by the Methodists of the region.  It has become a world-class college and produces great leaders and has made a productive adult out of me and many others.
  • for churches that have supported my education and training through the years.  The church where I played the organ and piano during college for some extra spending money, the church where I preached my first sermon, the churches where I was employed as an intern during seminary, and the churches I’ve pastored since 1989.
  • for books.  Having been raised by a family that had something to do with the Kingsport Press, I have enjoyed getting to know about how books are made, and reading them and mining their knowledge.  I have enjoyed studying the best book ever, the Holy Bible, and seeing places like St Jerome’s cave underneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where he translated the Vulgate (the most definitive Latin translation of the Scripture).  And I’m thankful that in these days after the Kingsport Press has shut down, been torn down, and the land redeveloped, that there has formed a center for higher education in the downtown area where books used to be made as a place to train people to use the knowledge books still hold.  It used to be said you could go to Kingsport with a tree and come out with a book.  Now you can read it.
  • for the opportunity to travel in 1995 to the Holy Land and tour some of the ancient sites where Jesus walked and where the prophets lived out their faithful witnesses.
  • for meeting and marrying the love of my life, my wife Tammie.  For having the opportunity to meet and know her family and her home church at Bandy.
  • for the love of dogs:  Flash, Rebel, Benji, Lazarus, and Kallie.
  • for qualifying for the monickers:  hillbilly . . . redneck . . . appalachian
  • for authentic boiled custard, yellow cake with caramel icing, soup beans, corn bread, and tenderloin on home-made biscuits, Mountain Dew, fresh-from-the-garden peas with new potatoes and cream (which, by the way, I haven’t had in over a decade), and strawberries (even the wild ones made up in home-made jam).
  • for rural roads and by-ways, weathered buildings and rusty farm equipment, for little white country churches and their humble steeples, and for the red and golden leaves of autumn.
  • for my great-grandmother’s saying:  “Everything, whether good or bad, comes to an end.”

About Brad Scott

An Appalachian CrossFitter who loves Jesus and is happily married to Tammie. I have a son and a fine little grandson. In the peak of middle age, trying to figure out the rest of this journey.
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