These are some of the things I am thankful for.

     No one, and I mean "no one" gives thanks in words like Ed Grisamore of the Macon Telegraph. For years now I have been reading his Thanksgiving columns listing several of his many blessings during the year. With so much turmoil printed in the papers, broadcast on television and posted all over the Internet these days, it is time for all us to reflect back on the year 2012, the year in which the world did not end when the Mayans said that it would. 

     So, on this Christmas Eve, I will attempt to do the same. They are just a few of some of my personal blessings, some of which we all share in common. 

     The late Charles Kuralt said, "I could tell you which writer's rhythms I am imitating. It's not exactly plagiarism, it's falling in love with good language and trying to imitate it." So, Ed, with all humility to your unparalleled way with words, here are some of the things I am thankful for during the past year. 

     I am happy that Tracy Cranford''s dog, "Bones," after all of its trials and tribulations,  made it back home where it belongs. And, for kids like Maleik Carr, who saved his 5-year-old sister from a big, bad dog. 

     I am grateful for first places and second chances. 

    We are all grateful to Dublin Fire Chief Robert Drew for putting out the fires for fifty-three years. 

     I am thankful for the cooking of Jeanelle Lamb Smith, who never cooked a bad meal. 

    I am blessed to have known, two true, first class Southern ladies, Evelyn Hogan Livingston and Barbara Hogan McLees and three fine Southern gentlemen, John Vaughn, Kline Scarborough and Marshall Lord, all of whom who left us this year. 

     I never met Parnell Ruark. My barber, Thurston Branch, swears that he was one of the best players and managers ever in the history of minor league baseball in Dublin. And, everyone knows that Thurston always tells the truth. Mr. Ruark now manages and plays on his heavenly field of dreams. 

     I never met former Dubliner, Bishop Imogene Bigham Stewart. The Lord took her home this year. She left behind a legacy of caring for the downtrodden and the poor while proudly waiving the American flag, all at the same time. You can do both. 

     I am grateful I got to write about the late Jimmy Bivins, a native of Dry Branch, Georgia. He was one of the greatest boxers you never heard of. Many old timers would tell you that if he had gotten a chance, he could have been a real contender. 

     No one had a better time than me dancing to the memorable music of the Dukes of York and the Ancestors, who played together for the first time in four decades at a spring dance at the Dublin Country Club. 

     I am grateful for real green Christmas trees. And for ruby red sunsets, puffy white clouds and clear blue skies. 

     Mayberry, North Carolina will never be the same with Andy and Goober having moved upstairs to join Barney, Aunt Bea and Floyd. I'll miss Andy Williams, Robin Gibb, Dick Clark and Don Cornelious, who gave us the music of our lives. And you too, Davy Jones. You made us all daydream believers. 

     When I look at the full moon, I will always see Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind. I'll also the remember the smiling laugh of Ernest Borgnine and the twang of the Queen of Country music, Kitty Wells, both of whom performed here in their early days. I'll even miss the bad guys, Jonathan "Barnabus Collins" Frid and Larry "J.R. Ewing" Hagman. And another bad buy, at least to the guilty in front of his camera, Mike Wallace.  No one ever conducted a hard-hitting television interview any better. 

    I am grateful for a Saturday afternoon ride around Goose Hollow farm with Roy Malone. Oh, how I wish that I could fly back in time with him aboard his P-51 fighter. 

    Let us all be grateful for the newly created jobs in town by our new European friends and the ones of our old friends at Southeast Paper which were saved. 

   I am grateful that my mother said "no" to my father becoming Judge of the Southern District of Georgia, which allowed the Hon. Dudley Bowen to be appointed instead. Thanks to Judge Bowen for leading the fight to save our Federal courthouse. 

    We are all blessed that we have ladies like Gail Yates, whose dream to feed the hungry at Christmas time still lives on. 

    Thanks Zoie Sangster, for giving away your shoes to the shoeless.  And, thanks to Dr. Marie Hooks, who retired from education this year after touching the hearts of thousands of school children. 

   And, thanks to my friend Ben Tarpley, who gave up on his dream walking the Appalachian Trail up and back to rebuild the dreams of the homeless of tornado ravaged Joplin, Missouri. 

     And, congratulations to the newly wed, Jonathan Goode, who never stops believing in the eternal power of love and the everlasting power of Jesus in our lives. 

   I am grateful for hot biscuits on a plate and cold nights by the fireplace.

   Not too many knew that Larry Morris, a Georgia Tech football icon and a member of the 1960s All Decade NFL team,  spent some of his vacation days in our community.  Larry died just before Christmas, succumbing to the ravages of the beatings he took on the gridiron. 

    Happy 200th Birthday Dublin, the land I love! And, Happy 50th Birthday to the Shamrock Bowl, the place where memories are made and dreams do come true. 

   Congratulations to Terry Evans for never giving up on his dream of playing major league baseball. And, Godspeed in his newest mission to spread the words of hope, faith and love. 

  And, congratulations to referee Sally Bell for joining a Hall of Fame filled mostly with men, who cursed the umpires and the referees for most of their careers. 

   Thanks to the Greatest Generation and heroes like Kelso Horne, who parachuted into the predawn darkness on Normandy on D-day and whose name is now and forever linked to our newest highway and one who helped pave the highway to freedom in World War II.  And, following right behind him was Jake Webb, who waded ashore at Utah Beach in the face of horrific rifle fire. He has now joined all his buddies who were left behind that day.

    I am grateful for new friends and old books and to those who can't tell them apart. 

     I am also thankful for the service of Dublin native, the late Jack Lamar Linder, one of the U.S. Air Force's first Senior Master Sergeants. And for the late Rev. Larry Wilkes, who healed bodies as a Navy corpsman and souls as an Episcopalian priest. 

    A great big cheer goes out to Jeff Davis, IV, whose passion for the honorable things of the past and his vision for a greater future is a lesson for all of us. 

  Let us all say a prayer of gratitude for the Rev. Jack Key, who at 90 years old, still manages to preach the Gospel whenever and wherever he can. And to the late Dr. Harold McManus, who taught Christianity at Mercer University for 36 years and pastored sixty years ago at Marie Baptist Church, where his earthly body now lies in the nearby church cemetery. 

    I am grateful for old veterans and new recruits, for Googling nights and days off, and for the so, so sweet smell of honeysuckle, magnolia and mimosa on late evening walks in the spring. 

    It is still most reassuring to know that there are a lot of people out there who really care about the world we live in and who will never forget the lost children of Sandy Hook.

   I am most grateful, the gifts given to me to have the ability to tell you the stories of our past for the last sixteen years. 

   And most of all, I am grateful for Kathy, Scotty, Mandi, Vicki and Lauren, our two cats and five dogs. Welcome Winston, our new foster dog. 

   For the year which follows, there is hope. There must always be hope. It begins within each of us. It begins in our hearts, in our minds, and most of all, in the way we show honor, respect and love toward each other.