This week, I am celebrating the 49th anniversary of the first time I wore a paper pilgrim hat and paper buckles on my shoes. I am pretty sure that was the same year I traced my hand to make a turkey.
This year, I am foregoing the paper hat and buckles, but I am thankful for Mrs. McDonald, who was my teacher in 4-year-old kindergarten at Beecher Hills Baptist Church. She was a sweet lady and I have thought of her often over the years.
As the song says, when you count blessings and name them one by one, you’ll probably be quite surprised.
If there were ledger sheets showing the ratio of blessings received and blessings given, the scales would be tipped in favor of received.
Teachers who taught me songs about turkeys, pumpkins, reindeer and bus wheels blessed me. I don’t know why, but nearly a half-century later, I know all the verses to “The Wheels on the Bus go ‘round and ‘round.” I love to sing it to little children, who look at me like I came in on a bus from another planet.
Teachers who taught me about Jesus in Sunday school blessed me.
Tom Baccus was a short man with a gravely voice. He had a head of salt-and-pepper hair combed in place with hair tonic. He was my Sunday school teacher in fourth grade. There was nothing spectacular about his teaching, but he taught a group of boys sitting in wooden chairs about a Savior who loved us. Tom Baccus blessed me.
A mama who didn’t know the meaning of “give up” blessed me. She was determined I would overcome a speech impediment and I did. She tried equally hard to help my daddy beat cancer. It didn’t happen but watching her try was a blessing.
When my mama was gone, a number of surrogates who give hugs or a touch of the hand that makes you feel loved have blessed me. Grace Autry has never been a mama, but she has blessed me often with a mama’s love.
People who just showed a little love in other ways have blessed me. A wonderful lady named Sunny McDonald knew I was struggling hard the year after my mama died. She made sure I had Christmas presents that year. She is now gone, as well. But the blessing she gave me still lingers.
People who did a lot of living in their time have blessed me. I go to a lot of funerals and I like the ones I can leave with admiration for the person’s life.
I am blessed by readers who tell me something I have written made them smile, think or reflect on good moments in their own lives. It makes putting word to paper a very worthwhile task.
I know there are people who read this and will face the holiday season without people they love and, quite frankly, the most unblessed feeling is being alone.
But I sincerely hope there is a moment that you can look back at times in your life and recall when you were truly blessed by the words or deeds of another.
I give thanks for my many blessings at the season of Thanksgiving and always.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.