Thankful for family, love

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Neighborhood safety, familiarity with your community, great friends you can count on and a secure job — these are things that may, in this day and time, not be present in everyone’s life.

I’ve been thinking about how our priorities change as we age. As a child, I was thankful for a few family trips and a daddy (with only an eighth-grade education) who never let our family down no matter what job he had to take. My brother, 7-and-a-half years older, usually aggravated me, but would, within minutes, notice me wherever I needed him, no matter the reason. My maternal granny taught me how to appreciate the simple things in life, such as leftovers from the pie safe, baths in the creek, fresh drinking water from a hand pump, the tick of the mantel clock as we snuggled in ice cold flannel sheets and prayers said by a dim kerosene lamp.

My mother saved her “extra” pennies my senior year to take me on a very special shopping trip to downtown Mobile. We took the bus into town, went to the upper scale Vanity ladies store and purchased four of the most expensive, gorgeous outfits I’ve ever owned (jewelry, purses and shoes to match). I will never forget that “out-of-the-ordinary” mother-daughter day.

Thames’ family celebrates Thanksgiving in South Alabama in 1984. (Contributed)

As a child, I remember being thankful for movie money, good grades and a special part in May Day, Easter or Christmas programs. Today, I see different blessings for which I am thankful. My parents lived to see my children grown and taught me values like honesty and respect for elders and authority.

I was expected to wait my turn to talk, to behave, to say please, thank you, excuse me, etc., and to take excellent care of what my family owned. Chores were cheerfully and promptly done. I was raised to be patriotic, admire our military and stand up straight with hand over heart at the first note of the National Anthem.

My present, personal blessings are my husband, two sons, two daughters and five beautiful grandchildren, a nice home, a great church family and a doctor I trust with my precarious health issues.

Just for fun and comparison here are some remarks from children I interviewed at a local school. Zoey is glad her daddy has a new job. Joe is looking forward to seeing grandparents and cousins from Illinois. Jared is so happy to be out of school for several days while his brother, Jackson, wants to go hunting with their uncle. I gently reminded them we needed to be thinking of things for which we are thankful. After some more thinking, Hunter remarked he is thankful for the home run ball he won last summer. Allen voiced thanks for his new computer, but Melissa finally got it right on in being thankful that her oldest brother recently returned safely from Afghanistan.

We (the older generation) are responsible for teaching values, respect and reasons to be thankful for what we have. Even when economic times are difficult and struggles are present in our families, we must teach the next generation real values: Love, friendship, commitment, perseverance, faith, compassion and dedication to God, family, life and job.

Take some time this week and list all the things for which you are thankful.


Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by email at