The late Atlanta Journal/Constitution sports legend, Furman Bisher, was passionate about many things.  Sports, his family, writing for the AJC for 59 years and expressing his thanks during Thanksgiving over the big and small facets of his life which garnered him a column in the paper on Thanksgiving Day. Many years ago these holiday columns caught my eye with his delightful snippets of what made him thankful throughout each year. Reading many of these columns I was impressed by what he considered worthy of praise.  He was an ordinary man who had the same loves, interests, appreciations and enjoyments we all do and was not shy about letting his readers know what he appreciated at this holiday season.

          I met Furman Bisher through my friend, long-time AJC columnist Celestine Sibley. He wrote for the Atlanta Journal; she wrote for the Atlanta Constitution. It was only after the papers merged the two columnists became good friends. Few journalists reveal much about themselves in their writings. Celestine’s personal life was often mixed in with her stories making her columns unique. Most of Furman’s columns were strictly about sports and athletes. His special Thanksgiving columns was a way of giving his readers a glimpse into his life outside the paper.

          Each of us have things in our lives for which we are thankful.  Furman once said, “If you’re like me, you need to be reminded, more than once a year, of the small joys that make life (literally) wonderful. I have sometimes been thankful seriously and I have sometimes been thankful for the most curious things. Be thankful, not just at Thanksgiving but anytime during the year is a good time to be grateful.”

          This holiday season of 2017 I pass along a list of things for which I am thankful for on a daily basis:

·       Growing up in Monroe and the many friends and neighbors who shared their lives with me and my family.

·       All those poor turkeys who gave their lives so we might enjoy a bountiful meal on this holiday.

·       Country ham & red-eye gravy being served up for breakfast on a cold winter’s morning.

·       All the brave gallant who have given their lives over the decades so our nation remains strong and free and for those who continue to fight for the safeguard of our country.

·       Those chilly mornings you look out to see frost on the grass.

·       For those wonderful Georgia Bulldogs…..”Go Dawgs!”

·       Hearing those church bells peal on a Sunday morning in Monroe.

·       Those exciting Christmas parades down Broad Street with Santa following at the end.  Did anyone ever find out where he kept his sleigh?

·       Still being able to pick up a book and read the print!

·       Monroe-Walton County Library which began in 1936 and still going strong, giving the county a repository of books and services for all to enjoy.

·       Seeing some folks STILL talk in restaurants instead of texting on their IPhone!

·       Those sweet, nostalgic memories of past Thanksgivings celebrated in Monroe with family and friends.

·       The eager anticipation of seeing those Christmas decorations being put up on Broad Street.

·       When Daylight Savings Time ends and it gets dark early, making a perfect segue for lighting candles or enjoy a roaring fire in the fireplace as you sip a cocktail or two.

·       The “old days” when you could walk up and down Broad Street and know most everyone you met.

·       For those long ago merchants on Broad Street whom you knew along with the sales people who made shopping enjoyable.

·       Those long forgotten church hay rides around town ending up in a bonfire in the old field behind the Monroe High School on Bold Springs Ave.

·       Looking up words in a dictionary instead of relying on “Spell Check” to ensure your words are correct.

··       My old Royal typewriter, hidden away in the attic, waiting for the day it will be resurrected with a new ribbon. There is just something about a letter typed on a typewriter!

·       Forever grateful for the life and teachings of Nell Denton Mashburn and the sixteen years she spent in Monroe giving her students an education unlike no other. She was truly “One of life’s extras.”

·       Hearing the clock in the old court house chime the hours.

·       The star on top of the old courthouse placed there by the Kiwanis Club in 1954 shining a holiday light on downtown Monroe.

·       Santa’s sleigh and reindeer atop the old VFW building on Highway 78, signaling Christmas was near!

·       Friends and family members who left us this year and for the wonderful, happy memories they leave behind. You will be at the forefront of our list of blessings this year.

·       For all those friends who still enjoy the habit of writing letters by hand.

·       When church members would go caroling from street to street in December warming the hearts of neighbors on a chilly night.

·       Patrick Graham & staff of The Walton Tribune for keeping alive the concept of the “hometown newspaper”.

·       Those many citizens of long ago whose unselfish generosity and love for the city brought honor and fame to our town….we remember and salute you!

·       Those old songs of the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s that, no matter how hard you try to keep them in, they bring tears to your eyes for the memories the evoke.

·       Those school teachers where were special to me: Sarah Kidd, Myrtle Shields, Savannah Mayfield, Mindell Hester, Eleanor Preston, Ina Sue Hughes, Allyne Brown, Sarah Lowery, Nanette Robison, Bill Dawson, Dot McGarity & Principal Robert L. Ash.

Alice Moon penned a poem over 50 years ago which still rings true as we gather together this year to give thanks. Her poem reads:

The red and golds of autumn

still linger on the hill,

As we gather nature’s bounties,

our depleted stores to fill.

The pumpkin’s orange, the apple’s red,

the green stripes of the gourd,

That now lay gathered safe from storms,

present a brilliant hoard.


Some wild geese still are sailing,

Alert, the wild birds flush,

The hunter’s at his traililng,

the artist seeks his brush.

At night the stars seem closer

the trees still hold their fire

Till winter winds play havoc

with leaves we now admire.


When we pause from daily strivings

and give thought to our gifts…

Our homes, our work, our families,

quite soon our vision lifts

To God, before whose harvest

all man-made things decrease.

Our humble hearts are grateful

that still his gifts increase.


We take stock of our blessings,

viewing one more harvest’s hoard,

And we bow in thankful reverence

at the table of the Lord.

     I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving filled with good food, family, friends & memories which continues to enrich our holidays.