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Thankful Hearts – Locals tell why

Barbara Baker of Nobles Greenhouse & Nursery is thankful for all things.
-SVT Photo by Jeffry Boatright

By Jeffry Boatright

The aroma of pies, along with sweet reunions and post-meal laziness is once again here as we celebrate the cherished Thanksgiving holiday. It is a time of tradition, remembrance, togetherness and above all, it is a time to give thanks.

Families and individuals have identified over time with traditions they hold dear on the beloved holiday. For some, it is off to the woods hunting, others prefer fishing and some prefer the historic sport of football. Incidentally, the first collegiate football games played on Thanksgiving Day date back to the 1800s with Yale and Princeton competing in 1876, just over a decade after President Lincoln’s 1863 declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

American tradition has especially held the early settlers with high esteem. We have considered their difficulties and challenges during that historic voyage across the Atlantic and recognize their shared vision and incomparable courage, even today. They simply yearned for a society that would allow them to worship according to their own convictions while building a life for themselves. They were compelled to etch out a living in this new world and sustain themselves monetarily, physically and spiritually.

We remember those who went out on a leap of faith and sojourned to this new land. Additionally, we pause to consider the assistance offered by the Native Americans who assisted our forefathers in establishing a sustainable life in North America.

While we do pause to remember the early European settlers and their blessings, we must consider the multitude of blessings we have today. Perhaps we take for granted the things that weren’t easily obtainable during those formative years of our nation. When the early settlers arrived, they had no housing awaiting them. They had neither electricity, hot water, modern medicine, nor indoor plumbing. As we enjoy the second and third helpings on Thanksgiving, perhaps we should remember how scarce food must have been. A staggering percentage of the new settlers from the Mayflower succumbed to death that first winter as a result of malnutrition and disease.

Yes, we Americans have been blessed and for the most part, we recognize it. According to a recent study that was conducted by the Nashville-based LifeWay Research, 63 percent of those participating stated they give thanks to God on Thanksgiving. Of those surveyed, 61 percent state they are most thankful for family, 13 percent for health and nine percent were most thankful for personal freedom.

Bill Patterson of Live Oak is thankful for his health.
-SVT Photo by Jeffry Boatright

Locally, residents are quick to recognize the things we are thankful for. Bill Patterson of Live Oak recently experienced a health crisis and readily admits he is thankful for his recovery and health.
Surrounded by beautiful fall and winter plants in her scenic workplace, Barbara Baker acknowledged that she is thankful for her job. Baker, who is employed with Nobles Greenhouse & Nursery in Live Oak, added that she is also thankful for health and emphasized that God is the source of those blessings.

The Thanksgiving holiday, along with being thankful for our blessings, usually further fuels our own desire to help others. Heidi Hofer and Kerry Martin have found a way to do that every day. As employees of the Melody Church Thrift Store, which is located on S. Ohio Avenue in Live Oak, Hofer and Martin can serve others and share the gift of love.

“I am thankful for being part of such a wonderful ministry that is able to help the community,” Martin said.

According to Hofer, Melody Thrift Store is an outreach ministry through Melody Church. Through donations and obtaining items at extremely low costs, the store affords citizens from the community the opportunity to purchase items, such as clothing and furniture, that they otherwise might not be able to buy. “I am thankful that I can be in our community serving folks every day and bring a blessing to them,” Hofer added.

Kerry Martin (left) and Heidi Hofer of the Melody Church Thrift Store are thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the church’s outreach ministry. -SVT Photo by Jeffry Boatright

Thanksgiving is indeed a time to enjoy the aroma of the pies, noisy gatherings, family traditions and perhaps a little too much dressing. Maybe the pilgrims would have even wanted us to go for that second or third helping; we’ll just assume they did. It is probably safe to say, however, that they would have also wanted us to give thanks to our Creator for our countless blessings and, like Hofer and Martin, help bring a blessing to others with thankful hearts.