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Outdoor Life: A few words on thankfulness
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For more years than I can count the great Atlanta Journal –Constitution sportswriter Furman Bisher offered up his thoughts on things for which he was genuinely grateful.  Those columns always moved me and so in his honor and in his grand tradition we do the same here today.
    I’m thankful that my Mama enjoyed 78 years of good health, taught me a multitude of lessons that have lasted a lifetime, and saw fit to donate a kidney to me when I was deathly ill.
    I’m thankful that my Daddy and brothers are so incredibly loving while at the same time are so strong minded and resilient.
    I’m so thankful that Mama and Daddy taught us the importance of spirituality and of God’s goodness and mercy.
    I’m eternally grateful for Ann Ross’s gift of life that has so positively impacted my life and that of my family’s.
    I’m tickled to death that Georgia Southern silenced the Gator chomp.
    I’m appreciative of the opportunity to watch Aaron Murray play quarterback for my beloved UGA Bulldogs for the past four years.  I’m also gratified that he did so while setting a shining example for future student-athletes to follow.
    I’m very pleased when I see touchdown makers and big hitters do their thing without the chest thumping ceremony that seems to always follow these days.
    I really enjoy a well officiated game by folks who work hard, are always in position, and do their thankless job in a professional way.
    I’m thankful for the fan who supports their team and their coaches through the good times and the bad.
    I’m exceptionally thankful for the fan who doesn’t feel the need to abuse the coaches within earshot of the wives of those coaches.
    I’m always gratified when I see signs that chivalry is not dead be it opening a door for the lady or just plain old good manners.
    I’m thankful when I hear church bells ring.
    I’m moved by a humble Thanksgiving blessing or a prayer at church that reminds me of how fortunate I am — and how deserving I am not.  
    I’m also thankful when the preacher gives us a good old fashioned lesson in how to walk closer to the Lord – and does it in twenty minutes.
    I’m glad when I see kids who have been raised to be outside playing instead of being couch potatoes.
    I’m grateful for the teacher who not only instructs their pupils on how to think but also on how to act.
    I’m really happy when I see parents who know how to both love and discipline their kids.
    I’m extremely thankful for the days when I catch a slab crappie, a chunky bass, or a whopper striped bass.
    I’m also happy when I see a bird dog on point, a covey of quail on the rise, and hunters scrambling to bring their guns to bear — (though sadly those days seem to be numbered.)
    I’m even more thankful just to get to go fishing, hunting, or just be outside enjoying all the things nature has to offer.
    I’m lucky and grateful that my wife saw something in me worth marrying and even more grateful that she has learned to cook stuff that doesn’t have bell peppers in it.
    I’m also thankful that I’ve learned not to try to eat the whole turkey in one sitting and for good stomach medicines when I forget.
    I’m blessed to have girls who have turned out like their mother rather than their father.
    I’m lucky to have good friends with which to share both the joyous and sad parts of life.
    There are so many things that we all need to be thankful for today.  I hope you will stop and reflect on the blessings of life that give you joy.  I’d also like to share a simple prayer for the outdoorsman that I’ve offered before and that has always touched me.

I pray that I may live to fish until my dying day,
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray,
When in the Lord’s great landing net,
And peacefully asleep,
That in his mercy I be judged,
Good enough to keep.

Until next time,

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at