I have always heard that one of the worst sins is ingratitude. Even those with affluence can be given to indifference. In all levels of society, all of us often take the simplest of things for granted.
For Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, most of us have an opportunity to say thanks for the raising we were fortunate to get. Do you remember the telephone commercial when the late Bear Bryant of Alabama in which he said he always encouraged his players to call home, to call their “mama.” Then he said, “I sure wish I could call mine.”
That reminds me of a time in the past when I was in U. S. Coast Guard basic training in Cape May New Jersey. Late on Friday at the end of the first week of training, our unit commander reminded us that we should call home, presenting it as an order.
“Every man will call home this weekend; Okay?”
Obviously, there were no dissenters, no questions so we were dismissed for the weekend. A lot of us didn’t call home. On Monday morning at our first gathering, commanding officer opened with this directive, “Did every man call home?” Apparently, the military didn’t want some serviceman’s mother calling her congressman and complaining that she had not been in touch with her son.
There was a kid, like maybe 18 years old from Savannah whose nickname was “Ski.” He raised his hand and the commanding officer said, “Ski did you call home?” Ski replied, “No Sir.”
“Why did you not call home?” Ski caused the largest eruption of laughter ever heard in that part of New Jersey when he said, “My mother doesn’t have a phone.”
Growing up on a farm in the pre-television era, there was always time to spare even though the daylight hours were focused on planting and harvesting. Then there was Saturday afternoon and all-day Sunday with time out for church, but also down time.
You could spend time down by the creek, letting your imagination take you to faraway places such as Fenway Park, Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium and Sportsman Park. You could also read books.
Fortunately, I develop a habit of writing thank you notes; also writing people I had met at a church camp. It was very basic, and I never thought about it becoming a foundation for communication and reflected good manners.
My schoolteacher mother had an influence on all that and I am thankful for that. Like Bear Bryant, I wish I could call my mother this afternoon and thank her for a lot of things she did for me that I took for granted. It would not be a brief phone call.
Often when I make a drive of several hours to some destination south of the Fall Line or one of the many trips to Atlanta each month, I get sentimental thinking about the good things in life.
I’m grateful for the horn of plenty my wife gets at Kroger, grateful for good health, grateful for a winning football program at my alma mater, and grateful for the joy of living in this state.
Georgia offers so many attractions. You can fish for trout on the Chattahoochee in the company of Jimmy Harris, who has deep and abiding reverence for the river.
You can fish for trout, bass, and redfish on the Georgia coast with a close-up view of the “Marshes of Glynn.” I’m grateful for our one-time poet laureate, Sidney Lanier, who wrote a poem about those marshes. He also wrote about the aforementioned river in north Georgia, “Song of the Chattahoochee.”