by Mary Wakefield Buxton
Urbanna, Va.— Two words never said enough are . . . “thank you,” yet many millions of Americans will use these words at Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. For no matter what challenges each of us face in life, the truth is—Americans are blessed. It’s time to stop complaining and give thanks for all we have been given.
Perhaps our greatest blessings are what others do for us. Family, friends, neighbors, community, and sometimes even strangers come to our assistance when we need help.
Like the gentleman who stopped at dusk recently when we had a flat tire on the road to Kilmarnock. We pulled off into a cornfield and before we could even get out of our car, the young man had stopped to give us a hand. Out came the spare tire from the trunk and we watched in amazement as he set to work quickly changing our tire. The young man turned out to be the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Lancaster County.
I offered him money, but he refused it. “I’m a Christian, ma’am, and I’m called by my faith to help those in need.” He drove off into the night without even telling me his name.
Today’s topic is appreciation for him and many others, and I will extend as much gratitude as space allows:
First, thanks be to God, as Episcopalians say, although many millions today claim there is no such force, some even suggest that government replaces God, but after a half century of personal doubt, I have landed on the side of such a power being alive in this universe and I give thanks each and every day. I believe this force is in each of us, and not only sparks all life, but inspires us to higher levels of behavior.
I thank family, friends, readers of this column and especially my church for loyalty and support. On a personal note, thank you, Husband Chip, for working so hard to support your family and country. You’ve been going to work and paying taxes since 1954, supporting me since 1963, and providing jobs for others since 1976. And thank you, all other hard-working Americans who go to work each day and keep the nation afloat.
Thank you to the many volunteers who give so much of themselves to help our community in every way possible . . . from providing food to clothing banks, delivering Meals on Wheels, Hands Across Middlesex, building Habitat homes, Cryer Center, YMCA, Christmas Friends, providing free medical and legal services, and even delivering dog food to the shelter like the good members of Christ Church do so our shelter dogs will have improved diets.
Thank you to those who gave money to build the county’s first dog park and also those who helped build the new athletic complex so Middlesex High School students could enjoy improved sports facilities.
Thank you county churches for your presence and leadership in reminding us of the universal message of Jesus: love one’s neighbor and forgive others . . . a simple formula that turns barbaric human behavior into civilization.
Thank you civic groups such as the Middlesex Woman’s Club, Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions and all other groups that do so much to raise funds needed to help support our community.
Thank you community leaders Richard and Pat Marshall, Carolyn Schmalenberger, Evelyn Turner, Marilyn South, Kris Sherrer, Liz Perkins, John Koedel, Mary Lib Hoinkes, Fred and Bettie Lee Gaskins, Charles and Betsy Bristow, Sally Gayle Revere, Bob and Carolyn Henkel, Gene Ruark, Johnny Fleet, Scott Kauffman, Liz Young, Cate Ogden and many, many more.
Thank you town of Urbanna for providing me with a peaceful home where I can think and write. Thank you Urbanna Baptist Church for ringing church bells each Sunday, and for daily chimes that inspire each day.
Thank you Tom Hardin for your support at the Sentinel in publishing so many community events to help charitable groups survive. How would we succeed without our local newspaper to lend a boost?
Thank you Middlesex County officials such as Betty Bray, Matt Walker, and Marcia Jones who work hard to ensure we have good local government. Thank you, local politicians for your help (but please stop raising property taxes on retired citizens). Thank you, Christchurch School and Middlesex County Public School teachers and administrators, the Middlesex Library, and RCC for providing educational opportunities to the county.
Thank you, doctors and nurses, volunteers at the fire department and rescue squads, hard-working employees everywhere—at the bank, drug store, markets, fuel and propane truck drivers, and contractors and builders who improve our homes and businesses.
Thank you to the late, great Dan Gill who brought “Something Different” to Urbanna, and to his family dedicated to keeping it going. And to all other county restaurants and staffs that are now burdened with the meals tax but work hard to keep going even when times are tough.
Special appreciation goes to Ruth Williams and Ricky Warren who take care of our county’s stray dogs, and especially Debbie Longest who keeps us organized here at the “Pineapple Palace.”
Well, I’ve run over my space so I’ll leave it at this. Thank you and a very happy Thanksgiving to all!