By Samantha Lambert
Dictionary.com defines the word thankful as feeling or expressing gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. Synonymous with each other, and two strong and emotional words.
When was the last time you expressed thankfulness to someone or for showed your gratitude? Many do this everyday, and others maybe only when they sit around the table at Thanksgiving.
You hear thankfulness and gratitude shared in song lyrics. Thankfulness for friends. When I graduated from Auburn, I left my longtime roommate a copy of Andrew Gold’s “Thank You for Being a Friend” to show her how much our friendship meant to me.
Gratitude for loved ones. Among the older of us, who can forget Bob Hope’s “Thanks for the Memories”? The song came from the old movie The Big Broadcast of 1938, with Hope and Shirley Ross playing a divorced couple who sing the song and then reconcile. Over the years, it became Hope’s signature song and he would change the lyrics to fit any situation.
This Thanksgiving, I asked various Beachcomberland residents what they are thankful for.
Linda Evanchyk, newly elected Okaloosa County School Board member: “I am thankful that the citizens of Okaloosa County have given me the opportunity to continue to serve in our school system as a school board member. I’m also thankful to live in a community that values providing public education for all students.”
Tom Brassell, executive director of the Wuerffel Trophy: “I am thankful for my lord and savior Jesus Christ, who has blessed me beyond measure with an incredible family and wonderful life.”
Cindy McCoy, Fort Walton Beach resident: “I am thankful for my family. We may be scattered, may not agree on everything, and may not talk for weeks or months, but we are there for each other with unconditional love. I am blessed and thankful for my parents, my siblings, and my children.”
Ivonne Caridi-Anderson, Niceville resident: “This year has been tough on our family with life-changing events, two deaths in the family within a couple of weeks from each other, and most recently Hurricane Michael, which turned the lives of my daughter, my son-in-law and my two grandchildren upside down, as many other folks who were in the path of Michael are also experiencing. I praise God for sparing the lives of my daughter’s family, of their family members in Marianna, and of their neighbors.”
Debi Roberts, Fort Walton Beach resident: “I am thankful to God for every blessing he has given me and every lesson he has taught me. I am thankful for my husband Bill, and for sharing 47 years with him. I am thankful for our two sons, who are just such great guys in every way.”
Mike McMain, military veteran and Fort Walton Beach resident: “I am thankful for the freedoms and opportunities available in our country. I am thankful for my family and their service and sacrifices in the military and community. I am thankful for my wife and soul mate, who has made each day better than yesterday.”
Taylor DeVore, high school student: “I am thankful for my family and the Insideout high school program at my church, Beachside.”
Jenny Hamilton, retired Okaloosa County teacher: “We are always thankful for our family and friends. Taking time to celebrate each other during this time of year; being thankful for the love of family and friends, is giving thanks for the blessings we share.”
Jim Madaris, Fort Walton Beach resident presently traveling the country in an RV with his wife Sandi: “I am thankful for God’s gift of my best role ever—granddaddy. As someone with a deadly cancer, I am thankful to God for every single day and what it brings. I am grateful for the opportunity Sandi and I have to travel the country full-time in our RV for the next year.”
As for me, I am thankful for my family and friends and the love we share with each other. Happy Thanksgiving!