Until Thanksgiving, my Thursday postings will have a theme; each Thursday will list something for which I am thankful. I am blessed to have many friends. Throughout my life, there have been defining moments when a friendship was needed and someone showed up to fill that void in my life. There are many people who have impacted my life and yet have no idea. There are so many, actually, that I can’t name them all in one short blog. I do, however, want to highlight a couple of those defining moments.
The first person I want to thank will have no clue why his name is in this posting. I am certain he has no idea that he had a profound impact on my life, but he did. When I was in the fourth grade, my parents moved and I changed schools. I had left a school from which I was highly popular. My old school was very small and hardly had transfer students, so we quickly befriended any that came. My new school, however, was much different. I was blindsided when I found out how horrific it can be to become the ‘new kid.’ Initially, I was bullied. I was not familiar with bullying, especially from the receiving end, but I quickly learned its meaning. In the mist of this trying time, one person reached out to me and made a significant impact in my life. His name is Chad Drummond. If memory serves me correct, the day Chad impacted my life, he was wearing a white t-shirt and black vinyl jacket. I will always remember him as Fonzie and myself as Richie Cunningham. He offered me an o-ring he had received from his father who worked in a factory. He gave it to me as a sign of friendship. Whether right or wrong, I viewed Chad as a tough guy; I was exuberant that he offered me friendship. I’m not sure if it was because Chad was my friend or I had more self confidence, but the bullying diminished. Thank you Chad, you have no idea how much your kindness affected my life. While I attended Puryear, I did develop some good friendships. Two of my best friends in school where Shane Cooper and Corey James. I am also thankful they reached out to me. I developed other friendships in my years at Puryear and I thank everyone who befriended the quiet, shy kid named Timmy McSwain.
Another very important friend in my life is Robby George. I didn’t meet Robby until I had graduated from high school, but we quickly connected. How we connected was very strange, however. We were both persuing a girl at a church youth camp. Honestly, that is why most guys go to youth camp, to pursue girls, but that is a subject for another blog. We both liked a girl named Kelly (the last name has been left out to protect the innocent). Robby and I essentially started out as enemies, but Kelly was a popular girl who had several guys interested in her. We joined forces to try to weed out the competition together, each with plans to annihilate the other at the end. What ended up happening was that neither of us got the girl, but we each got a new best friend. Ever since that day, I have considered Robby as one of my closest friends. We only see each other about every other year, but when we are together, it is like we have never been apart. Again, this friendship came at a critical point in my life, when I really needed someone. Robby has been a great friend and to this day, I can call him when in need. Thank you Robby!
I have a compendium of names yet to mention. I will continue this list next Thursday. In the meantime, I want to give a shout out to David French, Les Madden, Zach Davis, Josh Maddox, Kayla Maddox Mayfield, Ginger Walker-French, Cheri Winters-Hayes, Jason Shaw, Justin Shaw, Jordon Shaw, Sammy Smith, Barkey and Crystal Bryant, Jaynee Victory-Marsh, Anne Victory-Sebghati, Sean Byrd, Alissa Rausch Sanderson, Angela Lovelace Russell, Jonathan James, H.L. Hussmann, Paul and Becky Lile, Scott Nanney, Ryan and Kathleen Brooks, Mark Randall, Joel and Amanda Youngblood, Stephen and Jamie Follis, Jason and Terah Keim, Todd Larson, Kyle and Paige Fuqua, Keith Shew, Courtney Hill, Steve and Darla McKeown , my beautiful wife Julie and the many friends I have from Big Sandy Elementary School, Puryear Middle School, Henry County High School, Murray State University, COGOP, Camp Hickory Hills, Youth America, Christian Life Center and all the places I have been employed. I am thankful for you all!!
Disclaimer: Whenever you write a thank you and mention people by name, you inevitably leave someone out. There are many people whom I have not listed. That does not mean you did not impact my life. I just ran out of time and room. =) I will be continuing this post next Thursday, so stay tuned.