Commentary: As another year passes, reasons to be thankful abound

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Jim Charlet

Jim Charlet is a retired newspaper editor and Brentwood resident.


I’m thankful for the family tradition of dinners with children, a new grandson and other grandchildren for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and wedding anniversaries. The shared family visit to the Zoolumination Chinese Festival of Lights at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere created a family memory that will last forever. 

I’m thankful for Mr. Coffee and Folgers Hazelnut, and the early-morning spike of V8 juice after Labrador Scribbler’s cold-nose wakeup. 

I’m thankful for actress and singer Doris Day, who shared with us her singing, dancing and comedic talents with her signature song, “Que Sera Sera,” and left us at age 95 with the Doris Day Animal Foundation. Her music makes us all feel younger.  

I’m thankful for Mac Wiseman, a great country and bluegrass music singer who reminded us “tis sweet to be remembered when you are far away.” He lived in Antioch and left us with sweet memories. 

I’m thankful for my late father’s quotable philosophies and his advice: “Just remember, son, you ain’t got any problems you aren’t working on.” The older I get, the more relevant that message is. 

I’m thankful for singer Loretta Lynn, her hit song “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and also her song “Don’t Come a-Drinkin” as she celebrated her 87th birthday with Garth Brooks and multiple country stars at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Her songs put life in great perspective. 

I’m thankful for Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and her recent column about Cookeville’s Tennessee Tech University and what its “clothes closet” means for today’s college students who are unusually large, unusually small and very smart. I once recruited that university and always found its students to be very positive, grounded and hopeful about the future. That’s a message vital to all. 

I’m thankful  for journalist Cokie Roberts, who spent decades reporting on the lives and work of newsmakers as a champion of women in the news media. She was the daughter of Hale and Lindy Boggs and for several years co-anchored a Sunday political show with Sam Donaldson. She was plainspoken, insightful and fought breast cancer until her death. She is missed but not forgotten. 

I’m thankful  for Mary Hance, also known as “Ms. Cheap” of The Tennessean, for all she does to keep local history in perspective and to help consumers stretch their dollars by thinking and buying smart. She is a real pro and is highly respected as a must read for all consumers. 

I’m thankful  for Joe (Alton) Sweat, who built a career as a journalist fighting injustice and the ill treatment of Native Americans, later documenting Elvis at Memphis’ Graceland and photographing the crash site where Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins lost their lives. He was a true pro in all that he did. 

I’m thankful  for Jodi Rall, a Brentwood resident and articulate reporter on the historical origins of Thanksgiving. Gratefully, she recently recalled for all of us the words of Mother Teresa, to wit: “Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.” 

I’m thankful for Broadway star Carol Channing, a three-time Tony Award- winning comedian who provided us with over 5,000 Broadway performances of “Hello Dolly.” She had a contagious smile. At age 97, she left us feeling so grateful for how happy her songs made us feel. 

I’m thankful for the Tennessee Titans’ improving record. Thanks to the work the coach and general manager have done to recruit stronger players on the line and backfield. Let’s remember, when a player is knocked down, he must be picked up. 

I’m thankful for Larry B. Brinton, who was hired in 1955 by the late James Stahlman to write obituaries for the Nashville Banner and later became a legendary newspaper and television reporter, editor and commentator. He was tough but fair in his reporting and left a sterling example for newcomers to that role. He gave more than he got. 

I’m thankful for Shirley Foley Boone, the late beloved wife of songster Pat Boone, for her leadership in establishing the Boone Family Center for Performing Arts at Lipscomb University. She was the daughter of country music singer Red Foley and shared her faith and ministered to others. 

I’m thankful for Derby Jones and his staff and family, who keep producing The Williamson Herald, a classic family-owned weekly newspaper filled with useful content responsive to community needs. It’s a must read each Thursday. 

I’m thankful that writing this annual column has been my tradition since 1969, and for the chance to recall 16 reasons why I remain so thankful. 


Jim Charlet is a retired newspaper editor and Brentwood resident. 

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