James.qxp Nov Dec 2018 web - Page 42

So, you ask, why am I thankful? Is it for their contributions to Georgia’s economy? While substantial, this is
not it. Well, is it because you almost weekly enjoy eating
in David Grossnickle’s Chick-fil-A in Perry? Well, their
food and David are great, but that’s not it either.
The answer: I’m thankful for what the Cathy family
has done for so many young people in Georgia. They
have given thousands of young people meaningful work
experiences. They required that they work hard. They
have taught them how to talk to people (politely) and how
to help get the job done and in a courteous and polite
way. This is a gift that will serve them for life. They also
have given thousands of scholarships. They have
changed people’s lives for the better.
Let me tell you another thing the Cathys have done.
By their examples, appreciated by the American people,
they have set the model for other fast-food establishments. Do you notice how there has been improvement
in how customers are treated in most American eateries?
Thanks, Cathys for all you have done.
Thanks also to Robert Woodruff, the Coca-Cola magnet, for all you did. So much given with so little acclaim.
Indeed, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you
don’t care who gets the credit.”
Thanks Janice Walker for always being positive and
thinking the best of people. I need this and, by your
example, I hope that I’m a better person.
Thanks Papa, my Walker grandfather. You gave me
the most valuable thing you could and that was your
time. I will always remember following you to the fields.
You had on brogans and I was barefooted. For the slingshots you made for me; for the answers to my unrelenting
questions about the kinds of trees, what makes a mule,
how deep do you plant corn, how to hitch-up the mules,
etc. I am thankful. Yes, for your time given to a small boy,
I am thankful.
And, to Mr. Glea Gray who, as I “worked”’ at the feed
store, answered my questions and took me to eat steaks
with the men on Saturday night. I was treated like the
others of his men friends. He told me funny stories. He
later fished with me. I am thankful. Take a young person
under your wing. You’ll be glad you did and he or she will
be thankful— and better for it. And they will never forget
what you did with them and for them.
And to Joe Hodges, Mr. Big Hoss, Frances, Arlessie,
Joe, Amos and Solomon, and the other AfricanAmericans who treated a little white boy with affection,
bordering on love, I’m thankful.
And lastly, to Grandbuddy. He came to Perry from
California, where he was a camera operator at Universal
Studios in Hollywood after homesteading with Granny in
Arizona, and became my grandfather. He set so many
wonderful examples for me, including stoking my budding interest in politics. Also, he was a sharp dresser and
I try to emulate him.
They say I named him “Grandbuddy.” And if I did,
this is one of the best things I ever did because to my
nine grandchildren I’m their “Grandbuddy.” I like my
name, and I’m thankful to be their Grandbuddy.
If you are a Republican, be nice to a Democrat. Try
to get to know each other. If you are white, befriend
some of the black people you know. Respect other people’s opinions. Have your convictions, but try to respect
others’ views. You will learn something from this. Try
courtesy. Give a 20 percent tip rather than 10 percent.
Pay your help above the minimum wage. Try kindness.
Try politeness. Try love.
Quit complaining about everything. Start thinking
of all the things for which you should be thankful. As
for me, among so many other things, I’m thankful for
being thankful.
N OV E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry, a former Democratic
state legislator and a former member of the University System of
Georgia Board of Regents.


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