Altar Call – O-A News

Walter Albritton

November 24, 2002


Once again the time has come to pause and give thanks for our blessings


            The celebration of Thanksgiving is a tradition that makes me proud to be an American. The attitude of gratitude is always beautiful. Ingratitude is always despicable.

            On the eve of another Thanksgiving Day, allow me to share with you some of the experiences and blessings for which I am thankful. I hope that my list will inspire you to make one of your own. I am thankful for:

1.      Memories of Thanksgiving meals, and good times with family, in the home where I grew up. There must have been some tension, and some arguments, but I chose to forget them.

2.      Pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, ambrosia, toasted pecans, turkey and dressing, sweet potatoes, rice and gravy, ham, fruit salad, and so much more! What a table!

3.      Hunting rabbits after lunch with James and Hilliard, and being amazed that James usually brought home one rabbit for every shell fired.

4.      Covering Mama’s Green House with heavy clear plastic sheeting, to prepare it for the wintertime, a task that required the help of several grandchildren.

5.      The joyous, loud, and infectious laughter of my youngest sister Laurida who, though dead now, lives on in the lives of her beautiful children.

6.      The huge pit in the backyard where daddy barbecued, all night long over hot coals, beef, pork, chicken, and sometimes goat.

7.      The joy our family felt when daddy installed propane gas heaters in almost every room in our house. Man that was up town!

8.      My first shotgun, a double-barreled 16-gauge. Not fancy, but it was mine.

9.      The way daddy reacted the night I wrecked the family car, a 1947 Frazer. I figured my dad would kill me. A man of few words, he simply said, “I’m thankful you were not hurt. We will get another car.”

10.  Going to Sunday School and church, in my Sunday clothes and Sunday shoes, at Dexter Avenue Methodist Church in Montgomery.  

11.  How pretty my sisters were on the Lord’s Day, all dressed up in their Sunday clothes when daddy and mama took us to church, 15 miles away from our home in rural Elmore County.

12.  The joyous surprise when mama, at age 40, gave birth to my brother Seth Henry, when I was 11 years old.

13.  The friendship I now enjoy with my brother and his wife, Pearl, who live across the pasture from us on the Tallapoosa River.

14.  The opportunity in retirement to renew friendships with some of my high school classmates, especially my longtime friend Grady Rowell, who is every bit as crazy as I am.

15.  Having four sons who have become responsible, Christian men, all active with their precious wives in their own churches. And, like icing on the cake, they are all Methodists! (Actually, what matters most is that they are Christians.)

16.  The privilege of hearing our oldest son, Matt, preaching in his own church now. Imagine having a son who has become your pastor!

17.  The azaleas blooming, even now, outside my study window.

18.  The love and respect of my grandchildren, especially the joy of hearing them say, “Hi Grampa.”

19.  Many dear friends who remember my name and who love me enough not to send me every inspiring story they come across on the Internet.

20.  The influence of Brother Si Mathison upon my life. Now 92 and going strong, Brother Si epitomizes for me what it means to be a Christian.

21.  My left knee, because it does not hurt as often as my right knee hurts.

22.  The possibility that when the phone rings, the person calling may be one of many friends in Opelika who said they would never forget me.

23.  The notes I receive now and then from folks who enjoy reading my Sunday columns, especially the woman who wrote saying, “Some of your articles are better than others.” That was true of my sermons too, very true.

24.  The voice on the phone of one of my sons saying he is coming over to see me and his aged mother for a little while.

25.  The way my dear wife cuddles up next to me at night, as though to say, “You are still forgiven, Big Boy, and I love you.” (Thank God, my snoring has not made her flee to a separate bedroom!)

26.  The sound of angels’ wings, and the gentle voice of the Father whispering in my soul, “I am glad you are my child and that you delight in the life I am giving you. I am especially glad you have learned to laugh, because we laugh a lot up here.”


Happy Thanksgiving!