Fall temperatures have finally arrived, and with them come a peace of mind which only happens this time of the year.

Summer held on longer than usual (well into October with temperatures still in the 90s) but the arrival of fall eventually does happen each year. The cooler temperatures seem to give us a renewed sense of energy for everything in our lives.

Fall has always seemed an ideal time to pause and to be appreciative for what we have been blessed with in life. It’s human nature to focus on the negative. Truthfully, we have plenty to be appreciative of. Thanksgiving is still a month away but we should never let the calendar dictate when we should give thanks.

With that in mind, I’m thankful today for:

•a supportive family which has always stood by me throughout my 48 years. This will always be at the top of any “thankful” list I compile. This past weekend I had the chance to attend a family reunion and it reinforced how fortunate I am to have grown up in the family in which I did.

•the comments from readers about a column I wrote. I even appreciate the comments from those who said they disagree. The great thing about our country is that we can disagree, even though it seems that is too often forgotten. A recent column probably has received more response than any I have written. It’s odd because I didn’t really think it was that controversial but it generated several letters to the editor in the various publications it was featured in.

•firemen, paramedics and all emergency service workers. I hope I never need you but am glad you are there just in case.

•the fact that Georgia is such a diverse state. Our diversity is our strength and we should never doubt that and embrace it.

•college athletes who compete at one of the service academies. You always have my highest level of respect. Players who compete at the Division III level also come to mind.

•the enjoyment I still get from covering high school athletics and watching young people compete as a team. In recent days I covered state softball and a high school football game and am thankful for those young people competing.

•the times today when I get out of the chair and my knees and back don’t ache too much.

•Saturday mornings this time of year at 9 a.m. when “College Football Gameday” airs for another week.

•the return of the blue sky after a long rain. Yes I realize we need rain but it is always nice when the sun returns.

•a peaceful evening watching a favorite television or movie as the sun begins to fade away for another day.

•the fact I have never lost one cent betting on any sporting event or even had the slightest desire to make a wager.

•the crisp mornings which give way to warm afternoons.

•the dreams we all have of just what we would do and might do if we won a billion-dollar lottery.

•the days I don’t have a headache.

•a worn-out pair of sneakers which still feel comfortable despite being very worn out. My current ones are beyond worn out though and it is time for a new pair.

•the sight of pumpkins, hay bales, fall flowers and other fall decorations as we continue into the month of October.

•a nap whenever that rare opportunity arises.

•the colors of fall when red, orange, yellow and brown seem to blaze as bright as the sun on a clear day.

Winder resident Chris Bridges is a former editor for the Barrow News-Journal. He has earned awards for his columns from the National Newspaper Association, the Georgia Press Association and the Georgia Sports Writers Association. He welcomes feedback from readers at pchrisbridges@gmail.com.

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