Rutherford County has a bumper crop of thankfulness to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Most people interviewed for this story were thankful just to be alive, but Marlene Hernandez on the teller line at First Citizens went into a little more detail.
"Family first," she said from behind a mask she wears to protect both her and her customers from the Covid-19 virus. She said that she is most grateful that "my parents are healthy, my husband and children. We thank God we haven't been sick. Working with the public we can be exposed to lots of things, but so far we are all healthy.
"And to be able to work," she added. "Some people complain about having to work, but I'm grateful to get to work. And for my church, for the people there who focus on what's important."
Brad Causby at Fast Way Oil Change on Broadway in Forest City broke into a big grin and laughed. "To be alive," was his Thanksgiving gratitude.
Barry Campfield, at Barry's Auto Sales, who was in the lobby of Moore's Auto Sales, echoed Causby's simple affirmation, "I'm just glad to be here."
Jim Heywood was a customer waiting to get an oil change at Fast Way, and his giving thanks was pretty simple, too, "When you get to my age, you are grateful to be able to put your feet on the floor every morning."
Former Rutherford Weekly ad salesman and sports columnist, Tommy Hicks, was once approached by a young person facing divorce with three small children. She asked how she might get through it. Like Heywood, Hicks affirmed, "Put your feet on the floor every day.'
Blue Ridge Hope Executive Director Rev. Travis Smith shared a favorite quote on gratitude from Oprah Winfrey. She said, "Be grateful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."
Blue Ridge Hope is a ministry to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of all people regardless of ability to pay. It can be found at blueridgehope.org.
Former Forest City Building Inspector and perpetual motion grandfather Mike Elliott said, "I am very grateful for rich memories that have the power to fill any void I may be feeling with love and laughter and friendship and foolishness." He also said that he was grateful to be expecting to see eight grandchildren in the next day or so.
Broad River Water General Manager Maria Hunnicutt said, "I am thankful for a God of second chances, and in this year particularly, I am thankful for a community of friends who are vulnerably authentic and share a desire to live out their most true and beautiful life."
Forest City's Daniel Wallace said, "I am grateful for the gift of good friends who care for me and mean it when they say they love me."
Many alums and former faculty members of East Rutherford High School are grateful for the life of Connie Mack Hamrick, the 33-year veteran school principal and encourager. Hamrick coached the 1972 state champion men's basketball team and was a good friend to Tommy Hicks. Hicks always referred to Hamrick as "Big Man Connie Mack Hamrick."
Hamrick died on November 13 and tributes to him can be left at the website of Padgett and King Mortuary.