Somebody has said that Thanksgiving Day is a day we should think about all the things we should thank God for all year long. True. We can never thank God enough for all His blessings to us. My daughter thinks my Depression stories are so sad. I don't agree. They make me so thankful for all the wonderful things that life has to offer me today. I am so thankful for friends and the memories of them down through these 83 years. The Pilgrims placed five grains of corn on their table to remind them of God's blessings to them. I would have to have far more than five grains to list all my blessings.
AC and Cars
I thank God for the Central Heat and Air in my home. I remember the cold winters and the drafty rooms of long ago. Heaters did some good, but often you were too warm in front and too cold on your backside. And then this past summer as the temperature climbed over one hundred degrees, I appreciated the cool air that permeated every room in my home, and even the bed sheets were cool.
I remember the "Hand-me-down" clothes that some one passed on to me. Perhaps they were shorter than I was, or fatter, or built differently. On me the dresses might be too short, and bag around my skinny body, but they allowed me to attend school. Today I can choose what I want to wear. I never fail to thank God for all His blessings to me. And to think of all the miles we walked each day, never a car to ride in, just walk. Today John has a nice new mini-van for me to ride in, with bucket seats that seem to cradle my old body.
Food and Friends
The food that we ate back during the Depression was just something to eat. We had no choices, especially if you were a city dweller. Every bite must be bought at a store with money. Today I think of my two freezers and the freezer above my refrigerator, all filled with a variety of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and other good things to eat. Every one of these things makes me more grateful to God for all His blessings.
These are just things that I thank God for, but what I am most thankful for is friends, and what they have meant to me down through the years.
A Nurse's Help
I remember the years that I cared for my mother during her long illness, 19 years in all in bed, and 7 of these in a hospital bed. I could not have known what to do if I had not had a friend who was a registered nurse and who guided me through so many of the things that made my mother's life more comfortable. She taught me how to make up the hospital bed with her still in it, and that included how to place a draw sheet on the bed. And she explained where to place my hands as I turned her in the bed, not to pull on her and hurt her old flesh. There was the instruction on how to give enemas, and how to give her the B12 shots, and the Durabolin shots she required. Along with the high protein drink made with egg, milk, vanilla flavor, and sugar that she taught me how to prepare. At the Schumpert the nuns marveled at the way her blood work would return, and Dr. St. Martin called their attention to the fact that everything was in the normal range thanks to the nutrition that she was given and her body had never had a bed sore even though she had l9 years of illness in bed. Mother loved her like a daughter. All this is thanks to my friend, Rose Walker.
For All Seasons
I can never forget George and Ruth Turner and the late Hazel White. In the many times I had the sorrows of death, or my daughter's surgery for cancer, they were always there with me, helping me in any way that they could. They were my friends for "all seasons" and I mean seasons of the heart.
In these later years I have had so many friends who have helped me in so many ways. I could not forget the friendships shared with the Ralph Hock family, Johnnie Madden, Freddie Louise (Sug) Haynes, Melba Lowery, George Calvit, Jeannine Miller, and others who have been there along the way to help and encourage me as I met each new day and the problems that life has to offer sometimes.
Christine Hunt was such a friend to me and to John, such an encourager, and I will always miss her and still wish I could talk to her once again. Lorene Ross often prayed with me through so many of life's trials, and now she, too, is gone on to heaven, and I miss her so much.
The Rev. Barnes was such a prayer warrior and so many times I called on him for prayer and God answered those prayers. He, too, has gone on to heaven. Not too long ago I was having several new health problems and was greatly depressed. Mrs. Barnes called me and said God just laid my name on her heart, and I explained my new problems. She placed my name on the altar for prayer at her church, and that set of problems is better now.
Friends who were helpful to me at the old Minden Bank long ago was the late Clara Davis, and in the last years was Don Hart, Elvena Johnston, and Mike Burton.
And now Mike has been more than helpful to me with managing my finances at the Minden Building and Loan. Thank God for him and his caring ways. Another who has been especially helpful to me is Keith McClung, not only with his advice, but also with his charges. Thank God for friends such as these.
With two children to educate and limited resources, I naturally turned to God for guidance. When my daughter finished as Valedictorian, I reminded God of my prayers and He over abundantly answered me. She received three State Board of Education scholarships to three La. colleges that covered not only tuition, room and board, but books also. She also received a scholarship to Mary Hardin Baylor. She had to choose between the schools. She loved Tech and so she chose Tech. There the first week at the Baptist Student Union she met her future husband. God planned her future.
And then in a few years when I was 53 and J. C. was 58 it was time for John to go to college. Once again I prayed, and we received a letter from Tech asking that we return the $300 scholarship John had, and for him to accept a State Board of Education scholarship that covered everything. He worked three days at Sears and attended Tech three days. What a great God we serve!! He answers prayers, He really does.
And for the present, please drive down Broadway and look up at the water tower. It is breathtakingly beautiful. As we turned off the Homer road and started toward town, it appeared like a crown on the tower with the red and green Christmas lights on the railing around the water tower. In fact I called it the "Crown of Minden". Already Minden is getting ready for Christmas and so many places are already beautiful. Thank somebody for his or her thoughtfulness in decorating.
More than Money
Years ago we had a song that said: "When my bankroll is very small, I think of when I had none at all, and I go to sleep counting my blessings." And in church we often sang, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." Blessings are more than just money. Money cannot buy friendship nor love and these are more valuable than anything. We sing "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" and we do, don't we? Think back over your life this Thanksgiving season and give thanks to a gracious and loving God. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years before her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing selected articles from Mrs. Agan's Cameos column every Wednesday.