#Thanksgiving November 22

Coach4aday blog posts are written by John Rancke and me. We write daily about leadership, food, people, music, our granddaughters, Lumberton NC, and things that pique our curiosity.

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November 22, 2018 What are You Thankful For

Post by John Rancke

It’s Thanksgiving Day and as has become our annual tradition, Lindsay and JB and Ayden and Hazel and JC (Lindsay’s in-laws) and I are helping to serve Thanksgiving dinners in the Elizabethtown area. We will help to serve to shut ins, those that are working on turkey day (hospital employees, Police Dept, etc). 4-5 cookers loaded down with turkeys, and all the fixings you could want. We usually serve between 350-450 meals in a quick 2 hour period.

It’s called Open Door Ministries and is non denominational and casual and unpretentious and full of good people. Lot’s of motorcycles and big trucks. Each year several members of the Hell’s Angels from Fayetteville show up to help serve and deliver to the many unable to come sit down and eat in the church.

It’s a great way to spend Thanksgiving. It’s a great way to watch my granddaughter pitch in and help to make many others Thanksgiving just a little bit better and perhaps less lonely. Three years ago I jumped in and offered to co-ordinate the deliveries as Preacher Randy was overburdened with details and all the small problems that crop up when trying to pull off a successful event. I was visiting that morning and talking with Ayden while Lindsay was busy and realized I could do more than entertain my granddaughter. So I did.

This is how I spend my Thanksgiving morning now. After the church concludes their “feeding”, Lindsay’s mother in law will have Thanksgiving dinner at her house for the Chadwicks and JB’s sister and her family from up towards Clinton. I will say my goodbyes at the church and head home. I just don’t want to sit around a table and have Thanksgiving anymore.

I spend Thanksgiving afternoon reflecting as I drive alone either up 87 or 701. Sometimes I will end up in Sanford visiting my sister in law Bridgette and her family and catching my other sister in law Leigh Ann and her girls down from Boone. Some years I will head to my dear friends Jim and Lee Melvin in Fuquay and spend the afternoon with them. We laugh and cry and remember. It’s good for my soul. ( And I don’t have to deal with the traffic on Black Friday).

So what am I thankful for?

For Lindsay Caroline Chadwick and Ayden Caroline Chadwick

For Lindsay and JB finding each other years ago at White Lake and for giving me my granddaughter Ayden and raising her to respect others, to love God, and to express herself.

Ayden and me

Ayden and G Daddy

JB, Ayden, and Lindsey

Lindsay Jb Ayden

For JC and Hazel Chadwick for being the grandfather and grandmother that Ayden needs as she grows older.

For RV Height and Mike Harkey, 3rd floor Granville residents back in December 1974 for calling up a freshman coed from Sanford and asking if she wanted to go out with me on a blind date. I think the magic words they spoke into the phone were “He’s the manager for the basketball team”.

For the DJ , Steve the Dream that played the right music the night of the blind date. I knew the words to every song he played and the Sanford Coed was impressed.

Pam (Sanford Coed) and I

Pam 2

For Bunky and John was exposing me to athletics and that first trip to Chapel Hill that sealed my destiny. For letting me fail, letting me grow, letting me choose my path, for accepting the Sanford Coed into the family, and loving her like their own daughter for 38 years.

John, Bunky, Pam, and me

Family 5

For Mr. Bobby Sessoms, Mr. Bill Sapp, Coach Alton Brooks, Coach Finley Read Coach Bill Guthridge, Coach Dean Smith for giving me a chance and teaching me that you learn more from losing than you do for winning.

For my sisters Margaret and Nancy for never growing tired of my lack of attention to them, for always being in my corner when I wasn’t sure where my corner was, for their unwavering love to me and that Sanford Coed, and to Lindsay when the days got dark in November 2012.


For Kaye and Dale Beck in Zebulon for 41 years of friendship and guidance and for allowing a very young married couple to be around them and their 3 sons, Richard, Joe, and Josh.

For the late Gary Shell and Amy Beatty for hiring me in Wilmington to run the athletic program back in 2001 and asking why is he so eager to tackle such a headache. And after hiring me, staying away and letting me do my job.

For Cindi Holden for her guidance and acceptance of her new boss and my new way of doing things with adult softball in Wilmington.

For RT Jones and his wife for that Carolina Christmas tree that he delivered on that teary eyed Friday night 2 weeks before Christmas in 2012.

For the hundreds of friends that took the journey in 2012 with that Sanford Coed and Lindsay and I as our Fairy Tale took a left turn in April and ended December 26. You allowed us to lean on your love and draw strength from that love and it helped us make our way through the darkness each day with a bright light that outshone the sun.

For Jim and Lee Melvin, Mike Collins, Earle Bowman, Terry and Sarah, Laura Nance, Coach and Mrs. Read for loving me and caring for a broken man and helping him find a way back from a dark abyss.

Family 6

Over the past 65 years I have been one of the most fortunate people in the world. I have so many friends from so many places, so many jobs, so many experiences. Each have touched me in some way. I sit and thank God many days for giving me such friendships. I am Thankful for each and every one of you and that ours paths crossed in our lifetime.

Family sanford

Finally, on this Thanksgiving November 22, 2018 I am most thankful as I am every day for that 21 year old Sanford Coed, that Lee County Junior Miss, that bundle of sunshine and determination, that went by the name of Pamela Gaye Byrd.

John and Pam

God put you in my life for a reason. I needed structure, organization, love, acceptance, and a gentle soul to calm my restlessness. I needed you and you gave your all. Not a day passes that I don’t think of you. Every time I see Ayden I see you in her. Her personality matches your. I know you are with her everyday and that you ride on the shoulder of Lindsay each day.

I am the luckiest man in the World and I thank God everyday for all the gifts he has given me. Every day is Thanksgiving in my heart.

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