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How many folks do you need to thank?
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Yes, I did write about expressing gratitude just a couple of weeks ago, but after the Sept. 8 Community Picnic and several other occasions, I feel the urge to do it in more detail. I am sure you can make your own (different) personal list.


First of all, it didn’t rain — at least not a  downpour, such as we have experienced at that annual (13 years) affair.


I remember the first two chamber of commerce countywide picnics, which were held at the Fred Stowers Farm. It was an ambitious undertaking in a lovely setting, but it turned out to be so successful that a larger venue had to be found.


Thankfully, Amicalola State Park came to the rescue.


At the Tuesday gathering, Chamber Chairman Jay Walker gave a long list of people and groups who were responsible for all the planning, entertainment, food, door prizes, etc. I can’t repeat it, but I do want to a provide a loud “Amen.”


From high school students to graying veterans, from park and chamber staffs to dozens of volunteers, Dawson Countians can be proud of its people.


We enjoyed the music of Spencer’s choral group and others; we relished Gordon Pirkle’s usual good picnic fare, as well as soft drinks and ice cream from other sources. We marveled at animals and their handlers. The children rode, ran and generally had a grand time. Everyone listened for their prize numbers to be called. And it was all free. Who could ask for a better place to live?


I thought about that question again as I attended the short Memorial Service at the Emergency Services Headquarters on Sept. 11. Thanks to the organizers of that event, where the high school singers and graying veterans again helped us to be grateful for those who protect and care for us in so many ways.


Everywhere I turn, there seems to be someone helping. It may be a church group providing love and support for a grieving family or a seriously ill individual. It may be an organization providing books for children or medical care for the indigent or food for the needy — all being distributed and often donated by individual volunteers. It may be a single person making a special effort to relieve the stress of a friend, relative, or even a neighbor whom he/she scarcely knows.


Personally, I am grateful that even professionals will be kind and generous to decrepit old ladies in dire situations. The Wednesday night storm, which had my power off for three hours, and my TV for a much longer period, also brought down a huge pine tree (not on my house, thank the Lord) at the mouth of my driveway and caused my well pump to activate and do permanent damage. (Yes, I have Etowah Water and Sewer Authority service, but I also have a pump house.) But the tree service man and plumber answered my distress calls readily and pleasantly.


So, as I realize that my list could go on and on, I repeat: Is there a better place to live?


Helen Taylor’s column appears periodically in the Dawson Community News.