Josh McKinney

As I reflect on my 30th Thanksgiving this past Thursday, I realize how thankful I am for the life I’ve been given. I enjoyed getting together with my wife’s family for lunch and my family for dinner — although I ate far too much — because honestly, it isn’t all that often that we’re able to spend time together anymore.

Speaking of family, my own little family of myself, my wife Christine and our dog Cooper is extremely special to me. Next July Christine and I will celebrate 10 years of dating and five years of marriage, while Cooper has been with us for just over two years since we adopted him as an 11-week-old puppy.

I’m also very close to my grandma on my dad’s side. I actually lived with my grandparents for most of my formative years, so I have always felt that I have an even deeper relationship with mine than most. I miss my grandpa dearly around the holidays, but he has spent the last two Thanksgivings in heaven, so I can’t complain too much.

In addition to my immediate family and my extended family, which continues to extend due to several babies being born in the past few years, I am also thankful for my job here at the Hickory Daily Record. I took over as sports editor in July and while I miss many of the people I got to know during my time at The Daily Courier in Forest City, it is great to be closer to Burke County, which is where I grew up.

Covering Fred T. Foard’s 2A state championship volleyball team this fall was one of the best experiences of my professional career thus far. The Tigers also brought home a 2A state title in girls tennis thanks to the doubles team of Alexis Wolgemuth and Hannah Cummings, while the Lenoir-Rhyne football team enters today’s NCAA Division II second-round playoff game at 12-0 for the first time in school history.

I still think of myself as somewhat of an athlete as well, as I enter my third year playing in the Catawba Valley’s YMCA adult basketball league this winter after several years away from playing competitively. I also plan to try to help my church team capture our third straight championship in the Morganton Parks and Recreation league, which kicks off in a couple of weeks.

Playing basketball is an amazing outlet for me. I still love the game and I enjoy competition and developing a brotherhood with my teammates. It also gives me something productive to do outside of work so that I don’t go completely insane.

I haven’t been able to attend church as much as I would like over the past few months, but I have called Morganton First Church of God home for most of my life. I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks for the body of believers who fill the pews there on a weekly basis. Many of them have poured into my life and helped make me the man that I am today.

Additionally, I am thankful for Jesus Christ himself. I am thankful that he loves me in spite of my faults, which are many. I am thankful that he never leaves me nor forsakes me, even when I don’t give him the time of day. I am thankful for his unconditional love, which surrounds me every day and helps me deal with all of life’s madness.

I am also thankful for you, the reader. Thank you for subscribing to this paper or to the online version of our publication. You wouldn’t believe how much work the people here put in, the holidays they miss with their families, the late nights and early mornings they deal with. It’s a great group of people, and I’m proud to be a member of the HDR family.

There’s so much more I could give thanks for, but at the end of the day, I’m just thankful to be alive. This world can be a scary place sometimes, particularly in today’s day and age, but I am grateful to have grown up in the United States of America. This is home to me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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