It has been a tough year and when we think of things to be thankful for we pause because of the more than 260,000 people who have died from the coronavirus and the difficulties that it has caused.
It became even more difficult last week when my niece Brenda Rains and friend Henry Martin passed away.
Brenda was the daughter of my oldest sister Inez Young. She was married to Donnie Rains of Williamsburg for over 60 years.
It is not often that a person has a niece one year younger than you, but that was the case with Brenda. We were more like brother and sister than uncle and niece.
As kids we played together and in high school we had classes together. I liked that because she was so smart and I knew I could call on her to help me with my studies. Not only that, she was so pretty I would brag about her being my niece.
My father was a highway contractor and he had to go where the work was. In the summers my mother went with him. I would spend the summers living with my sister Inez, her husband Talmadge and of course Brenda.
It was good times. I remember playing touch football on south Kentucky Street in Corbin in front of their house, listening to 45 rpm records and having a gang of young people around much of the time.
We had a big family and the family gatherings were great. I shared those times with Brenda.
After high school both of us attended college. She became a teacher at Whitley County High School and I started working at WCTT radio station.
She and Donnie moved into the same apartment building with their baby daughter Betsy that Judy and I moved to.
Later in life we went on some vacations together and saw each other often. She and Donnie were a perfect couple.
It was so sad when she was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago. This is a terrible disease and hopefully a cure will come.
Brenda was a big part of my life and she will be missed.
Also, we will miss Henry “Buddy” Martin. There was none like him and I don’t suspect there will ever be another like him. He was a devoted Redhound fan to the very end.
I have known Buddy and his wife June since high school days. He and I talked often through the years and replayed many ball games.
He was always there in his Redhound attire supporting the coaches and teams. He was Mr. Redhound!
The games will never be the same without Buddy in the stands. He will be missed.
As I said at the beginning , it has been a tough year but we have much to be thankful for in spite of the conditions.
You and I can make the upcoming year much better by wearing a mask and doing what we are told to do during this pandemic.
I came back to this job as publisher two weeks before the virus hit. I know how hard it is to run a business during this time. But if we all join in and do what we should do and with the help of a vaccine the bad days will soon be behind us.
That is when we will really be thankful. In the meantime be safe, enjoy your Thanksgiving and keep reading the News Journal. Happy Thanksgiving!