Radiothon brings to mind reasons to be thankful

Anyone else wondering where 2012 has gone? Here it is, Halloween is a memory, Thanksgiving is knocking at the door and, of course, Christmas sales, music and TV shows are nearly in full bloom.

I try to be thankful all year long, by counting my blessings and being grateful for my family, friends and job. During this celebratory time of year, I’ve come to learn it’s also a time to remember those who are rejoicing in a higher place. Our 15th annual Cares for Kids Radiothon, benefitting Dayton Children’s, starts on Monday. For the three days before Thanksgiving, we’ll be telling you stories about this wonderful facility through the eyes of the children and their families.

My former morning show partner, the late, great Steve Kerrigan, often told me that was some of the most meaningful radio work he ever did, and as most of you know, Kerrigan is a radio icon. He would so look forward to the radiothon’s big reveal on Wednesday evening because his kids would come.

Steve’s been gone nearly two years, after bravely battling multiple myeloma. Now sadly for us, but happy for him, his youngest daughter, Sophie, has been reunited with her father and grandfathers. Sophie and her friends Skylar Kooken and Julianna Hawk lost their lives in a tragic truck crash nearly two weeks ago.

When our loved ones leave us, it’s hard to imagine ever being happy again, let alone wanting to take part in the hustle and bustle of this time of year. It will be the second Thanksgiving without my mom. She was the central figure around this celebration, always insisting it be at my parents’ little house in South Charleston.

There were nine of us jammed around the table, overloaded with a giant turkey and all the trimmings. All capped off with the infamous Wilson family “puking turkey.” Mom would ceremoniously present the Pilgrim-hat-wearing turkey gravy boat to one of the four grandsons for the honor of pouring out the first glop. The gravy came out of the turkey’s mouth, thus the “puking.”

My sister hosted Thanksgiving dinner last year, and Dad brought along the turkey boat, but it wasn’t the same. Maybe this year, we’ll go back to my parents’ home. Even though Mom’s chair will be empty, there’ll be four young men surrounding the table: a 21-year-old who is on his own and attending Sinclair College; an 18-year-old Kentucky Christian University football playing freshman; a soon to be 17-year-old Madison Plains High School junior and 14-year-old freshman, Andy. Add in my dad, me, my sister and Rachel, and that’s quite a crowd. Wonder who will get the honor of the yakking turkey this year? No matter, somewhere Mom is smiling, and for that I will be forever grateful.

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