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David Freeze: A year like a giant storybook

It is time for my favorite column again. This year has been more like the chapters of a giant storybook, on bright and glossy pages. Almost everything has been truly wonderful, and constant reminders of true blessings always astound me. Here are just some of the things that I am thankful for.
The chance to meet and visit with so many of America’s true heroes, our military veterans, through my writing for the Post. People like Salisbury’s Bill Howard and Greensboro’s Tom Cochran, plus the unforgettable Floyd Daugherty of Landis. When I talk with them, I hang on every word. With so many of our older veterans leaving us each year, each conversation is such a memorable gift.
A two hour ride to Georgia on the Memphis Belle, the B-17 bomber made famous in the movie of the same name.
Another year of eclipsing my goal of meeting a new person every day. This year has set records in that area. Imagine my surprise stopping at a convenience store in Jonesville and hearing, “I know who you are!”
My youngest daughter, Amber, getting her own home in the area, so visits can be easier.
A safe trip across the country on my bike this past summer, experiencing the adventures and challenges of a lifetime. There were a few incidents where I found myself in harrowing situations, but I will always believe that the power of prayer, both yours and mine, protected me throughout.
The constant reminder that good health shouldn’t be taken for granted. I had a tough go with blood clots and the discovery of a brain tumor over the last two months. The blood clots are just about gone, and the brain tumor took an amazing turn in the last few days. After weeks of visiting different doctors and a neurosurgeon, my most recent MRI revealed a brain free of any tumor. In fact, there was nothing at all that looked abnormal. Doctors have no explanation yet, but I do have CDs that show the earlier tumor and the current absence of it. I will always believe that prayer handled this situation, too.
A great job for Ashley, my older daughter, one that she really likes, and the same for her husband Dale.
Plenty of amazing charities that are doing yeomen’s work to take care of those who struggle. Nothing picks up your mood like giving to another, especially at this time of year. The news that the United Way has made its goal and watching the Rowan Helping Ministries new building nearing completion are just two great examples. And while money is important, giving of your time is something that nearly everyone can do.
North Rowan High School’s historic football season, undefeated so far and practicing today.
The LandTrust for Central North Carolina, constantly working to preserve our farmland and wooded areas for future generations.
Knowledgeable friends like Elizabeth Cook, Andy Mooney, Susan Shinn, Joe Ellis, Kurt Corriher, Ed Norvell and Deal Safrit who helped steer the completion of my first book, “Lord, Ride With Me Today.” The book will be available Monday at Skinny Wheels Bike Shop and the Forum of Salisbury.
Plenty of opportunities to talk to civic and other groups about the bicycle ride and other things, but more so the opportunity to learn more about the work that these organizations do and meet their members.
Christmas lights on a 55-foot-tall windmill in my backyard.
The ability to motivate those who want to be runners, and all the support from Salisbury Parks and Recreation, Novant Health, RCCC and many others. New group classes begin in January.
The assurance that Rowan County is the best place to live. I was fortunate enough to see large portions of our great country during this past year, and never saw another place worth considering.
The best newspaper around, the Salisbury Post. I’m glad they let me write as often as they do.
All of your support through the bicycle journey and health issues once I got home. Every day brought new conversations with the wonderful people in the areas around Salisbury. A joyous holiday season with family and friends, grateful for our continued blessings, but remembering that how we use them is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.

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