Giving thanks to those who work on holidays

Published 7:50 am Thursday, November 22, 2018

Last Friday, just before lunch, the turkeys started to arrive. To Shady Lawn and Bluff Center and Heritage House they came, 25 birds in all, serving as an early sign of Thanksgiving and a thank you to the people who live and work there.

The turkeys were donated by Tennessee Titans cornerback and former Vicksburg High football star Malcolm Butler to the city’s senior homes. His mother, Deborah Butler, worked at one of them for years and Malcolm saw first hand how staff and patients at the facilities can often be forgotten or overlooked during the holidays.

Butler’s foundation, led by his mother, sister Demetra, and Cynthia Bell, worked to bring a little cheer to the residents and employees of the homes.

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It was a wonderful gesture, and the reason behind it is one we should all remember this Thanksgiving. Not everyone gets a holiday. While the vast majority of us have the day off to visit family, gorge, watch football and limber up to rush the door of our favorite stores on Black Friday, the world keeps on turning.

Places like nursing homes care for their residents 24-7, so nurses and caregivers must stay on the clock along with them. Gas stations and grocery stores stay open, which require someone to man the registers and stock the shelves. Football games, including the Egg Bowl and the Saints-Falcons game in the Superdome tonight, provide us with holiday entertainment but still need hard-working people to make it happen.

Even some restaurants stay open on a day where home-cooked food reigns supreme. If you go past a Waffle House today, check out the parking lot. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of their busiest days of the year.

There’s a scene in the original “Rocky” where the title character takes his girlfriend Adrian on a date. She points out that it’s Thanksgiving, to which he responds, “Yeah, but to me it’s just Thursday.”

For a lot of folks in this country, that rings true. Thanksgiving is just another Thursday. A day like any other, where they’ll get up and go to work, or celebrate around their schedule.

If you get out and about, try to keep that in mind. You don’t have to donate turkeys to every nursing home you pass, but a little kindness and perhaps a nice tip won’t hurt. Donate a smile or an extra dollar. Start spreading some early holiday cheer. Everyone will be better off for it.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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