By John J. Duncan Jr.

As regular readers of this column know, I recently lost my sweet wife, Lynn, certainly the toughest thing I have ever been through.

But I feel guilty in writing that because her last few months were hundreds of times tougher on her.

And all she asked me to do those last few months was to be with her almost every minute and hold her hand as much as possible.

But my children, grandchildren, and I were blessed to have been able to surround Lynn with great love those last three months.

So, I have decided to write this column about ways that I have been greatly blessed in my life – one filled with far too many blessings to list in just one column.

First, I thank God every day for Lynn and that I was blessed to have such a good woman in my life for 44 years.

I hope and pray and believe that she is in Heaven now in the happiest, healthiest condition she has ever been in.

And I pray every day that I will be allowed to go to Heaven someday to be reunited with her and to be able to hold her and hug her and kiss her once again. I used to tease her that she did not like to kiss me nearly as much as I loved to kiss her, she had such soft lips.

I hope in some angelic, miraculous way, she has been able to hear and read all the wonderful things people have said or written to me about her over these last several weeks.

Other great blessings that I often take for granted but am very thankful for:

  1. Four kind and loving, supportive adult children and nine really wonderful grandchildren, and all in Knoxville.
  2. A great father and mother. As Ray Hill once told me, I won the lottery with my parents.
  3. My brother and sisters.
  4. Many good friends and all the people who have been kind to me and for those who voted for me in all my elections.
  5. I can see and hear.
  6. I have all my body parts and am not paralyzed in any way. I once told a cattlemen’s dinner in Monroe County that the rest of my body wasn’t too much to brag about but that I was blessed with some of the greatest tastebuds. I love to eat.
  7. All the food, clothes, and water I have had over the years.
  8. I can think and speak.
  9. I can touch, and taste and swallow.
  10. All the jobs that have enabled me to support my family.
  11. My homes and places I have been allowed to stay.
  12. My travels. My grandparents almost never left Scott County, but I have been allowed to travel all over the United States and to many foreign countries.
  13. The diseases God and doctors and medicines have healed me from or kept me from getting in the first place.
  14. Sports I have enjoyed playing through the years, now mainly golf and a little swimming, and watching sports, especially UT.
  15. My wife always told me I had too many but I love to read, and I once read that readers are never bored.
  16. I sang many places in a Congressional quartet for about three years. We once sang on the Grand Old Opry, and the News-Sentinel wrote an article about it in which I said “I don’t sing well, but I sing enthusiastically.”
  17. Freedom and that I was born and have lived all my life in the United States of America.
  18. Laughter.
  19. Many good teachers.
  20. Bob Griffitts, my uncle Joe, and Zane Daniel, three special men who really helped me in my career.
  21. This day.
  22. Seventy-four healthy, active years of life. Lou Gehrig, in the most famous speech in sports history, told a packed Yankee Stadium in 1939 that in spite of dying with ALS, he was “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” He died less than two years later; a few days short of his 38th birthday. I have been far luckier.
  23. The Republican Party and conservatives who have kept this country free and prosperous.
  24. Not being in any plane crashes or major wrecks in spite of thousands of hours in the air and on the road.
  25. The privilege of prayer.

I am thankful to God for all these blessings and more every day.