Ansel and I were next door neighbors on Woodruff Street in Woodruff. He is two years older and was my hero and mentor long before I knew what mentor meant. Ansel was good at everything and naturally I wanted to follow in his footsteps. We had some great adventures together and he beat me up on a regular basis. Our families were very close and his parents felt almost like my parents. He was very active at Northside Baptist Church and has a wonderful singing voice. He introduced me to classical music when I went with him to see the movie, “The Great Caruso.” We both graduated from Furman University and he went into the military and later the ministry. We maintained contact through his mother. He eventually came back to South Carolina as pastor of Parisview Baptist Church and we re-connected. Ansel has been a forceful voice for racial harmony and a moderate voice opposing the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is devoted to his wonderful wife Susie. Today I am very thankful for the gift of Ansel McGill in my life. 

            Thankful Thursday is a day for saying thank you to those people who have influenced your life. Let him or her know how grateful you are. Write a note. Call her or him on the telephone or send an E-mail. Just be sure to do it. It is too important. Don’t put it off.