In March 1975, during my senior year in high school, country music singer John Denver released a new single record with the song, Thank God I’m a Country Boy. That year, only six songs made it to the top of both the Billboard Hot Country Singles Charts and the Billboard Hot 100.
At that time, the Billboard Hot 100 included the week’s most popular songs across all genres. Rankings were based on record sales, radio airplay, and jukebox activity.
To this day, whenever I hear Thank God I’m a Country Boy, my spirits are lifted and I feel grateful for what I have.
There’s a video on YouTube of a 1977 TV special, where John Denver performed the song with a backup group that was made up of three additional great country music performers: Johnny Cash, playing the guitar; Roger Miller, playing the fiddle; and Glen Campbell, playing the banjo.
In the area below the YouTube video is a comment from one of Denver’s fans: “I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back and be there.” Most people who were teenagers during the 1970s (including me) would love to go back and “be there” for a performance of their favorite musician.
Denver’s Thank God I’m a Country Boy came to my mind last week when I realized that Thanksgiving Day was right around the corner.
While it’s good that we have a day set aside each year to reflect and be thankful for everything that we have, one day a year is not enough. Unfortunately, most of us are so busy that it’s easy to go several days without consciously giving thanks for what we have.
If you’re familiar with Thank God I’m a Country Boy, you’ll recognize a refrain that’s repeated throughout the song:
Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle
When the sun’s comin’ up I got cakes on the griddle
Life ain’t nothin’ but a funny, funny riddle
Thank God I’m a country boy
Like John Denver, I’m blessed with a fine wife and food on the table. I’m also blessed with fine children, grandchildren, parents, and extended family members. But one of the things that I’m most thankful for is that I was baptized and raised as a Catholic.
If I was any good at writing songs, I would write a song with the title, Thank God I’m a Catholic Boy. One of the things I would sing about would be that I’m thankful for the Christ child who came to Earth, so He could be sacrificed for my salvation.
I would also be thankful for His mother, who has continually guided me throughout my life.
I would also be thankful for my guardian angel, who was assigned to watch over, guide, and protect me when I was conceived in my mother’s womb, and has assisted me throughout my life.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank God for giving me and my fellow Catholics the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Communion, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.
I would also want to thank the Holy Spirit for His seven gifts, which I rely on to get through each day: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
And I would want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to wake up each day knowing that I can tap into and benefit from the virtues of faith, hope, love, humility, courage, trust, generosity, purity, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, temperance, mortification, patience, sincerity, industriousness, and diligence.
Last but not least, something that I would be very thankful for is that we Catholics have a special, ongoing relationship with all the saints. We call this the “communion of the saints.” This special relationship allows those of us who are on Earth to be united with the souls who are in purgatory and heaven. We are all part of the single mystical body in which Christ is our Savior and King.
I suppose that one of the most compelling reasons to thank God for allowing me to be a Catholic boy is that I know with certainty that as long as I pick up my cross every day and follow Christ, I will someday enter into His kingdom where for all eternity, I’ll be in His presence and in the presence of the members of my family who also followed Him while they were on Earth.
The one thing that I’m looking forward to in the next life is that I’ll always be completely rested and free from pain, anxiety, despair, and sickness. And I’ll constantly be surrounded by joyous music, spiritual energy and enlightenment, and eternal happiness.
Wow, we Catholics really do have a lot to be thankful for. And we should be willing to show our appreciation for the many gifts and blessings that we’ve received from God by sharing our faith with as many people as possible, so they can also benefit from the great gifts that we tend to take for granted.
Thank God I’m a Catholic boy!