By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
You may not realize it, but what you’re doing now just may become a tradition.
And it may be something as simple, and wonderful, as just being part of a loving family.
Terry Bunner comes from what he calls “a working class, American family.”
He’s from Lewisport, Ky., a small country town along the Ohio River.
“Everybody knows everybody,” he said. That kind of town.
His mom and her side of the family still live there, he added.
While his family is kind of scattered all over — a brother works for the military in Florida and a sister teaches school in Indiana — they are still close.
He’s even remained close to his ex-wife ... so close, in fact, that when she asked him to drive her back to Lewisport to see her family for Thanksgiving, he didn’t give it a second thought.
“I could see my mother, too,” he said. “That way we would have a good Thanksgiving.”
She offered to spring for gas and food.
“I thought that was wonderful of her to do that,” he said. “I feel like a happy man that somebody could come and ask me to do a nice favor for them.”
Lewisport is the kind of town that people want to come back to.
“It’s a special little town,” he said. “People help out people in time of need. Everybody treats everybody nicely, even when they’re down on their luck.”
He moved to Fairmont in 2006 and said he gets the same treatment from Fairmonters.
“I feel that people are nice to me here any place I go in this area. I enjoy the hospitality.”
He said he “really appreciates” the veterans group he belongs to, VFW Post 7048.
“When I was growing up in Kentucky and Lewisport, I spent time with my mom’s family,” he said. “My grandparents were living at the time, and we’d have this great, wonderful Thanksgiving and special Christmas each year.
“We all loved each other and cared for each other. That meant a lot to me. That’s the reason why I grew up learning to respect people and admire people for what they’ve done in their lifetimes.
“This has made me very, very happy.
“We all worked hard. But the love was always there for each of our family members.”
He may be far from home, but he’s not far from family.
“I have a lot of Bunners who care about me, too. I enjoy going to the family reunions at Bunner Ridge and seeing all the other Bunners. I like to see them and enjoy their company. We have a great time at Bunner Ridge.”
He said his father met his mother while he was in the military stationed in Kentucky.
“They fell in love and got married,” he said. “I grew up loving my mother, and showing respect and honor for my dad to be in the military.
“I grew up thinking about some day I’ll see my dad when he came home. I think the world of him.”
His parents later divorced and his mother remarried.
Still, he remains close to his family. He has a daughter in Kentucky and two grandchildren he hasn’t seen yet, he said.
“But I guess I’m a lucky man. I have a lot to give thanks for, absolutely. You can look at another person and realize how lucky you are.”
He said he’s thankful for the little things in life, like driving through the state, seeing a Pirates game, watching the trains in Grafton.
Most of all, though, he’s thankful for his family.
“I like to spend Christmas in peace and think about the Lord Jesus Christ. I like spending time with my dad and stepmom. I enjoy the peace and serenity of being home for Christmas.
“That is so special to me.
“This is a special time of year,” he said. “I think the Lord looks down at me as a special person in this world. I bring friendship and happiness to all my friends and family.
“Family means a lot to me. I don’t take Christmas for granted. I enjoy my good friends.
“That’s how I feel.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at email@example.com.