On this Thanksgiving holiday, I would like to take the opportunity to share with all of you the things that I am most thankful for.
First and foremost, I am most thankful for my family. As much as I love living here in Vegas, there is a tinge of sadness because I can’t be back in Nashville celebrating turkey day with those closest to me. So I a raise a toast to them—
To Dad and my stepmom Karen—thank you for always being a great example of how people can live their lives by always putting other people first and respecting the choices that your kids make. We all turned out pretty well, in no small part due you your guidance and example.
To Mom—thank you for all of the effort you put into being close to your kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. Some of my best memories of Nashville are all the times we sat outside by the fire, drinking coffee, watching the lightning bugs, and talking about whatever came up. Oh, and all the times I kicked your ass at Sequence—that was pretty cool too.
To Sherry—thank you for all time good times we’ve had over the past couple of years—Road trips, dinner at Raz’z, or just hanging out and watching the Cardinals. And letting me raid your liquor cabinet was always nice, too.
To Cyndy and David—thank you for EVERYTHING! From opening your home to be the social gathering place for the entire family, to all of the helpful things you do, both big and small, which make life easier for everyone. I couldn’t even begin to compile a list of all the kindness you’ve shown me over the years, but I am truly thankful and blessed to have such a wonderful sister and brother-in-law.
To Nancy—thank you for always making me proud of you and all you’ve accomplished. You have no idea how often I brag about you. Lurking around Russia like a cold-war spy, traveling the world, training astronauts for cryin’ out loud? Are you kiddin’ me? You and Mark need to come to Vegas and get silly with me for a couple of days. Enough of that globetrotting stuff…
To David and Angie—thank you both for always making sure we have a great time whenever we get together. Not only are the stories epic, but I never knew that I could have so much fun in Alabama. And thanks to you, I firmly believe that no holiday weekend with the family is complete without alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.
To Amy—thank you for always keeping me laughing. No matter what we talk about, it’s always served with a generous helping of laughter. Your zest for life is contagious, and I always look forward to hearing from you. I think everyone would agree that our family would be most incomplete if you hadn’t come along. You are truly the glue that holds us all together.
To all of my gorgeous nieces and handsome nephews—thank you all for keeping me young. Even though the beard is getting gray and the calendar has started to mock me with it’s progress, the simple joy of watching you all grow up into wonderful young adults is one of life’s great pleasures. I love spoiling you when I get the chance, and doing my duty as an uncle by introducing you to all of the things your parents would never approve of is kind of fun, too.
To Ed, Eddie, Derek, and Tamm—thank you all for being such great friends for the past several years. They say that you can judge the character of a man by the friends he has. That can’t be true, as you guys are some of the finest people I’ve ever known—I know that I don’t deserve to be associated with such a great crowd. I hope we can all grow old together, irritating our handlers at the old folks home by fingerpainting with our own poo and other such silliness.
To Kelly, Dane, Al, Dougie, Dawn, Jer, Terry, Sammi, Angy, Ron, and Bill—thank you for all of your kindness, generosity, support, and friendship, especially over the past year or so. Without all of you in my life, things would have been much tougher. Words cannot adequately describe how lucky I feel to know all of you and include you in my circle of friends. I know we have a lot of laughs when we get together, but behind all of that I have a deep appreciation for you all as just being ‘some of the good guys’.
To Old Friends whom I’ve lost touch with—The South County gang, Mark, Steve, Matt, Jim, Adrian, Kimmie, and Richie—you guys were the greatest, probably still are. I hope that wherever you may be you are finding happiness and fulfillment with the diverse paths you have chosen. Some memories will never go away, and a lot of them include you fine people.
To Lost Loves—Stephani & Jennifer, Maria, Trisha, Kathryn, and Brenda—thank you for the experience and perspective that I gained from our times together. I could pour my heart out for days writing about each of you, but let me just say that the lessons in love and experience with heartbreak still shapes my outlook to this day. I treasure every moment I spent with each of you.
To the people that inspire me the most—Kim du Toit, Tania Aebi, Herb Payson, Bill Whittle, Bob Bitchin, Jay Nordlinger, and Victor Davis Hanson. Not only is your writing top-notch, but the depth of your life experience is something others can only aspire to. You are all equally responsible for keeping my dreams alive.
Finally I’m thankful for my friend Vanessa—sometimes people come into your life that brighten it more than you previously thought possible. You're one of those people that always manages to make me smile, no matter how bad a day I might be having. You laugh at my jokes, share the same interests as I, and make me feel important. But most of all, you make me feel like I’m not alone. For that I am most grateful.
In addition to family and friends—there are lots of other things that I am thankful for that I remember in moments of quiet introspection. I’m thankful for the foresight and fortitude of the Founding Fathers. I know how lucky I am to be a citizen of the greatest country in the history of civilization. I don’t know if I’d have the cajones to do the things they did. Lives, fortunes, and sacred honor—it’s amazing to think about. I’m thankful for the volunteer soldiers, sailors, and Marines who are sacrificing much, sometimes all, to keep the rest of us fat, safe, and happy back at home. May God watch over and protect them and bring them home as soon as the job is done. I’m thankful for a Commander In Chief who has the stones to stay the course, regardless of the vicious slings and arrows thrust at him on a daily basis. History will judge him far more objectively than the pundits of today. I’m thankful for the giants of humanity that created so many of the things that I take for granted today. I couldn’t imagine living in a time without telephones, air travel, automobiles, healing medicines, or even computers. Two days without hot water damn near drove me crazy. Again, those that came before were much tougher than me. I’m thankful for their hard work and sacrifice, which benefits all of us. I’m especially thankful for the creative process and those gifted enough to harness it. I am constantly awestruck by beautiful art, architecture, literature, and especially music. The power to create something that speaks to so many people on such a deep emotional level is an amazing thing that I find endlessly fascinating. I’m thankful for the small serving of talents that I possess. I’m a fair teacher, writer, and cook. And I can always manage to find some humor, no matter how grave the situation may be. I’m thankful that I have a quick wit and the ability to share it. I’m thankful to live in a wonderful city that provides me with so many opportunities. Most people only dream about living here, but I’m here living the life 24/7. As some would say, the juice is worth the squeeze. And finally I’m thankful for the trials and experiences that have marked my life for the past five years. I’ve had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but I’ve managed to survive, thrive, grow, and learn. As Brother Jimmy once said—some of it’s magic, and some of it’s tragic, but I’ve had a good life anyways.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!