If this sounds familiar, it is because, in the great tradition of Herb Caen and Jon Carroll, I am recycling my nine previous Thanksgiving messages. I missed a year--maybe I was too distracted by teaching.
Once again this year we will all be in Orinda, along with my nephew Paul. Who knows what wackiness will ensue this year. Vicki and Marlow both have to work the week of Thanksgiving, but for the second time, I have the whole week off. I pay for it at the end of the school year, which is now the second week of June instead of the first.
I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a job that still gets better every year, I have my health, such as it is, and I have my family. I can't imagine why I would bother getting out of bed each morning if not for my wife and my two girls.
Regular readers know I earned my teaching credential and now teach 8th grade US History at a middle school. It is still true that I have not been this excited and challenged since 1974, when I started working as a professional journalist. This is my sixth year. Each year gets easier, and I get better, but it never gets easy.
Still, my most important role is as husband to Vicki and father to Marlow and Rae. Of course, Marlow is now has an apartment in the city and works now, so I only see her once in a while. Rae is also in her own apartment.
I think we all lose perspective sometimes, forget what's really important. We get wrapped up in our jobs and spend too much time working on them, both at home and in the office.
The years I spent full-time with my girls are priceless. The time I spend with them now is priceless as well.
Not everyone can work in a home office--and I don't any more.
But no matter where you work, the next time you have to make the tough call between the meeting and the soccer game, go to the soccer game. You'll never regret it. I am thankful for my family. Be thankful for yours.
Also give thanks for your friends and your good fortune. Spread that good fortune around in any way you can. I have much to be thankful for this holiday season, as I have had every year of my life.
I am thankful that I have two living loving parents and a loving brother. I am thankful for my loving and understanding wife, and for the two most wonderful daughters I could have imagined, both of them turning into vibrant, intelligent young women before my very eyes.
I am thankful for every sunrise and sunset I get to see, every moment I get to be in, every flower I try so desperately to stop and smell. I am thankful that I can move closer every day to living a life in balance. Every morning, I am grateful to be alive. Not a bad way to start the day. For reasons I don't want to detail, I am extremely grateful just to be alive.
I am thankful for 235; up five pounds, but only five pounds, and down 65 from my peak. I am thankful for the fact that I will still be near that weight next year at Thanksgiving.
Every week at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Orinda, the priest concludes the service with this homily. The provenance seems uncertain; the Internet lists several attributions. All I know is, it touches me every time I hear it and is sound advice for life:
Remember that life is short and we have too little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So be quick to be kind, make haste to love, and may the blessing of God be with you now and always."
It has been with me. I hope it is with you. In the meantime, I am thankful, finally, for each and every one of you reading this column. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!