If this sounds familiar, it is because, in the great tradition of Herb Caen and Jon Carroll (both now gone from the Chronicle and nearly forgotten), I am recycling my 13 previous Thanksgiving messages from 22 years (including the 2013-2020 gap).
This year we were in Orinda, California, my wife and my older daughter and her husband and their son, and my younger daughter. Peas in a pod.
I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I am enjoying retirement, 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.
My most important role is as husband to Vicki and father to my daughters.
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, as I did for two decades.
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 for the many people whose decisions, in their own best interest, led me to a wonderful life in my best interest. Most of them don’t even know what they did for me, but I thank several of them by name in my prayers every morning. I have never met some of them, but I owe them all an unrepayable debt of thanks.
I am thankful for my loving and understanding wife of 40 years, 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.
I lost my brother this year, too soon. I am grateful that the pain of his final years has ended.
I am thankful for 230 pounds; down 70 from my peak. I am thankful for the fact that I will still be near that weight next year at Thanksgiving. Especially the last 20 pounds, a pleasant side effect of an exchange of forgiveness this year.
Every week at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Orinda (now meeting on Zoom), the former vicar concluded 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 had a great Thanksgiving!