Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, November 25, 2019
Over the past six years, it has been my pattern to take a moment at Thanksgiving to give exactly that — thanks.
1. Being 65.577 inches tall means that I fit nicely in the middle seat on Southwest, able to fight for either of the armrests (like in baseball, “it only takes one.”) After all, do you really want to be LeBron?
2. My wife did not exercise her free agency clause this year, so I am good for another season. I have been advised that there were several teams who would have paid up, but since I do all the cooking and the fry pans are not community property, I think she made a good decision.
3. My assistant of 26 years, Nicole, has also resisted free agency. During the past decades, clients have come in and right in front of me, without blinking, offered her more money, a bigger desk and more vacation. So far, she has stayed the course, but last week, when my client offered to throw in a Lamborghini, I could see her hesitate for just a moment.
4. My children and stepchildren and grandchildren. Enough said.
5. My city. Again, there are not enough words to express the gratitude I feel to be here. I know we have a myriad of issues, but we have leaders who work on them and regardless of which pothole makes you crazy, I truly believe in their good efforts, their goodwill and their good achievements.
6. Every nonprofit organization that touches this community. Hard work is often done behind the scenes for those less fortunate and we all are beneficiaries.
7. The media. This one is nuanced. There is social, print, digital, televised and blogs and blurbs galore. But in the end, I believe there is a truth that always emerges, and I understand that while it is messy, the search for that truth is an evolving process. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs.
8. The ecosystem. Again, across all categories. This town is vibrant. I know this because there is some kind of event, fundraiser, speech, panel, program or meeting almost every night of the year. This is an engaged community with strong points of view on a multitude of issues and initiatives. Great. We are not a “small town,” and the visions being floated are worthy of intense discussion and suggest big things to come, regardless of your politics.
9. The challenge. “May you live in interesting times,” is an old saying. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Embrace the insanity, because it is exactly that which keeps you sane.
My final thanks are personal. I am reasonably healthy, and I deeply acknowledge the good fortune that I have received. And so I give thanks that I can continue to try to do better, to improve the lot of others, to make people laugh from time to time, to remain engaged in this world — in other words, I am thankful to be alive.
I am always deeply moved when I read the New York Times’ Neediest Cases stories. They have been doing this for 100 years, but you don’t have to travel to the Big Apple to see this world. Those stories are right here, right now, up close and personal. Do not give up. The journey always starts with the first step. And finally, remember that there but for the grace of God go all of us.
Count your blessings.