Wednesday, November 21, 2018

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER THANKSGIVING DAY

LOTS OF THINGS FOR WHICH TO BE THANKFUL
Here we are, on Thanksgiving Day, 2018, and I’ve decided to write another entry on this blog.  I have more to say than I feel comfortable trying to squeeze into a Facebook post, but my Facebook buddies can read this because I’ll link to it. As an old coot, I’ve seen many of these Thanksgiving Days and every year I am, indeed, thankful for the wonderful things I have in my life.  I’ll list a few for you and maybe it will stir some memories of your own.
THANKFUL FOR MY SWEET SUSIE
Right at the top, I’m grateful for my sweet, loving and VERY patient wife, Susie.  We’ve been married for 51 years - and counting - and through it all she has been at my side, supporting me as we waded through five relocations, a couple career changes and, for the last more than 15 years, as I tried to enlighten the public with my political (and other) observations.  She’s been there as health issues slapped me around.  She is the BEST thing that ever happened to me in my life - and I’ve had a LOT of great things happen to me!
THANKFUL FOR MY PARENTS
I’m thankful for my family.  My parents, Bob and Dorothy West, were both hard-working people who did everything within their power to create a loving home for my two sisters and me.  Through their example we saw good, caring people.  Through their simple lesson of kindness and friendliness to others we learned a lesson that cannot be acquired through a costly education.  We learned how to treat people.  I learned to read sitting on my Mother’s lap at a very early age and that became foundational for everything I’ve done in life.  While working with my Father I saw, through his example, that through hard work, honesty and fairness a person  CAN succeed in business.  Although never wealthy, they found ways to permit us to do things that interested us - to help us to spread our wings.  I’m not sure we fully understood the sacrifices they made on our behalf until much later in life.  I miss them every day.
THANKFUL FOR MY SISTERS
I’m thankful for my two younger sisters, Linda and Cheryll.  I’ve learned a lot as I watched them navigate life, though the good and bad times.  I admire both of them for their steadfastness, the choices they’ve made and their accomplishments wives, as single Moms and as mothers to three wonderful children and grandmothers to a half-dozen lovely grandkids.  I’m thankful for my elder step-sister, Margaret, but have lost touch with her and her boys.  Things happen like that.

THANKFUL FOR AUNTS, UNCLES AND COUSINS
I’m thankful for my aunts and uncles, all of whom have now passed, and for their kids - my cousins.  They all have played a major role in my life and I’m happy some of us still remain in contact.  I love them all.
THANKFUL FOR SUSIE’S FAMILY, TOO…
I’m thankful for the wonderful family I became part of when I married my sweet Susie.  Her immigrant parents showed the world what newcomers to this country can accomplish.  They were smart, hard-working, kind, genteel, people who knew how to laugh and spread love to all around them.  Her three brothers are wonderful, successful men, who married wonderful women and who have become parents of nine great children and are now grandparents to eleven terrific kids.  I love them all.
THANKFUL FOR FRIENDS, OLD AND NEW
I’m thankful for old friends and new.  As we have traveled through life we’ve met some wonderful folks, many of whom have become not just correspondents, but good friends. I still meet a few high school classmates for lunch quarterly, but those numbers are dwindling.  I still have lunch most weeks of the year with a man I’ve known since the first day of kindergarten.  We share great childhood memories and a love of sports, so there’s never a loss for things to chat about.  We will celebrate our 60th high school reunion next year, when we will gather with many of our classmates to, once again, share wonderful stories of our lives.  I’m very lucky to have remained in touch with so many of those folks who helped shape the early years of my life.  Sadly, there will be many fewer this year than in years past.

THANKFUL FOR LARRY MOORE
I’m thankful for those friends who have passed on.  Life and circumstance takes its toll… sometimes much too early.  Those of you who have followed this blog know that I lost my best friend for 57 years, Larry Moore, 15 years ago when he succumbed to injuries from a motorcycle accident.  As I sat at his bedside for the six weeks he was in the Trauma Intensive Care Unit in that Las Vegas hospital, trying to help the doctors attending him to make the decisions that would return him to us, I spent a lot of time contemplating our lives together.  I almost always smiled - sometimes laughed out loud - as I thought about our adventures together.  It was almost like a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn story.  And, of course, there were times when I had tears running down my cheeks, too.  Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my friend.

THANKFUL FOR OTHERS, TOO…
And, there were many others who were part of my life that have left us.  Each of those, whether friend or family, made an impression on me and my life and I’m thankful for them.

THANKFUL FOR MY MILITARY BUDDIES
I’m thankful for the men with whom I shared a service commitment during the middle 1960’s, when the Vietnam War was heating up.  Some, like me, were draftees - summoned to serve due to the pending escalation of that war.  Others were volunteers, most of whom had signed up before Vietnam began to boil.  Together we shared the obligation of military service, even though it was not popular at the time.  I’m still in touch with some of them, or their surviving families, and am grateful for those relationships.
THANKFUL FOR MY BOSSES
I’m thankful to those men who helped nurture and shape my life in the business world.  Most of them are now gone, but certainly not forgotten. They saw things in me that I did not, and advanced my career much more rapidly than I could have expected.  They taught me to trust my gut in many circumstances, just as they trusted theirs when it came to opportunities made available to me.  When I leaped, head-first, out of a safe business nest into the world of consulting, it was due  in great part, to the confidence they had in me.  It turns out they were right.
THANKFUL FOR THE EDITORS
I’m thankful for those editors of local newspapers who published my early submissions and encouraged me to write more.  Many of them offered me a column, for which I have always been thankful, but always chose to respectfully decline.  I didn’t want to write on assignment.  I may occasionally submit something for them to consider and I’ll always be thankful if they print my thoughts.
THANKFUL FOR THE KIND WORDS
I’m very thankful for the kind words and encouragement of those who felt my contributions to the community were worthy of recognition.  It’s heady stuff when the blog, the work product of a simple, old guy with too much time on his hands, is recognized as the best in Orange County - twice - and when the editors of the Daily Pilot chose to include my name of those 103 individuals they felt were “influential” in the community - several times.  
THANKFUL TO THE CITY STAFF
I’m thankful to the men and women who work for the City of Costa Mesa - many of whom have become my friends - for, not only their professionalism and steadfastness in bleak times, but for their recognition of my support for their efforts.  A high point of my life was the day they presented me with a plaque of gratitude.
THANKFUL FOR YOU, TOO
I’m thankful, of course, for those of you who have read this blog over the years.  I’m thankful for those who chose to participate in the discussions here, to keep the dialogue going on important issues.  We’ve had some interesting discussions, where some of you tried to show me the error of my ways - usually unsuccessfully.   I will always be thankful for those discussions.
THANKFUL FOR MY DOCTORS
In recent years I’ve been very thankful for the doctors who now attend me more often than I would like.  I’ve worn a couple of them out and had to replace them with new guys.  Still, now that I’m well into my seventh decade of existence, it’s not unexpected for joints to need lubrication, critical parts to need tuning up and more attention paid to this old carcass in general.  I’m thankful for their patience as I ignore too many of their suggestions.  I’m working on that.
THANKFUL FOR FACEBOOK, TOO
On that note, I’m thankful to still be here, pounding on this keyboard, sending my thoughts to you all.  I’m thankful for you and my Facebook buddies - I hesitate to call them “friends” because darn Mark Zuckerberg has actually diluted what that word once meant!  Still, I’m thankful for his creation, which allows me to stay in touch with friends and relatives who live far away - to share their lives on an almost second-by-second basis, with photos of personal and family triumphs (and tragedies, too).
YOU WON’T SEE MUCH FROM ME
Now that this election is over and, for all intents and purposes, the races are decided, it’s very unlikely that you will see much more from me here.  I’m generally pleased with the outcome and look forward very much to watching Mayor Katrina Foley and the new team that will join her on the City Council dais next month begin to re-establish the goals of our city to conform with the wishes of the voters, so clearly stated in the last two elections.  Although there will always be something to write about in my town, I’m going to try very hard to let someone else do it.
ENJOY YOUR LIFE - JUST THROW THAT BALL!
And now, Susie and I want to wish you all a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING.  I have been, and continue to be, thankful for the part you’ve played in my life.  I hope you find ways to share your love over this holiday.  You just never know what kind of a curve ball life will throw you - like our 4 year-old great-nephew, Chase, who was diagnosed with leukemia last week and faces years of chemotherapy ahead - so be sure those you love know it.  If there are things you want to do, do them.  Play this game of life like you’re the Rams and Chiefs last Monday night - just get out there and throw that ball!  We love you all…


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